[Bloat] Bufferbloat: Dark Buffers in the Internet

Jim Reisert AD1C jjreisert at alum.mit.edu
Sat Dec 3 04:08:25 EST 2011

Networks without effective AQM may again be vulnerable to congestion collapse.

Jim Gettys, Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent; and Kathleen Nichols, Pollere Inc.

Today's networks are suffering from unnecessary latency and poor
system performance. The culprit is bufferbloat, the existence of
excessively large and frequently full buffers inside the network.
Large buffers have been inserted all over the Internet without
sufficient thought or testing. They damage or defeat the fundamental
congestion-avoidance algorithms of the Internet's most common
transport protocol. Long delays from bufferbloat are frequently
attributed incorrectly to network congestion, and this
misinterpretation of the problem leads to the wrong solutions being

Congestion is an old problem on the Internet, appearing in various
forms with different symptoms and causing major problems. Buffers are
essential to the proper functioning of packet networks, but overly
large, unmanaged, and uncoordinated buffers create excessive delays
that frustrate and baffle end users. Many of the issues that create
delay are not new, but their collective impact has not been widely
understood. Thus, buffering problems have been accumulating for more
than a decade. We strive to present these problems with their impacts
so that the community can understand and act upon the problem and, we
hope, learn to prevent future problems.

This article does not claim to be the first to identify the problems
of excessive buffering, but is instead intended to create a wider
understanding of the pervasive problem and to give a call to action.


Jim Reisert AD1C, <jjreisert at alum.mit.edu>, http://www.ad1c.us

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