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TCP "Silly Window Syndrome" and Changes To the Sliding Window System For Avoiding Small-Window Problems
(Page 2 of 4)
The Cause of Silly Window Syndrome: Inefficient Reductions of Window Size
None of what we have seen above represents
a failure per se of the sliding window mechanism. It is working
properly to keep the server's receive buffer filled and to manage the
flow of data. The problem is that the sliding window mechanism is only
concerned with managing the bufferit doesn't take into account
the inefficiency of the small segments that result when the window size
is micromanaged in this way.
In essence, by sending small window
size advertisements we are winning the battles but losing the
war. Early TCP/IP researchers who discovered this phenomenon called
it silly window syndrome (SWS), a play on the phrase sliding
window system that expresses their opinion on how it behaves when
it gets into this state.
The examples above show how SWS can
be caused by the advertisement of small window sizes by a receiving
device. It is also possible for SWS to happen if the sending device
isn't careful about how it generates segments for transmission, regardless
of the state of the receiver's buffers.
For example, suppose the client TCP
in the example above was receiving data from the sending application
in blocks of 10 bytes at a time. However, the sending TCP was so impatient
to get the data to the client that it took each 10-byte block and immediately
packaged it into a segment, even though the next 10-byte block was coming
shortly thereafter. This would result in a needless swarm of inefficient
Key Concept: The basic TCP sliding window system sets no minimum size on transmitted segments. Under certain circumstances, this can result in a situation where many small, inefficient segments are sent, rather than a smaller number of large ones. Affectionately termed silly window syndrome (SWS), this phenomenon can occur either as a result of a recipient advertising window sizes that are too small, or a transmitter being too aggressive in immediately sending out very small amounts of data.
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Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005
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