What, me worry?

This little article just in from a dedicated Cisco engineer. Looks like Cisco is taking a “broadside” from Broadcom in the “TCP offload” universe.

Of course, notice the weasel words of “”selected network streams”. In contrast, at InterProphet we showed a 10x advantage of all network streams on NT at Microsoft in their offices in Redmond in 1998 with a patented design. So it’s taken Broadcom and Microsoft working together about 6 years to kind of make something work but not really. Not very impressive.

Reliable Wireless and Link Layers

It is often the case that a “different” puzzle presents an opportunity for a young scientist to say “Oh, I can solve this problem because it’s different”. Well, sure…but is it simpler, or simply different?

The question begs in a discussion of using reliable link layers in wireless to solve the problem of retransmissions and poor QOS. The problem is that artifact of retransmission distorts the use of the medium, because too many retransmits / congestion events occur, biasing the statistics and becoming unfair. The solution for the wireless approach is to use the same thing that causes artifacts of noise as an architectural solution.

Flamethrowers and Memories

Alex Cannera dropped an interesting paper on my desktop discussing congestion control in grid networks. And it’s results confirm what I and others have seen over the years – Vint Cerf seriously saw in 1998 that hop-by-hop reliability preserving end-to-end semantics in the routers was the real key to handling this issue. Vint also is a renowned wine expert, and treated me and William to a wonderful tour of fine wines at the Rubicon in San Francisco where we had a memorable discussion on exactly this issue.

That’s a lot of video and stills

From an article entitled Dotcoms a hot domain in the SF Chronicle today:
“One of the standouts was Sunnyvale’s Sandisk, the world’s largest maker of flash-memory cards, which are used in digital cameras. During the past year, its revenue doubled to nearly $1.1 billion, and its market value nearly quadrupled.”

That’s a lot of video clips and stills. This is the revenue driver for new PCs and disk drives that’s been picking up in the consumer sector. Gotta put those pics and vids somewhere, right? Or has anyone thought about this yet?

Oh where Oh where did my protocol engine go?

In a walk down memory lane, Craig Partridge and Alex Cannara discussed Craig’s mention of an XCP meeting and Greg Chesson, Alex saying “But, we still have suboptimal network design, insofar as we depend on TCP from the ’80s and a glacial IETF process — all this while now having complete web servers on a chip inside an RJ45 jack! So maybe his ideas for SiProts were something to consider, even if they weren’t right on target?”

Your paper is silly, smells, and is ugly, ugly…

Jonathan M. Smith has an interesting idea on how to avoid blackballing in tech paper reviews.

For those not clued in (or fortunate enough to have avoided academic paper submission follies), in order to have an academic paper accepted, one must submit to double-blind review by anonymous experts in the field to evaluate whether a paper is interesting and appropriate to the conference venue without being dazzled (or tainted) by knowledge of who actually wrote it.

Sometimes a Legend

And once again, an interesting item in the postel.org end-to-end group – “An interesting version of TCP was created a few years ago at a large data-storage-system company here — essentially, the TCP receive window was reduced to Go/No-Go, and startup was modified, so the sending Unix box would blast to its mirror at full wire rate from the get go. ACKs would have meaningless Window values, excepting 0, because sender and receiver had similar processing/buffering capability. Loss produced replacement, via repeated ACKs. Being LAN-based system overall made all these mods workable. But clearly, the engineers involved found normal TCP wanting in the ability to deliver data on high-speed links.”

Interesting how legends develop. This project was called the “flamethrower” demo done with a wirewrap version of SiliconTCP on a DEC PAM card with a NIC wired on (and that’s exciting with 100MHz logic).

The Power of TCP is in its Completeness

Interesting line of discussion passed through my email regarding the future of TCP. In particular, Alex Cannara decided to take on a few of the more “conservative” elements on dealing with end-end flows by interior management of links.

As Alex puts it: “Apparently, a great bias has existed against this sort of design, which is actually very successful in other contexts”. Even a very “big old name in Internet Land” liked this type of approach, for the “…reason it [TCP] requires the opposite of backoff is because it doesn’t have the visibility to determine which algorithm to choose differently as it navigates the network at any point in time. But if you can do it hop by hop you can make these rules work in all places and vary the algorithm knowing your working on a deterministic small segment instead of the big wide Internet.”

Let’s take this further.