[e2e] Small packets - Definition needed..

Joe Touch touch at ISI.EDU
Mon Mar 26 07:40:10 PDT 2007

Craig Partridge wrote:
> I don't know of a general definition.
> As I recall, for router tests in the early 1990s, the idea of a small packet
> was 64 bytes and big was an Ethernet MTU.

64 bytes was the smallest effective link size, since Ethernet padded
everything smaller out to 64 bytes. As a result, it often doesn't make
sense to think of packets being smaller on ethernet links.

> Personally, I'd react that somewhere around 64 bytes is where packets get
> small -- as the addition of a header becomes a notable overhead.  I'm not
> sure where I'd say "large" starts these days.

When the header becomes notable depends on the header:

UDP/IPv4/PPP = 30
TCP/IPv6/IPsec/IPv6/ether+VLAN/GFP = 162

There's quite a bit of range there, but the relative size of headers to
payload is a good place to start.


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