[ih] Global congestion collapse

Perry E. Metzger perry at piermont.com
Mon Dec 13 13:01:47 PST 2004

Sorry for not replying for a long time...

Michael Welzl <michael.welzl at uibk.ac.at> writes:
> Does anybody here have stories about the Internet's congestion
> collapse(s) during the 80's? Some details would be great!
> So, I wonder, what was it like? What are your experiences?
> When did folks first notice it?

I strongly remember a point in '88 or so (perhaps it was 87 -- it
probably wasn't '89) when it became impossible to move data back and
forth between Bellcore and NYNEXs research lab in White Plains over
the net because of congestion related problems. I was working on some
collaboration with them and suddenly found myself forced to make use
of mag tapes as the only practical way to move even fairly small files
back and forth. A mailing list I ran off of one of my machines also
started having trouble moving bits through efficiently.

As I recall, the arrival of kernel patches implementing congestion
control rapidly began to reverse the situation.

The first time I saw such patches was when Phil Karn handed them to me
one day, and I swiftly added them to the kernels of my lab's
Sun-3s. The world was somewhat different back then... :)


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