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SubjectRe: time for TCP ECN defaulting to on?
On Fri, 7 Nov 2008, Ilpo Järvinen wrote:

> I think you partially miss the point here. In many cases not every
> single router has to _support_ ECN to get its benefits, not-supporting
> is not the problem in itself (though it would be nice to get that
> "fixed" as well) but breaking ecn-enabled connections. I suppose you
> didn't check that aspect? I'd guess those mentioned devices will
> interoperate just fine since one can mostly connect ok with ecn too
> besides rare exceptions rather than things being vice-versa.

I don't understand. My point is that most of the ISP core equipment out
there doesn't act on ECN rendering it mostly useless. The N in ECN renders
useless because there is no device doing the *notification*. They'll just
pass the traffic without acting on it differently regardless if ECN is on
or off.

> The most crucial components are anyway the points of congestion, I don't know
> enough isp topologies but I suppose those core routers are not the ones where
> towards subscribers device traffic congests?

There can be congestion anywhere in the network, best would be if all
routers supported it. My problem with ECN is that the most advanced
routers do not support it, it's useless with L2/L3 switches (as they have
very small buffers, there is "nothing" to do WRED on), so that leaves
potential implementation by either DSLAM/BRAS vendors (where Cisco BRAS
does support it but it needs to be enabled by the ISP) or the SOHO devices
which run Linux and might implement it, but I'd rather see them do active
queue management at all (fair-queue for instance) before asking them to do
ECN. Of course, if users start to ask for ECN and we get fair-queue at the
same time, all the better. One very common congestion point is definitely
the upstream connection of someones cable or DSL modem.

> I doubt it any worse than with eg. timestamps.

According to <http://www.imperialviolet.org/binary/ecntest.pdf> it's 0.5%
of hosts that drop packets when ECN is enabled. It's a substantial part of
the Internet. Yes, not doing blackhole detection might get these hosts
fixed faster, but at the expense of more end user hurt.

--
Mikael Abrahamsson email: swmike@swm.pp.se
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