ethernet

Frames, ships. All carry payloads

About an hour ago I found this article explaining how shippers went for even bigger ships than before, thinking economies of scale would help them make more money.

Then I read this other article about how the Port of Los Angeles is buckling under pressure by having multiple container ships at berth. The Port of New York City also reports taking on bigger ships.

I’m thinking in networking terms but

  • Bigger container ships == Ethernet Jumbo frames
  • Global shipping routes == Internet
  • Ports == Network gateways

The challenges with jumbo frames are well known. Some people hate them, others say use them with care. It all comes down to what you’re trying to do and what your equipment supports.

If you have a route across the Internet and every node between the starting point and the end point support jumbo frames, you’re set. If not, you can keep them disabled and still reap 90% of the benefits.

This is not so with actual physical matter being transported via ships. Ports can’t be replaced in a few weeks or months. Expansion of a port often takes years (NYC, LA, Duluth) and costs can run into hundreds of millions of dollars. You can’t exacly load balance across ports while you upgrade one the way you can with a network gateway. In this context, extra-jumbo container ships give rise to bursts of frantic activity at ports to get them unloaded, when the entire system relies on port activity being steady.

Add in the COVID-19 pandemic and burst activity will facilitate virus spread throughout port workers. None of this is a good combination. Wonder if there are any studies that apply IP networking concepts to the study of seafaring shipping?

Also, governments seriously need to look at how the shipping cartels operate. Cos that’s what they are, cartels.

Tie yourself together

Over and over again, I’ve seen people fix some wireless-related problem and go “wow, I had no idea how much better this could be!” • Wireless protocols often silently operate in an extremely degraded state that makes them substantially worse than wired equivalents.

Source: Wireless is a trap | benkuhn.net

I live in an apartment building that is located within the city core of my city. When I scan for WiFi networks I can see at least 25 from my main workstation. On my laptop, standing in the middle of the front courtyard, you can see at least 40 networks. Mind you, this is only WiFi networks; I’m not including everything else that might be using the 2.4 GHz spectrum, like Bluetooth or other kinds of wireless devices.

I switched to wired devices a long, long time ago precisely of unreliable connections, network lag, and the fact that WiFi optimization is more of an art than any sort of science, and that’s before you bring in newer WiFi versions. I just recently rewired my apartment to have Ethernet all over and be able to throw around 4K media with abandon.

Now if only the USB Implementers Forum would get its shit together, that’d be awesome