Dan writes:

Dan> A shrinking window and no packet loss is an indication that the program
Dan> the socket is connected to isn't reading data fast enough.  If you're
Dan> locally gzipping the output of a remote backup, for example, you'll see
Dan> this.

Just a tight loop reading the socket and writing to stdout, which is
directed into a file on disk.

Dan> The completely duplicated data packets from the sender, even before any
Dan> perceived packet loss, are troubling.  Either the sender decided to
Dan> resend that data on its own, or the packet was duplicated by a router
Dan> or switch in transit.  Dumps of the same stream from both sender and
Dan> receiver would help, as would enabling rfc 1323 extensions on both
Dan> systems (which will put a timestamp value on each packet and enable
Dan> SACK.  It's enabled by default on FreeBSD).

No router or switch, just a piece of wire.

net.inet.tcp.rfc1323: 1

Bill writes:

Bill> My guess would be that your process blocked on stdout.
Bill> You don't mention what you're doing with stdout from the program, are
Bill> you just letting it scroll on the terminal, or redirecting it to a file?

Just redirected to a file.  FFS, soft updates, 7200 rpm SATA drive
with the disk's write cache turned off.  Input data rate is less
than 20 M bits/sec.  I can write to the disk at approx 6 M Bytes/sec
sustained.  (or 10x that with disk write cache turned on, but
I don't like trashed filesystems after the machine goes down hard)
The machine and the disk are plenty fast enough, AMD64, 2 GB main memory.
CPU is 90-something percent idle.

Sometimes it works fine for extended periods, 30-40 minutes.  Other times
the src box reports thousands of network errors.  So far I haven't figured
out what the difference is between the working tests and the failing tests.
The crontab directory is empty, so it shouldn't be cron jobs.

> As an experiment, try running the process and redirecting
> stdout to /dev/null -- if it doesn't exhibit the problem, then you
> need to look at where you're actually storing the data and speed that
> part up.

I've thought of trying /dev/null but haven't yet.  It might provide
a clue.

I would expect that the filesystem should be buffering the write
from short term disk latency.  Surely FreeBSD 6.0 provides the
classic Unix write-behind?

The disk activity LED flashes constantly, so it doesn't appear to be
saving up disk writes and then doing a bunch at once,

> Is the data coming in at a fairly constant rate?

Yes.

> you've got plenty of RAM

The machine has 2 GB.  I wonder if the process is getting its fair share?
I have been observing other problems where disk activity to one disk
will make an unrelated process reading data from a different disk *very*
unresponsive.
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