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15. Network Protocols > Factors Affecting Network Protocol Performance

Factors Affecting Network Protocol Performance

Network protocols have a combination of properties that affect their performance. Most of the properties are discussed in Andrew Tannenbaum’s book, Computer Networks (Prentice Hall) and are discussed in the following sections.

Fixed- Versus Variable-Sized Packets/Cells/Frames

You can build more efficient hardware for fixed-length packets (usually called cells), such as ATM cells because you know, for example, the exact buffer sizes needed for a given performance. You also know that you can use the very efficient cross-bar switch, where each input is directly connected to each output.

Piggybacking

Some protocols allow you to send an acknowledgment of the previous packet attached to the current packet for greater efficiency. TCP supports piggybacking with delayed ACK, where an acknowledgment is delayed for a moment, allowing the acknowledging application to send a data reply along with the ACK. See RFC 1122 for details.


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