Wednesday, 2 June 2010

M. T. Urself

So, I had a server that was misbehaving in a truely weird way. I was accessing this server via and ADSL line, connecting into it using Secure Shell. Any large amount of data pulled from it caused the network connection to drop. But I could push as much data to it as I liked. Huge uploads worked fine, but downloads would get me disconnected instantly. Logging in and typing 'ps ax' would normally only get me half the page of output before the connection froze up. Also, anything that posted information to websites, like logging into googlemail for instance, seemed to freeze as well.

I tried altering the firewall, the router, the routing table on the server, recompiling the kernel, etc, etc, all to no avail. After each new attempt the problem would seem to go away, cruely making me think I'd fixed it, before returning again.

Now, often in the past when there's been network problems, some old unix-hacker with open-toed sandals and a grateful-dead t-shirt has been around to say; "You know man, could it be, like, the MTU?"

The MTU. That thing they had on modems, remember? No, I don't suppose you would.