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Cisco ISP Software and Router Management

Chapter Description

This chapter covers general features that ISPs should consider for their routers and network implementations. Most are good design practices and don't leverage particular unique Cisco IOS Software features, but each demonstrates how IOS Software can aid the smooth operation of an ISP's business.

From the Book

Cisco ISP Essentials

Cisco ISP Essentials


Turn On Nagle

The Nagle congestion-control algorithm is something that many ISPs turn on to improve the performance of their Telnet sessions to and from the router. When using a standard TCP implementation to send keystrokes between machines, TCP tends to send one packet for each keystroke typed. On larger networks, many small packets use up bandwidth and contribute to congestion.

John Nagle's algorithm (RFC 896) helps alleviate the small-packet problem in TCP. In general, it works this way: The first character typed after connection establishment is sent in a single packet, but TCP holds any additional characters typed until the receiver acknowledges the previous packet. The second, larger packet is sent, and additional typed characters are saved until the acknowledgment comes back. The effect is to accumulate characters into larger chunks and pace them out to the network at a rate matching the round-trip time of the given connection. This method is usually good for all TCP-based traffic and helps when connectivity to the router is poor or congested or the router itself is busier than normal. However, do not use the service nagle command if you have XRemote users on X Window sessions or sourcing voice over IP traffic or other real-time traffic from the router—performance will become very poor.

The IOS Software command to enable Nagle follows:

service nagle


Without service nagle on a Cisco router, each character in a Telnet session is a separate CPU interrupt. Hence, a command such as show tech will force a large number of CPU interrupts, impacting the performance of the router. From a Cisco point of view, the Nagle service not only helps to optimize the Telnet session but also lessens the load on the router.

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