I am in the process of designing and developing a next generation network
product line. These discussions on packet sizes and other related topics have
been of immense value to me. Thanks much and keep it up.
On Tue, 12 December 2000, Kevin Farley wrote:
I am evaluating an IP in IP encapsulation technology and would
like to know the average size or size range of an IP Packet,
including the 20 byte header. Can you tell me this or where to
Big verbose answer follows...
As others have pointed out, it really depends on what is happening on
the network as to what an average size would be. I think it is perhaps
best to think not of the average size, but instead consider the
You should also consider the network you are collecting on, the time of
day, loading, etc.
For example, I collected packet histograms on our corporate network
which moves LOTS of email and LOTS of web pages as well as local file
sharing. During the busy times, the distribution is roughly 33% of all
IP packets are in the 1024 to 1500 byte category, roughly 33% are in
the less than 100 byte category, and the final 34% appears to be
uniformly distributed between 100 and 1024 bytes.
Note that this data was taken on a corporate Ethernet during work
hours. If you take data on backhaul networks, WANs, or during non-peak
times, you could obtain quite different results.
The point is that you need to know what your environment is. If you are
looking at point-to-point links, the MTUs will be different than for an
Ethernet LAN. If you are looking at WAN VPNs, then you need to consider
the application data that will be carried over that link.
Then there are the differences between protocols: UDP, TCP, RTP/UDP...
but that is another long discussion.
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