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Hotel internet on Ubuntu

by Ross Patterson last modified Feb 11, 2008 07:22 AM
TCP window scaling and broken routers

I've run into odd networking problems on certain networks, generally hotel networks but also some cafe networks.  The problem afflicts both wireless and wired connections.  I'm able to
get an IP address from the DHCP server most of the time, and I can even establish an SSH connection to my server, but all other traffic is hampered by continuous timeouts.  Oh, and the really annoying thing is that it only affects Linux, not Windows or Mac.

In my most recent bout with this problem I finally found an article that describes the problem and a workaround.  According to the article,  the problem stems from broken routers that are mishandling a TCP option.  See the article for the details and for the workaround.

There's one bit that troubles me:

If, instead, the situation is left as it is, pressure on the router manufacturers should get the problem fixed relatively quickly. It has been a few years, now, that Linux has a strong enough presence in the networking world that it can get away with taking this sort of position.

I see and agree with the point where Linux is a server OS.  In this case, however, Linux is a desktop and laptop OS and having a setting that causes problems that Windows and Mac users don't encounter makes us look bad against the competition.  It really doesn't matter if the fault is the routers.  Maybe the TCP window scaling option should be disabled by Ubuntu for desktop installs?

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