My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder/president of Data & Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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bringing down the network

I know that i’m good at breaking technology, but this is absolutely ridiculous and i would love some insight if anyone knows how i’m pulling this off.

My cable modem is connected to a 4-port hub which is connected to two Netgear wireless routers. I can consistently bring down the Netgear router doing the following things:
1) Safari – Open all in tabs with > 35 tabs
2) Terminal ssh to SIMS, open pine. Copy/paste > 1 page worth of text from local to pine [Using pine since Mail is still fubared]

Task 1 is a request for a large quantity of packets simultaneously. Task 2 is sending a large quantity of packets simultaneously.

Resetting the Netgear brings it right back up, but this is just weird. Is it a problem with my Netgear? With my Mac? Why on earth is this happening?

This so reminds me of when i used to bring down Brown’s primary server using print from Photoshop. I was banned from printing. I don’t like the idea of being banned from copy/pasting and open in tabs in my own household.

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6 comments to bringing down the network

  • The first link describes how to change the MTU settings on a Netgear (with a description of what MTU is) and the second is people talking about similiar problems.

    http://kbserver.netgear.com/kb_web_files/n100603.asp

    http://www.dslreports.com/forum/remark,9003438~mode=flat~start=40

    At least in the case of the Pine C&P it sounds like the Mac is sending the largest allowed packet but the Netgear for some reason is not breaking it up correctly, so it crashes. If you lower the MTU setting on the Netgear it should handle it better, but some network apps MIGHT run into some performance hits.

  • joe

    also make sure that the netgear’s firmware is as current as possible… hopefully that won’t break any toys that your cs roomies have cooked up… -Joe

  • certain it’s not your Mac. Had a similar problem setting up a wireless classroom of 30 Tablet PC’s and one wifi router. Tried several before settling on a lynksis. It’s was just able to handle all 35 clients better than the others.

  • Are you also using AppleTalk at the same time, say to talk to an AppleTalk printer? Sometimes disabling other protocols and traffic that might overload the Netgear can help.

    Of all the access points I have (two pples, a Netgear, two Linksys and a no-name), the Netger has always been the simplest and most reliable, as well as the one with the best signal, by far. But I’ve never done what you’re describing here.

  • marble

    meow. you’re banned.

  • Thanks everyone! I’m going to try some of these out during my next break.

    Doc – i don’t have a printer, but i do have an Airport Express that i use to play music…