The one with persons and network protocols

Master Foo once said to a visiting SRE: “Most everyday communications between two persons have a lot in common with the UDP protocol.”.

The SRE, who was very proud of his own mastery of UDP, said: “How this can be? UDP sucks most of the time whereas TCP is reliable.”.

Master Foo replied: “That is so. Nevertheless, there is more human nature in the UDP protocol than there is in a modern RFC 793 implementation.”.

The SRE grew distressed: “But through TCP we experience the enlightenment of a rich conversation! We become as one with a sweet and respectful dialogue.”.

Master foo replied: “All you say is theoretically true. But does it happen in practice? There is more human nature in a low-TTL IP packet wrapping an UDP datagram than there is in 1MiB worth of TCP segments.”.

The SRE scoffed at Master Foo and rose to depart. But Master Foo nodded to his student John Doe, who started up his wireshark packet sniffer on a nearby group of cool kids, and said: “Master Foo, consider these children. They are very pure and innocent and are the perfection of a WAN network. You cannot sniff any pride or hypocrisy in these hearts.”

The Master muttered through his beard, contemplating what his student has said. Finally he agreed that it was so.

“And for how long do you think all of this purity and demagogy-hypocrisy-void will last? How many years will it require for these kids to forget their own RFC values and then start to leak and overload their friends with UDP packets?”

“Many,” admitted the visiting SRE. “But only a fool would spend the time to think about that when so many more worthy TCP segments and values still await him.”

“However, what you see around you? Once these kids grow, they start to become UDP addicts. They send messages to their friends in social media when they’re interested in something, but don’t bother to reply or thank them once they get what they want.” Master Foo said. “They schedule a meeting with their peers, but don’t bother to actually make that meeting happen. ‘I see you on Friday!’ ‘Sure!’ <… SNR gets very high and no meeting happens whatsoever …>.” Master Foo continued. “They flood the network by trying to grab the attention of other hosts through likes and shares and yikes but don’t care about congestion control.” Master Foo sighed. “They start screaming and protesting in the streets with absolutely no respect for their peers, there are simply no handshakes and there is no flow control. They send packets with no courtesy at all.” Master foo was getting tired. “And finally, these days, they also started to send corrupt and invalid packets, with fake data, just to confuse their peers and deteriorate the network quality even more”. Master Foo concluded: “There is simply no respect for the good protocols anymore, and UDP is becoming the de-facto standard in our society. See all of these hosts around you? If you really bother to target your tcpdump into a non-biased direction and location, you will see the truth. The kids might be pure today, but they will get infected with the spurious and bad habits of the network of adults surrounding them.”

Upon hearing this, the SRE was enlightened.

The one with persons and network protocols