[tor-relays] Proper bandwidth units [was: Exit nodes on Gandi]

Andreas Krey a.krey at gmx.de
Mon Nov 18 19:29:45 UTC 2013

On Mon, 18 Nov 2013 13:33:05 +0000, grarpamp wrote:
> >> People, can we please mind using the proper units.
> >
> > How is 'bytes' improper when that is the basic transfer unit of TCP/IP,
> > and half of the underlying protocols? The only ones who really don't
> > care about bytes are the layer 1 guys.
> No, routing the global internet occurs at layer 3.

Yes, and the global internet uses IP packets whose length
is measured in bytes, not bits.

> Correct, in the sense, unless aggregated across many users,
> they are non-constant incidental end user applications,
> not a part of the real network itself.

This is the only actual argument why we should adopt
bits/s instead of byte/s, yet...

> And as the internet continues growing to support constant
> HD video streams down to every curb and datacenter port,
> those old style Bytes/caps become doubly irrelevant.
> It's bits per second now, just like hardware routers do it.

No, that's still bogus. The only reason the hardware guys talked about
bits/s was that that was the physical line limit, and that there was
no consensus about protocols, or how many bits shall constitute a byte,
or how many extra bits shall accompagny(sp?) the actual data.

Nowadays bytes always have eight bits, it's always IP, and the transport
is (almost) always fully efficient so that a byte/s always translates into
eight bits/s. There is simply no more reason to talk in bits/s at all,
except that everyone is doing it. (The fractional reason that you can
deduce the needed physical bandwith from the bitrate is also long gone.)

And for me it's pretty irrelevant whether I need to break down the
TB/month my VPS provider gives me into bits/s or bytes/s. Neither is
as straightforward as a decimal shift.


"Totally trivial. Famous last words."
From: Linus Torvalds <torvalds@*.org>
Date: Fri, 22 Jan 2010 07:29:21 -0800

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