Problem with writing fast UDP server

Greg Copeland gtcopeland at
Fri Nov 21 19:55:39 CET 2008

On Nov 21, 11:05 am, Krzysztof Retel <Krzysztof.Re... at>
> On Nov 21, 4:48 pm, Peter Pearson <ppear... at nowhere.invalid> wrote:
> > On Fri, 21 Nov 2008 08:14:19 -0800 (PST), Krzysztof Retel wrote:
> > > I am not sure what do you mean by CPU-bound? How can I find out if I
> > > run it on CPU-bound?
> > CPU-bound is the state in which performance is limited by the
> > availability of processor cycles.  On a Unix box, you might
> > run the "top" utility and look to see whether the "%CPU" figure
> > indicates 100% CPU use.  Alternatively, you might have a
> > tool for plotting use of system resources.
> > --
> > To email me, substitute nowhere->spamcop, invalid->net.
> Thanks. I run it without CPU-bound

With clearer eyes, I did confirm my math above is correct. I don't
have a networking reference to provide. You'll likely have some good
results via Google. :)

If you are not CPU bound, you are likely IO-bound. That means you
computer is waiting for IO to complete - likely on the sending side.
In this case, it likely means you have reached your ethernet bandwidth
limits available to your computer. Since you didn't correct me when I
assumed you're running 10Mb ethernet, I'll continue to assume that's a
safe assumption. So, assuming you are running on 10Mb ethernet, try
converting your application to use TCP. I'd bet, unless you have
requirements which prevent its use, you'll suddenly have enough
bandwidth (in this case, frames) to achieve your desired results.

This is untested and off the top of my head but it should get you
pointed in the right direction pretty quickly. Make the following
changes to the server:

sock = socket.socket(socket.AF_INET, socket.SOCK_DGRAM)
sock = socket.socket(socket.AF_INET, socket.SOCK_STREAM)

Make this:
print "Waiting for first packet to arrive...",

look like:
print "Waiting for first packet to arrive...",
cliSock = sock.accept()

Change your calls to sock.recvfrom(BUFSIZE) to cliSock.recv(BUFSIZE).
Notice the change to "cliSock".

Keep in mind TCP is stream based, not datagram based so you may need
to add additional logic to determine data boundaries for re-assemble
of your data on the receiving end. There are several strategies to
address that, but for now I'll gloss it over.

As someone else pointed out above, change your calls to time.clock()
to time.time().

On your client, make the following changes.
sock = socket.socket(socket.AF_INET, socket.SOCK_DGRAM)
sock = socket.socket(socket.AF_INET, socket.SOCK_STREAM)
sock.connect( (remotehost,port) )

nbytes = sock.sendto(data, (remotehost,port))
nbytes = sock.send(data)

Now, rerun your tests on your network. I expect you'll be faster now
because TCP can be pretty smart about buffering. Let's say you write
16, 90B blocks to the socket. If they are timely enough, it is
possible all of those will be shipped across ethernet as a single
frame. So what took 16 frames via UDP can now *potentially* be done in
a single ethernet frame (assuming 1500MTU). I say potentially because
the exact behaviour is OS/stack and NIC-driver specific and is often
tunable to boot. Likewise, on the client end, what previously required
15 calls to recvfrom, each returning 90B, can *potentially* be
completed in a single call to recv, returning 1440B. Remember, fewer
frames means less protocol overhead which makes more bandwidth
available to your applications. When sending 90B datagrams, you're
waisting over 48% of your available bandwidth because of protocol
overhead (actually a lot more because I'm not accounting for UDP

Because of the differences between UDP and TCP, unlike your original
UDP implementation which can receive from multiple clients, the TCP
implementation can only receive from a single client. If you need to
receive from multiple clients concurrently, look at python's select
module to take up the slack.

Hopefully you'll be up and running. Please report back your findings.
I'm curious as to your results.

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