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No buffer space available on RAW socket

Chules asked
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I'm programming an application that uses raw C raw sockets to send out some data.  I am only concerned with the program's workings under Linux, and this problem could very well be OS-specific.
I need to send out a lot of raw data quickly, but when I try to send out too much too fast, sendto() fails with "No buffer space available".  I do not get this error when I add a sleep function in between sending each packet, but because of the timer granularity, it cannot send nearly as fast as I need it to.
Looking at the Linux man page for sendto(), it says that this error does not normally occur on Linux and the packets are just silently dropped, but this error is occurring.
My question is how do I stop getting this error and still send packets at a very fast rate.  The preferable solution would be to have sendto() block until the buffer space was available (or to poll the buffer space before calling sendto() to make sure there is enough) but just making it silently drop the packets could also work.
Thanks a lot,
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is this a UDP or TCP socket?

If it's a UDP socket, packet loss is to be expected, if not inside the system, then on the network.  So this buffer full situation is the least of your worries-- you must write your code in such a way that packet loss is either detected and recovered from, or somehow handled without causing things to crash or robots to go on a shooting spree.

If it's TCP, not a problem-- you just resend the data.   TCP ensures there's no data lost.

On some systems you can tweak a kernel parameter to increase the buffer sizes-- that may help.

ALso what is the SIZE of each sendto() buffer?   If you send HUGE bufferloads, the system may temporarily be unable to digest the whole buffer, while it might have been able to swallow a smaller buffer.  If you get the error message, I'd try cutting back the buffer sie to say half and see if that works.  A nicve dynamic bufffer sizing algorithm would be a good thing to try.  Something like, start at BufSize = 4096 or somesuch, then if you get the "cant send this" error return, do a BufSize /=2 and try sending again, then if the send succeeds, every 10th write try BufSize *= 2 and see if that works....


The socket is neither TCP nor UDP ... it's a raw socket, but I am sending TCP packets (or at least the TCP packets sufficient for the handshake).  I'm not sure that packets are being lost though, as it sends of data at 1.5mbps max (according to iptraf) and the network has a 100mbit internal connection and a 10mbit connection to the WAN.
If I were to implement a dynamic buffering algorithm, how would I change the buffer size?  Or read the initial size?

Is there some really good reason you're using raw sockets to send TCP packets?

From personal experience, it's really hard to write your own TCP stack, especially if you want it to handle all the difficult cases, such as network congestion, lost packets, retransmits, packet fragmentation, and Nagel.

Please consider using regular TCP packets-- there's 100's of person-years that's been devoted to getting TCP to work well.


I need to use raw sockets for speed and control over headers, normal TCP sockets don't give the kind of control needed for this particular application.
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Overhead isn't the problem, it's that I'm not creating an entire TCP session.  If I wanted an entire connection with transferring data and such, I would definitely use connect() and TCP sockets, but I need to send individual manually crafted packets, not even part of an existing stream.  I'm not trying to code a TCP stack, just sending out raw packets that happen to use the same headers as TCP packets.

> but I need to send individual manually crafted packets, not even part of an existing stream.

Would that mean you want to start a Denial-of-service attack?


Of course not.  If I wanted to send a SYN flood or something I'd just use one of the many script kiddie tools all over the internet that do just that.  I'm trying to make a tool similar to nmap to check internal networks for open Kazaa, BitTorrent, and other P2P ports, but quickly.

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