1.1.c Explain general network challenges

1.1.c [iv] Impact of micro burst

Micro-bursting is a phenomenon where rapid bursts of data packets are sent in quick succession, leading to periods of full line-rate transmission that can overflow packet buffers of the network stack, both in network endpoints and routers and switches inside the network.

Symptoms of micro bursts will manifest in the form of ignores and/ or overruns (also shown as accumulated in “input error” counter within show interface output). This is indicative of receive ring and corresponding packet buffer being overwhelmed due to data bursts coming in over extremely short period of time (microseconds). You will never see a sustained data traffic within show interface’s “input rate” counter as they are averaging bits per second (bps) over 5 minutes by default (way too long to account for microbursts). You can understand microbursts from a scenario where a 3-lane highway merging into a single lane at rush hour – the capacity burst cannot exceed the total available bandwidth (i.e. single lane), but it can saturate it for a period of time.

In order to troubleshoot microbursts, you need a packet sniffer that can capture traffic over a long period of time and allow you to analyze it in the form of a graph which displays the saturation points (packet rate during microbursts versus total available bandwidth). You can eventually trace it to the source causing the bursts (e.g. stock trading applications).

Adam, Paul (2014-07-12). All-in-One CCIE V5 Written Exam Guide (Kindle Locations 989-994).  . Kindle Edition.