Ethernet jumbo frames are reported to speed up transfer of large files. From my online research, Ethernet Jumbo frames increase the payload from the standard 1500 bytes to up to 9000. The the idea behind it is to minimize the overhead of packet preparation by sending fewer, larger packets.
While this holds true systems with older CPUs or extremely high throughput systems (high end routers), a modern system with a modern CPU under a normal network load doesn’t seem to break a sweat in packet preparation. In my limited tests, I have not measured any performance enhancement by applying Jumbo frames on my little DYI Atom 510 based NAS box.
But don’t take my word for it, run your own tests. Here is how to configure Jumbo Frames on Ubuntu 10.10/11.04, previous and presumably subsequent versions. From a command prompt, run:
# ifconfig eth0 mtu 9000
NOTE: If your Ethernet adapter/driver does not support Jumbo Frames or does not support 9000 bytes jumbo frames you may get an error message:
SIOCSIFMTU: Invalid argument
You can attempt using smaller values until it accepts it. My laptop accepted a MTU of size of 7200. Once it seems to accept it, you can verify the MTU size by doing:
ifconfig | grep MTU
Here are some useful references about Jumbo Frames, should you decide to further investigate it or make the changes permanent:
- Article about configuring Jumbo Frames
- Another article on Jumbo Frames
- Article covering the errors in attempting to configure the MTU