Re: [aqm] [Bloat] Bufferbloat and the policy debate on packet loss in nanog

Jonathan Morton <> Mon, 02 March 2015 01:19 UTC

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Date: Mon, 02 Mar 2015 03:19:41 +0200
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From: Jonathan Morton <>
To: Aaron Wood <>
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Cc: "" <>, Dave Taht <>, "" <>, bloat <>
Subject: Re: [aqm] [Bloat] Bufferbloat and the policy debate on packet loss in nanog
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And the reason for that, of course, is that "pile 'em high and sell 'em
cheap" works pretty well in the consumer marketplace - something that Far
Eastern companies have capitalised on a great deal. Amortising a not
inconsiderable R&D cost over the largest possible number of units makes
economic sense.

I think we'd all just rather they sorted out a better design in that
initial R&D phase. That's something that doesn't appeal to the mindsets of
most of those Far Eastern countries very well. Japan is the most likely
exception, but only because they tend to make stuff for themselves first
and others second.

Funny story from the early days of the Raspberry Pi: they were using a
Chinese factory because they needed cheap, and didn't really know how many
would sell - ten thousand was hoped for, as that would break even quite
nicely. But they went to a lot of trouble to be sure of getting something
that actually worked back from them. Engineering samples had come back to
the UK and tested fine, at last, so they gave the green light.

Then the first batch of 2000 Pis arrived, and the Ethernet port didn't work
on a single one of them. The factory had swapped out the RJ45 socket for a
cheaper one after completing the engineering samples, without noticing that
it didn't have the integrated magnetics that the design relied on, and as a
consequence also had a completely incompatible pinout. They quickly learned
their lesson on that point when the batch was sent back for repair, which
entailed hand desoldering and resoldering to swap the socket for the
correct one. That alone probably tripled the factory's costs, even at Asian
labour rates, but it was their own fault. Penny wise...

Of course the Pi sold slightly better than predicted, so they were soon
able to find a factory in Wales that fitted the budget.

- Jonathan Morton