A variety of networking performance improvements have been added to the Linux kernel, enabling relatively small systems to drive a high-speed interface at full wire speed, for example, even when small packets are being transmitted.
Small-packet performance has been a problem area for Linux, as developer Jonathan Corbet noted in an early description of the 3.18 merge window, making this a particularly important improvement. “All told, the changes are relatively small,” he explained separately. “But small changes can have big effects when they are applied to the right places. These little changes should help to ensure that the networking stack in the 3.18 release is the fastest yet.”