As opposed to just sending the complete message in one big packet.

I have a sense of what the answer is, but would find a more informed viewpoint helpful.

  • This is really too broad a question to ask. Can you narrow it down or add some context?.
    – Ron Trunk
    May 15, 2017 at 19:06
  • @RonTrunk Does "As opposed to just sending the complete message in one big packet." narrow it down enough? May 15, 2017 at 19:11
  • What is "your sense" of the answer?
    – Ron Trunk
    May 15, 2017 at 19:17
  • @RonTrunk If it were sent in one big packet, it might overwhelm certain routers that don't have enough capacity. May 15, 2017 at 19:19
  • Did any answer help you? If so, you should accept the answer so that the question doesn't keep popping up forever, looking for an answer. Alternatively, you can provide and accept your own answer.
    – Ron Maupin
    Feb 19, 2018 at 4:02

1 Answer 1


There are a few reasons why network standards limit the maximum size of a packet.

Firstly the bigger a packet is the longer it ties up the line for. That means more latency and jitter for other users sharing the line.

Secondly most network devices work with complete packets. The whole packet is received into a buffer before being passed on to the next processing step. These buffers have finite size. A large packet buffered at every step will also take much longer to deliver than a sequence of small packets.

Thirdly with most standards if a packet is corrupted in transit the whole packet must be discarded and re-sent. So larger packets mean more data is re-sent when corruption occours.

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