Saturday, January 24, 2009

MTU Problems When Using Vista Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) with an XBox 360

So like other people, I don't really like the idea of paying $100 for an XBox 360 wifi adapter, so I'm using Internet Connection Sharing through my laptop to get my XBox connected to a wireless access point (yes, there are easier ways of doing this, but like usual, I'm doing something strange).

But when I did this, the XBox kept complaining that my MTU was set too low since it needed an MTU of 1364. This is a little silly since a proper IP stack should automatically fragment its packets to accomodate the MTU, but whatever.

I ran the command netsh interface ipv4 show interfaces to find out what the MTUs on my Vista laptop were, and they were all set to 1300. This seemed a little strange because 1300 is oddly low and also a nice round number that a human must have decided on. But I certainly hadn't set my MTU to 1300, so I'm not sure why it was set to that.

I spent a while browsing around, but finally I figured it out. It was that annoying Cisco VPN client on my laptop. I have no idea why they set the MTU so low (what sort of intermediate router would use 200 bytes of overhead per packet? It's silly to reserve so much), but the VPN Client comes with a Set MTU program that I was able to use to set everything back to normal, and then my XBox stopped complaining.

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