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Common issues when using a load balancer

There are some configuration options on your load balancer that can cause problems or inefficient behavior in your Diffusion™ solution.

Load balancer closing silent connections

Many load balancers have a default configuration that closes TCP connections after a few seconds of the connection being silent. This is appropriate for a load balancer handling connections to a web server. However, Diffusion traffic is different and there can be long intervals of silence on the connection.

Do not configure load balancers or firewalls to close TCP connections that are not transmitting data. Diffusion maintains a connection for every live session so that data can be pushed.

If a network device terminates a TCP connection autonomously, the Diffusion server might interpret this as a close initiated by the client and close the session. If this happens, any reconnection attempts made by the client fail.

Connection pooling

Many load balancers include a connection pooling feature where connections between the load balancer and the Diffusion server are kept alive and reused by other clients. In fact, multiple clients can be multiplexed through a single server-side connection.

In Diffusion , a client is associated with a single TCP /HTTP connection for the lifetime of that connection. If a Diffusion server closes a client, the connection is also closed. Diffusion makes no distinction between a single client connection and a multiplexed connection, so when a client sharing a multiplexed connection closes, the connection between the load balancer and Diffusion is closed, and subsequently all of the client-side connections multiplexed through that server-side connection are closed.

For this reason, it is required that load balancers are not configured to pool connections when working with Diffusion .

Reuse TCP connection

If your load balancer is configured to create a new TCP connection between the load balancer and the Diffusion server for each request from a specific client, this can be expensive. Creating a new TCP connection per request, increases the time each request takes to be processed and increases the amount of traffic between the load balancer and the Diffusion server .

To avoid this, ensure that your load balancer is configured to reuse a TCP connection for requests from the same client.


We recommend that you use the sticky-by-IP routing strategy when your clients connect using streaming protocols. This ensures that client connections are always routed to the Diffusion server where their sessions are located.

However, the drawback of this approach is that multiple users masquerading behind a proxy or access point can have the same IP address, and all requests from clients with that IP address are routed to the same Diffusion server. Load balancing still occurs, but some hosts might be unfairly loaded.

TCP retransmission timeout

If you use Diffusion failover, the TCP retransmission timeout on your load balancer's host server can cause long waits for clients whose connections failover from one Diffusion server to another. When a Diffusion server becomes unavailable, the load balancer can hold open existing client connections to this server. These connections can continue to receive and buffer data from the client for the duration of the timeout, before being closed. This data is discarded when the connection closes.

You can avoid this problem by changing the TCP retransmission timeout of the host server of your load balancer or by configuring the load balancer to shutdown connections to Diffusion servers it knows are unhealthy.