What I didn't stop to consider, was that all of the traffic going over the VPN was also TCP, and as such was reliable enough on its own.
Took me a week to figure out why connections would drop randomly, transfers would magically slow down and speed up, and all other forms of network-based mayhem.
TCP over TCP works well enough as soon as your packet loss is small enough to be within the fast retransmit. As soon as you have to timeout, all bets are off.
I think having minions is a great idea to get the networking out of (TCP|UDP) ghetto.
Alas poor ICQ, it was so fantastic (it's how I met my wife)
Wich is why carriers around the world are all melting down as soon as their customers start using the 3G service they're paying for. And somehow the "network experts" at AT&T (or in my case, Vodafone) never learned from the exact same issues when the whole world was tunneling tcp over ppp/slip back in the late '80s...
TCP is encapsulated in PDCP for the wireless portion of the transmission, and the header's are compressed to hell (using RFC 2507).
On the CDMA and CDMA2000 side of the house (I have no idea about LTE), it's using a similar encapsulation, but our good friend PPP makes an appearance.
I'm pretty sure that the wireless data networks melting down is from a combination of too much density per tower (in cities) and insufficient upstream connectivity.
I do however expect the issues alluded to here:
To have some strong bearing on me seeing crap performance like this:
Some quick Googling turns up a lot of people who complain about latency issues with 3G (which bizarrely enough, I've never noticed. Must be the one situation where I'm not being screwed over by ATT), but I don't actually see a consensus around what's responsible for it.
It looks like the SGSN is the likely culprit, as I see some proposals to bypass it completely (or install a Gateway when PDP is detected).
Those ping times are rough, I'd be pissed too if I saw that.
It's similar idea as "User"/"NAT-only"/"Outgoing only" networking option offered by various virtualization systems and emulators. Probably original historical implementation of this hack is slirp, which is unix tool that works as NATing SLIP endpoint without needing root access (or anything OS-specific), that was often used in early '90s to get "full" IP connectivity from UNIX account on internet-connected modem-accessible system (usually without official approval to do so).