Update linux kernel to enable Google TCP_BBR

BBR (Bottleneck Bandwidth and RTT) congestion control algorizthm is a new congestion control algorithm which is contributed to the Linux kernel TCP stack by Google.

With TCP BBR in place, a Linux server can get significantly increased throughput and reduced latency for connections in most cases, especially for your VPS server that dedicated for Web service or VPN. Besides, it’s easy to deploy TCP_BBR as we just need to upgrade the kernel and enable BBR on server side.

In this article, I will show you how to deploy BBR on a CentOS 7 server.

Step 1: Upgrade the kernel to version 4.9+

In order to use TCP_BBR, we need to upgrade the kernel to 4.9.0(or later versions). We can easily get that done using some 3rd-party RPM repository.

The repos that I use most are ELRepo and Spaceduck. I will use Spaceduck for reference.

Step1.1 setup the repository file for kernel yum install.

This can be easily done with below command:

curl -k https://yum.spaceduck.org/kernel-ml-aufs/kernel-ml-aufs.repo -o /etc/yum.repos.d/kernel-ml-aufs.repo

Step1.2 install the latest main-line kernel

Note that the name of new kernel in Spaceduck is kernel-ml-aufs, the rename eliminate some potential naming conflict, so let’s take the new kenrel as a brand-new package. Install the kernel,

yum install -y kernel-ml-aufs

Step 1.3 Set booting order for new kernel in Grub2

Since new kernel installed, we need to set default booting kernel to it in Grub 2. This can be done by reseting saved_entry to the specified menu entry.

To list all the menu entries that will be displayed at system boot, issue the following command:

# grep "^menuentry" /boot/grub2/grub.cfg | cut -d "'" -f2
CentOS Linux (4.9.9-1.el7.centos.x86_64) 7 (Core)
CentOS Linux (4.9.9-1.el7.centos.x86_64) 7 (Core) with debugging
CentOS Linux (3.10.0-514.6.2.el7.x86_64) 7 (Core)
CentOS Linux (3.10.0-514.6.2.el7.x86_64) 7 (Core) with debugging

Update saved_entry to new kernel:

grub2-set-default 'CentOS Linux (4.9.9-1.el7.centos.x86_64) 7 (Core)'

Step 1.4 Reboot server to make the new kernel take effect.

Fire the command “reboot” as root.

Step 2: Update sysctl settings to enable BBR

Create a new file named “/etc/sysctl.d/88-tcp_bbr.conf”, with below content,


Then run “sysctl -p/etc/sysctl.d/88-tcp_bbr.conf” to make new settings take effect.

Make sure we are all set, make sure the kernel we use is the right one, and new settings work.

# uname -r
# sysctl net.core.default_qdisc net.ipv4.tcp_congestion_control
net.core.default_qdisc = fq
net.ipv4.tcp_congestion_control = bbr

Now enjoying the new settings.

One thought on “Update linux kernel to enable Google TCP_BBR

  1. You also need to change the queue disc for the interface where you want to use TCP BBR. The source clearly states:

    NOTE: BBR *must* be used with the fq qdisc (“man tc-fq”) with pacing enabled, since pacing is integral to the BBR design and implementation. BBR without pacing would not function properly, and may incur unnecessary high packet loss rates.

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