Small maximum number of connections on a Linux router

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http://serverfault.com – I have a Linux box acting as a router with no iptables or other firewall and no networking applications running on it, just pure router. I've put it in a test environment that generates many TCP connections, each having unique source and destination IP, and those connections go through this router. I'm observing that number of connections successfully created rise to approximately 500 and then no more connections can be created for several minutes, then another 100 connections can be created and there is another pause, and so on. If 10 connections for each source-destination pair are created, (HowTos)