Short packets basically decrease the quality of the player position data to save a few bytes for every position record. That means players will slightly bob around (not very bad, just a little). With broadband connections, you absolutely do not need this option anymore.
packets per sec
This value tells Descent how often per second to send data about any local events that change the game state (like player has moved, fired, picked up stuff etc.) to the other players. As I wrote somewhere else, Descent gathers all this data (which mostly consists of small packets) in a bigger 'pool' (buffer) and sends the buffer contents if it gets full. That means you may get more than X pps (if you set pps to 'X', e.g. 10). From what I can see, the buffer is large enough to rarely let this happen. On broadband, I'd therefore recommend to use at least 10 pps, not less, to have reliable player positions.
D2X-XL - Descent II update for modern systems with many new features and enhanced graphics. Home Page
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