Homing Pigeon Faster Than Internet in Data Transfer

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News Posted: Fri, Sep 11 2009 9:51 AM
We've complained about the state of US broadband before but we estimate that, in general, most data transfers are at least faster than this. In a race run in Johannesburg South Africa, a company proved it was faster to transmit data by carrier pigeon than to send it via the country's leading ISP.

Unlimited IT, frustrated by the speed of data transfer provided by ISP Telkom, tested and compared the speed of transferring 4 GB of data 50 miles via homing pigeon as well as the Internet. The pigeon won by a long shot, arriving in two hours, six minutes and 57 seconds. Meanwhile, the company, which regularly transfers data between its 11 call centers, managed to transfer only 4% of the data using Telkom's broadband services.



The time for the pigeon included unstrapping the card and downloading from the card to a computer. Winston is 11 months old, and has a Facebook page with over 3,000 fans, by the way.

To be honest, this took place in South Africa.  We're not talking the United States here, and not even North America.  It is, in fact true, that American broadband isn't exactly up to par with other countries, however.  In fact, if you look at recent studies, you can see just how far behind the United States is.  A comparison done by Speed Matters and released in August showed that the average Internet download speed in the U.S. has increased by only 1.6 megabits per second (mbps), from 3.5 mbps in 2007 to 5.1 mbps in 2009.

That might sound good, but not when compared to South Korea with an average data rate of 20.4 mbps, or four times faster than the U.S. The United States ranks 28th in the world in average Internet connection speeds, in fact.


Winston gets ready for flight

And truthfully, there is far more to broadband than just speed.  What good is a 20.4 mbps speed if you run up against a cap?  It just means you reach your limit faster.  Yes, we're talking about you Time-Warner Cable and you, Comcast.  Media providers continue to give us more options for viewing media through broadband, but ISPs continue to limit what we can do.  Something has to give.


Image courtesy: Winston Pigeon Fan Page

In an ironic development, several Winston fans noted that their internet connections were too slow to follow Winston’s race online.  It's unclear where those followers were located.
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This made me laugh, but It just goes to show you that you shouldn't complain about your ISP so much.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8248056.stm

 

 

. . . Na I'm still going to complain.

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aybabtu replied on Fri, Sep 11 2009 10:25 AM

So....if a hawk or some other predator gets the pigeon, is that a network interruption or just a lost packet?

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3vi1 replied on Fri, Sep 11 2009 10:34 AM

The pigeon's bandwidth may be better, but the latency sucks.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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Lev_Astov replied on Fri, Sep 11 2009 10:59 AM

I'm sure they'll work that out eventually! Hahaha, hilarity all around, then!

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Dave_HH replied on Fri, Sep 11 2009 11:23 AM

Nice snail... Is that Gary?

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digitaldd replied on Fri, Sep 11 2009 12:19 PM

Its like saying a truck full of hard drives has more bandwidth than the fastest Internet connection. Which is also true in many cases.

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kid007 replied on Fri, Sep 11 2009 12:34 PM

so what is the point of paying all that cash to companies likes comcast and TW?

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Lev_Astov replied on Fri, Sep 11 2009 3:12 PM

Because it beats feeding, training, and cleaning up after pigeons.

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Ha.  That's awesome, long live carrier pigeons!  And wow, only 160MB in over two hours?  That's probably better than dial-up but I can see why costumers are complaining.

3vi1:

The pigeon's bandwidth may be better, but the latency sucks.

Very true indeed.  To ping with that bird it would be over 14,000,000ms.Surprise

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Crisis Causer:
To ping with that bird it would be over 14,000,000ms.Surprise

I think that was about my ping during the quake days.

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3vi1 replied on Fri, Sep 11 2009 6:32 PM

>> so what is the point of paying all that cash to companies likes comcast and TW?

As alluded to by my latency comment: Bandwidth isn't everything. You can play an MMoRPG via dial-up. Try that with a carrier pigeon.

It's not the amount of data, it's that you get a response in real-time.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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ClemSnide replied on Sat, Sep 12 2009 2:05 AM

Actually I think that a lot of MMORPG players are already using this method of data transfer.

Hang around a chat channel in any game and you'll find lots of people speaking pidgin English.


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I agree 3vi1. I have a lot of people in my TF2 clan that ask about upgrading to the next speed in cable/dsl/whatever to fix there ping. Some of them have 8 or so Mbps and wanna move up to 16. TF2 takes less than a quarter of a mbps ot play smooth. It's all about the latency. Which most people don't understand is two completely different things.

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3vi1 replied on Sat, Sep 12 2009 9:19 AM

>> Hang around a chat channel in any game and you'll find lots of people speaking pidgin English.

Hehe... I see people communicating via Pidgin (http://www.pidgin.im) all the time!

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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ClemSnide replied on Sat, Sep 12 2009 10:03 PM

(Computer user spots pigeon, takes flash drive from leg, inserts it into his computer.)

"Hey! There's nothing on this but pictures of naked waterfowl!"


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digitaldd replied on Mon, Sep 14 2009 10:46 AM

bob_on_the_cob:

I agree 3vi1. I have a lot of people in my TF2 clan that ask about upgrading to the next speed in cable/dsl/whatever to fix there ping. Some of them have 8 or so Mbps and wanna move up to 16. TF2 takes less than a quarter of a mbps ot play smooth. It's all about the latency. Which most people don't understand is two completely different things.

 

I wish more people understood latency. Too many ISPs have crappy latency but tons of bandwidth. I have a friend who went back to DSL from cable because his pings to his favorite game servers via cable was over 100ms and with DSL @ a slower speed it was only 75ms.  low-latency and a solid connection usually wins out all the time.

 

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starwhite replied on Thu, Sep 17 2009 7:29 PM

Its a 2 way equation, the sending and receiving side.

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