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A Race to Send Data: Pigeon vs Broadband
Guess who won?

 1:07 pm on Sep 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

From the BBC [news.bbc.co.uk].

Broadband promised to unite the world with super-fast data delivery - but in South Africa it seems the web is still no faster than a humble pigeon. A Durban IT company pitted an 11-month-old bird armed with a 4GB memory stick against the ADSL service from the country's biggest web firm, Telkom.

Winston the pigeon took two hours to carry the data 60 miles - in the same time the ADSL had sent 4% of the data.
Telkom said it was not responsible for the firm's slow internet speeds.


creative craig

 1:14 pm on Sep 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Try living down here :)

I am on 3G access till the price comes down and the speed goes up for ADSL!

This should be soon as a new under water cable has recently been put into use, Seacom, which means wholesale price of bandwidth should come down for countries in east Africa including South Africa.


 3:26 pm on Sep 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

If you think Internet congestion is bad now, just imagine millions of pigeons flying back and forth across the country!

Network collisions are a fact of life, without too much mess and data recovery built-in. But pigeon collisions? Oh, the humanity! Not to mention the data loss.

And that doesn't even begin to touch on security issues. Packet (pigeon) sniffing would be an easy, if smelly, task.


 6:45 pm on Sep 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

But . . . it opens a whole new niche market for those not too proud to perform cleanup operations. Or outsource them. lol


 7:05 pm on Sep 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

How much is a cluster of pigeons these days? and do they have Sata or plain IDE. Can they be upgraded to increase speed?



 7:32 pm on Sep 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Time to re-assess modern options: Don't buy your own pigeons, lease them on an as-needed basis. All of your data delivery needs can be served "in the cloud(s)."



 9:00 pm on Sep 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

I wonder if IBM has any blade pidgeon coops yet?

The upside with the slow ADSL is that at least it won't poop on your head.


 9:01 pm on Sep 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

How has India improved ?


 9:11 pm on Sep 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

hmmm... that is some good link bait. I'm sure you could write an article about this for areas of most countries.

After all, pigeons can travel 60 miles in 1-2 hours, so many DSL conections would take longer than that to transfer 4G.

I love to see link bait like this, it gives me ideas 8D


 9:25 pm on Sep 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

They were nice and only gave him a 4G stick. If they give the pigeon the 32G stick it could outdo internet connections everywhere.


 9:37 pm on Sep 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

I suppose that's a common carrier pigeon


 9:40 pm on Sep 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

If they give the pigeon the 32G stick it could outdo internet connections everywhere.

With the new DOCSIS 3 networks coming and speeds up to 50 or 100mbps, already in my 'hood but the new speeds aren't rolled out yet, you could download 32G in about 90 minutes or 43 minutes respectively in theory.

Don't forget Comcast claims their new goal is the 4 minute movie download.


 9:58 pm on Sep 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Is that what they call "Cloud computing"?


 11:57 pm on Sep 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

ISP's will be all in a flap when investors jump all over this with seed money.


 12:31 am on Sep 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Think of the secondary business of aerial fertilizing and crop seeding. And data transfer, too!


 2:48 am on Sep 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Wasn't there some obscure RFC for pigeon data transfer?

Edit: there we go.

RFC 1149 [tools.ietf.org] - A Standard for the Transmission of IP Datagrams on Avian Carriers.

Boredom is a fascinating state of mind, really.

[edited by: johnnie at 2:57 am (utc) on Sep. 11, 2009]


 2:52 am on Sep 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

By the way, this experiment is fun, but horribly biased. One might as well fly a truckload of TB-sized harddrives across the world and claim to be faster than the intarwebs.


 4:19 am on Sep 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

incrediBILL, I have Comcast business internet at my office, it's supposed to be 50/10. In reality, on their network in Boston I get about 47/8. ANYWHERE off their network, even as close at NYC I get like 32/2, and to most destinations I get like 11/1.5. I really lost all trust for Comcast. I never trusted them to begin with and I understand they have little control over the "public internet" but it's a little ridiculous how far off they are from their claims and how they offer no SLA and trying to get them to troubleshoot your connection or do anything to improve service is laughed at. They tell me, everything is fine - signal is strong. As soon as FIOS comes to my building we're getting that. The office across the street from us has it and they get a solid 50Mbps down from nearly any server in USA and get 15 to 20Mbps up as well. MUCH more stable.


 8:33 am on Sep 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

"..but in South Africa it seems the web is still no faster than a humble pigeon."

Swap out the continent for another and would this have made news.

The BBC is really going downhill.


 9:28 am on Sep 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

With our connection problems here in the Netherlands I have no doubt that the pigeon would have won hands, er, I mean, wings down!

I wonder how they chose this particular pigeon. Possibly it works for the IT firm in question - maybe in billing?


 9:45 am on Sep 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

If I remember correctly, Syzygy, this pigeon was picked because of its history in programming - apparently it's quite skilled at Microsoft's seed-sharp.



 11:55 am on Sep 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Faster it may be by pigeon ..but don't forget to check the data it carries for H5N1, H7N3, H7N7 and H9N2 viruses ..and mind it doesn't get singed at the firewall .


 1:08 pm on Sep 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

The Terminator: The Pidgeonnet Funding Bill is passed. The system goes on-line August 4th, 1997. Human decisions are removed from network protocols. Pidgeonnet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the seed funding.
Sarah Connor: Pidgeonnet fights back.
The Terminator: Yes. It launches its stinky projectiles against the targets in Russia.
John Connor: Why attack Russia? Aren't they our friends now?
The Terminator: Because Pidgeonnet knows the Russian pidgeon counter-attack will eliminate its enemies over here.


 2:21 pm on Sep 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google try to extract data from pigeon ..all they get is very messy serps ..

Microsoft retaliate and launch pigeon data search engine "Guano" ...WebmasterWorld members say the last time they saw Microsoft search so full of sh** it was "live" ..

Yahoo say ..unless pigeon pays $200.oo it cant fly over or land on their property ..

Wolfram-Alpha said something totally incomprehensible ..

Cuil say coo- il ( but even the pigeon ignored them )

Google finally take bids to send up two pigeons towing ad banners to fly along side ( slightly to the right ) of the first pigeon ( but the quality score need for the landing branches means bids start at $1000.oo ) ...Google then launch ""cuckoo sense" which will place an addled egg in participating nests in return for a share in the birdseed ..

Disgruntled participants say Googles shareout to them is chicken feed and they G must be yolking ..:)

All eyes are trained on the stats in the sky ..

Governments seek to ban P2P ( pigeon to pigeon ) networks ..


 3:28 pm on Sep 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

RFC 1149
Ah yes, computer April Fool's jokes before Google. You did check the date on the RFC, right? :)

 6:45 pm on Sep 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

This story sparked a lively conversation in our office which ended up in some bad places. For security: self-destructing pigeons.


 6:52 pm on Sep 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

good point httpwebwitch, imagine the mess created by a DDOS attack using this protocol


 8:07 pm on Sep 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

I can't wait to see the first MegaPigeon (MP).

Then... MegaPigeon vs Godzilla


 6:21 pm on Sep 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

imagine the mess created by a DDOS attack using this protocol

That made me laugh!



 5:11 pm on Sep 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

How to go about port sniffing?

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