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SA's Largest Telecomms Provider vs. a Pigeon

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the may-the-best-bird-win dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 149

dagwud writes "Just a few days after this Slashdot article, South Africa's largest telecoms provider, Telkom (which has been taking flak for years for its shoddy and overpriced service), is being pitted against a homing pigeon to see which can deliver 4GB of call centre data logs quickest over a distance of around 80km (50 miles). According to the official website, the race is set to take place September 10."

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The question is... (4, Funny)

UncHellMatt (790153) | more than 4 years ago | (#29351421)

...African or European?

Re:The question is... (3, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#29351717)

Soldier #1: Oh, yeah, an African swallow maybe, but not a European swallow. That's my point.
Soldier #2: Oh, yeah, I agree with that.
Soldier #1: But then of course African swallows are non-migratory.
Soldier #2: Oh, yeah...
Soldier #1: So, they couldn't bring 4GB of call centre data logs anyway...

Reminds me of the quote... (2, Insightful)

mrops (927562) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352259)

Don't underestimate the throughput of a wagon full of data tapes speeding down a freeway.

Re:Reminds me of the quote... (1)

Unequivocal (155957) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352681)

Credit to Andrew Tanenbaum for that last quote..

Re:Reminds me of the quote... (2, Funny)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352845)

If it's a South African freeway, you'll have to factor in some serious packet loss due to carjackings.

Disclaimer: I'm from South Africa.

Re:Reminds me of the quote... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29355057)

Hey it's no to bad, I'm driving on a South African freeway and nothing bad has [ERROR: connection reset by peer]

Re:Reminds me of the quote... (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353449)

Amen.

Re:Reminds me of the quote... (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 4 years ago | (#29355291)

from wikipedia:

        Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway. â"Tanenbaum, Andrew S. (1996). Computer Networks. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. pp. 83. ISBN 0-13-349945-6.

The original version of this quotation came much earlier; the very first problem in Tanenbaum's 1981 textbook Computer Networks asks the student to calculate the throughput of a St. Bernard carrying floppy disks (which are said to hold 250 kilobytes of data). The first USENET citation is July 16, 1985, and it was widely considered a chestnut already, possibly dating from the 1970s[citation needed]. Other alleged speakers included Tom Reidel, Warren Jackson, or Bob Sutterfield. The station wagon transporting magnetic tapes is the canonical version, but variants using trucks or Boeing 747s and later storage technologies such as CD-ROMs have frequently appeared.

Re:The question is... (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352461)

But this is held in south africa, so they WILL use african swallow.

Re:The question is... (1)

joaommp (685612) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352475)

My money is on the pidgeon.

Re:The question is... (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353951)

Agreed. I got 10 Euros on the pigeon as well. God bless offshore betting parlours...

Re:The question is... (1)

TheBilgeRat (1629569) | more than 4 years ago | (#29351719)

you win. My day is complete!

Re:The question is... (3, Insightful)

LaminatorX (410794) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352081)

I would assume African, given the locale.

Re:The question is... (1)

BrightSpark (1578977) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352211)

Is there anybody else up there we could talk to?

Re:The question is... (1)

Abreu (173023) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353411)

Terry Pratchett's Going Postal did this first!

Homers rule! (3, Insightful)

certain death (947081) | more than 4 years ago | (#29351433)

I wonder if they will be using an RFC compliant pigeon... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IP_over_Avian_Carriers [wikipedia.org]

Re:Homers rule! (2, Insightful)

Aim Here (765712) | more than 4 years ago | (#29351457)

From TFA:

Anyway I read a Aprils fools white paper about Avian carrier networks a couple of years ago. Basically it is a protocol that uses racing pigeons as a network layer.

So in all probabilities, yes, it's an RFC1149 compliant pigeon.

Re:Homers rule! (1)

theelectron (973857) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352185)

Don't forget QoS [ietf.org]

To paraphrase Andrew Tanenbaum (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29351465)

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of pigoens hurtling down the highway.

Re:To paraphrase Andrew Tanenbaum (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 4 years ago | (#29354107)

- which presents a nice illustration of the difference between bandwidth and latency! :)

Re:To paraphrase Andrew Tanenbaum (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 4 years ago | (#29354211)

- which presents a nice illustration of the difference between bandwidth and latency! :)

It presents to me more of an image requiring much cleaning up of bird crap.

Re:To paraphrase Andrew Tanenbaum (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 4 years ago | (#29355411)

Would there be a pigeon be driving too? ;)

Re:To paraphrase Andrew Tanenbaum (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 4 years ago | (#29355533)

Exactly.. the fact that you can out-bandwidth a network connection via Sneakernet [wikipedia.org] is not news, even for values of Sneaker == Pigeon. With a 2Mbit upstream, it would take me over 4.5 hours to send 4GB, which means it's faster to take a thumb drive for most distances < 270mi (60mph * 4.5h), and certainly all distances <= 50mi.. at least for points coinciding with the surface of the earth.

The latency of Sneakernet sort of sucks though, and I wouldn't recommend it for anything other than the most casual of turn-based games.

So that explains (2, Funny)

jcochran (309950) | more than 4 years ago | (#29351551)

the order for a large shipment of Ospreys, peregrines, and other raptors to South Africa.......

Re:So that explains (1)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 4 years ago | (#29351985)

Because Ospreys eat SO MANY pigeons...
Ospreys eat fish. Peregrines eat pigeons, yes, but they're not also testing sending the data via trout, so the Osprey wouldn't be that useful.

Re:So that explains (1)

mckinleyn (1288586) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353079)

You're one of those people who can't enjoy anything unless it's technically accurate, aren't you?

Re:So that explains (1)

Abreu (173023) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353471)

You're one of those people who can't enjoy anything unless it's technically accurate, aren't you?

Stop having fun this instant! [tvtropes.org]

Re:So that explains (1)

jcochran (309950) | more than 4 years ago | (#29354343)

Odd.....

I don't find you complaining about http://entertainment.slashdot.org/story/09/08/29/1934251/Pigeon-Protocol-Finds-a-Practical-Purpose?art_pos=3 [slashdot.org]

Notice the last link in the article.

Yes, 99% of an Osprey's diet is fish. However, they have been known to kill and eat other birds as well. But attempting to explain a joke is most likely wasted effort.

i'm sick and tired (-1, Offtopic)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#29354451)

of these motherfucking raptors on this motherfucking plane!

Re:So that explains (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 4 years ago | (#29355153)

I would not even put it past that telecom company to hire some local hawk and eagle and vulture trainers, to be on the look out for that pigeon, and place a bounty on its head in the underground market

Doesn't mention their monopoly (3, Informative)

LordAndrewSama (1216602) | more than 4 years ago | (#29351575)

South Africa's largest telecoms provider, Telkom (which has been taking flak for years for its shoddy and overpriced service)

It should be mentioned that they have a monopoly on landlines and that's why they're still the largest despite all the flak. 39% state owned, and ICASA(south africa's communications regulator) is practically telkoms bitch.

Re:Doesn't mention their monopoly (2, Interesting)

JavaBear (9872) | more than 4 years ago | (#29351783)

They should have tested this on the Comrades Marathon 2009 (89km), giving one of the runners the memory stick, and see him/her finish before the 4GB download completes at the finish line.

Old News (1)

Gruff1002 (717818) | more than 4 years ago | (#29351587)

This is really old news who cares?
  Any kind of memory can get lost ever hear of RAID?

Re: Old News (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#29351749)

We're talking about pigeons here, not bug spray [killsbugsdead.com] .

Re: Old News (3, Funny)

JavaBear (9872) | more than 4 years ago | (#29351955)

As someone else mentioned, it would be RAIP, not RAID
RAIP: Redundant Array of Independent Pigeons.

Re: Old News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29352623)

After the data transfer: Oooo, my data just got RAIP'd!

Contest ends (1)

Ghede (1521401) | more than 4 years ago | (#29351615)

When the telecom mysteriously transmits allegations from dead employees! Or fire raining down from the sky, that's a popular bet.

Telkom play fair? (1)

pintpusher (854001) | more than 4 years ago | (#29351621)

Will Telkom play fair? Or will they throw resources at the problem to ensure they win? I really don't know a thing about network transport, so what I suggest may not even be possible in the time alloted. The marketing aspects are interesting too. Does Telkom generate good will by taking its lumps good-naturedly and then make real efforts to fix its problems? I suspect that rigging the game could actually do more harm than good.

Re:Telkom play fair? (3, Informative)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 4 years ago | (#29351957)

RTFA: they had a trial (pigeon won), got in the news, quickly got a call from the telco's rep to get their circuit number so telco could make sure they had good service. Fair? Well not as long as telco is not giving them more bandwidth than they are supposed to have... in which case telco is just doing their job (which they are obviously not doing now). The best part of the article is the implicit suggestion to switch from ADSL to pigeons: the blogger claims they would save more than 80% cost compared to the existing line, or about USD 4600 per month savings.

Re:Telkom play fair? (1)

Rinkhals (930763) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352219)

I doubt it.

This is getting quite a lot of publicity and Telkom won't like the implications.

I suspect that they are already hatching (sorry) schemes of which Terry Thomas would be proud.

Re:Telkom play fair? (1)

Crash Culligan (227354) | more than 4 years ago | (#29354587)

pintpusher: Will Telkom play fair? Or will they throw resources at the problem to ensure they win?

Interesting choice of words there... considering that "resources" which could help them win would include two shells full of birdshot...

Real time of sneaker net (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Cowar (1608865) | more than 4 years ago | (#29351625)

will they be counting the time it takes to get the data from the computer, put it on the 4gb media, strap it to the bird, send it off, retrieve it, and load it onto the end computer or will they just do a door-to-door race?

RTFA? ME? Do you know what site you're reading?

Re:Real time of sneaker net (2, Insightful)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 4 years ago | (#29351759)

Well the "get the data to the pigeon" is probably a moot point since you can release the pigeon from right next to the laptop where you will be sending the data from. Also you can start the send the moment you start uploading the data to a memory drive. 4gb should not take that long to load onto a newish flash disk...

And then the pigeon will probably land next to the laptop receiving the data.

And, come to think of it, who says the data via pigeon needs to be computer to computer? If a sysadmin receives it, it is received no?

Whatever, I root for the pigeon.

Re:Real time of sneaker net (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29352207)

There is a command for that...

Sudo pigeon

Re:Real time of sneaker net (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352411)

The article is Slashdotted, but let's assume this is one working day's worth of logs, i.e. 8 hours. That's just under 300kB/s.

How fast was the ADSL line? Perhaps they could get a slower one, and stream the log data as it's produced.

Re:Real time of sneaker net (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29354249)

The article is Slashdotted, but let's assume this is one working day's worth of logs, i.e. 8 hours. That's just under 300kB/s.

How fast was the ADSL line? Perhaps they could get a slower one, and stream the log data as it's produced.

Actually the company in question is a financial services company. Those are call-centre voice logs, not text logs.

Re:Real time of sneaker net (-1, Offtopic)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#29351769)

I don't read the articles or comments, what makes you think I'm going to read the address bar?

Re:Real time of sneaker net (1)

coogan (850562) | more than 4 years ago | (#29354053)

Believe me our access here is sometimes so crap that we could hand rear the pigeon and still beat the download speed.

Not a fair competition... (2, Funny)

JavaBear (9872) | more than 4 years ago | (#29351687)

Knowing Telkom, this is not a fair competition at all. The Pigeon have an unfair advantage of being faster, and not having the 3GB bandwidth cap that is (were 2 years ago) the norm on Telkom's ADSL accounts.
And I know I mentioned the information was 2 years old, but when talking about SA Telcom, that makes the it practically fully up to date

Get ready to be... (3, Funny)

dreemernj (859414) | more than 4 years ago | (#29351753)

pigeowned.

My money is on the pigeon (3, Informative)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 4 years ago | (#29351857)

In their trial run, the pigeon took 48 mins to transfer 4 GB of data. That is a sustained 12 Mb. Quite a decent speed, even for a 80-km link that they are renting for roughly USD 6000 per month.

The show-down is set for tomorrow (Wed 9 Sep) so we even don't have to wait long for the final results!

Lunch... (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352743)

The telco should have to deliver lunch as well. mmmm pidgeon.

Re:Lunch... (2, Interesting)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352881)

Yes fried pigeon is quite yummy. Unfortunately since a serious bird flue outbreak a few years ago all over Mainland they tripled in price so we don't eat pigeon so often any more, maybe a few times a year, down from twice a month at least. They haven't come down in price really. You can still get them fresh in the market as well (the vendor will kill and pluck the pigeon for you). I live in Hong Kong, for the record.

Re:Lunch... (3, Funny)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353149)

Yes fried pigeon is quite yummy. Unfortunately since a serious bird flue outbreak a few years ago all over Mainland they tripled in price so we don't eat pigeon so often any more, maybe a few times a year, down from twice a month at least. They haven't come down in price really. You can still get them fresh in the market as well (the vendor will kill and pluck the pigeon for you). I live in Hong Kong, for the record.

And you have to remember to remove the SD cards from the pigeon before chucking it in the pan.

Re:My money is on the pigeon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29354349)

In their trial run, the pigeon took 48 mins to transfer 4 GB of data. That is a sustained 12 Mb. Quite a decent speed, even for a 80-km link that they are renting for roughly USD 6000 per month.

The show-down is set for tomorrow (Wed 9 Sep) so we even don't have to wait long for the final results!

The line this company rents is a 1Mbps line (the second largest ADSL line that Telkom offers, the largest being 4Mbps). However customers of Telkom rarely get that 1Mbps, more like 512Kbps.

The average Telkom customer has a 384Kbps line.

Short of a special line, or running more than one standard SA ADSL line in parallel there is no such thing as 12Mbps in South Africa, the pigeon will win.

Bandwidth? (1)

wfstanle (1188751) | more than 4 years ago | (#29351899)

This sort of thing reminds me of an exam question ohe of my CS professors once asked on an exam.

"Which is more efficient? (or has more bandwidth)

1. An 18-wheeler truck hauling a full load of hard drives (filled to capacity) traveling from New York to San Francisco at an average speed of 50 mph.

    or

2. A T1 line transmitting the same data data.

(The necessary data was given as part of the exam question.)

Re:Bandwidth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29351951)

Did the question take into consideration the time to load the hard drives with said data, move them to the truck (properly secured), driving restrictions (drivers are not allowed to drive more a given amount of time), then the time required to unload the truck?

Re:Bandwidth? (4, Funny)

gclef (96311) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352073)

No, but they were allowed to assume a spherical truck.

Re:Bandwidth? (2, Funny)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352167)

Given the fact that this sort of question usually results in two trains colliding, I'd say no. :)

Otherwise, you'd have to add any number of considerations, such as how much of the road was under construction, whether the driver encountered bad chili at a truck stop that necessitated a lot more stops shortly thereafter, and how bumpy the road was (one good solid pothole and you can consider the need for a "resend" request for at least some of the data!)

Re:Bandwidth? (1)

wfstanle (1188751) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352589)

The answer to this was "an average speed of 50 mph" (in the exam question) which takes into account the road conditions.

Re:Bandwidth? (1)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352463)

Does the phrase average speed not answer your question?

Re:Bandwidth? (1)

wfstanle (1188751) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352613)

He was also trying to make a point but, yes, everything was taken into account.

Re:Bandwidth? (3, Interesting)

jcochran (309950) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352621)

I doubt it. But assuming current technology, the 18 wheeler wins hands down easily. I'll use Seagate Barracuda 1TB drive as my baseline. Looking at it's size and weight, it turns out that the weight is the main limiting factor. Without special permits, a semi-tractor trailer is limited to 80,000 lbs gross weight. Assuming 50,000 lbs is actually usable for cargo, then at 1.371 lbs per drive, the truck can carry 36,500 drives. The volume that many drives is far less than the volume of a 28 ft trailer. So we're talking a single truck load of drives is about 36.5 petabytes.

Now how long would that take to transmit at T1 speeds? 1544000 bits per second = 193,000 bytes per second (yes, I'm ignoring any framing or overhead. Shame on me). Doing the math, I get a transmission time of almost 5993 years.

With that amount of time, I'll assume the truck can travel cross country in 3 days. But to be generous, I'll give it a week. I'll assume assume the handling time for the hard drives is the same at both ends. So in order for the truck to be faster, I have to handle 36,500 hard drives in a total time of less than 2996 years at each end. So I have a budgeted time of only 29.98 days per hard drive at each end.

Somehow, I suspect it would take a lot less time than that.......

Re:Bandwidth? (4, Interesting)

Twylite (234238) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352727)

Not relevant. The truck wins.

Let's make some conservative assumptions:

  • The distance from New York to San Francisco is 3,000 miles (Google Maps says 2,905).
  • The truck can only manage an average of 18 mph.
  • The truck driver is unionized and will only drive for 8 hours a day (he'll drive weekends for overtime pay though).
  • Loading takes a day (8 hours) and the truck leaves the following morning; unloading takes a day. If the truck is over half-full we will add an additional day each for loading and unloading, just to be sure.
  • Each hard drive is 40 GiB and individually packaged in protective foam, totalling 30cm x 20cm x 6cm in size.
  • All rounding and all interpretation of SI prefixes favours the T1.
  • After unloading the HDDs must be manually plugged in (1 hour overhead per drive) and transferred at 10MB/sec.

Time on the road is 166.667 hours or 20.833 days at 8 hours per day, which we'll round up to 21. Add a day each for loading and unloading and we're at 23 days.

In the same 23 days the T1 is busy for 3600 seconds an hour, 24 hours a day. That's a total of 1987200 seconds at 1.544 Mbps (202375 B/s), or 402159.6 million bytes, or just under 403 Gigabytes.

To beat the T1, the truck needs to carry 11 hard drives. They will fit comfortably on the passanger seat.

Each HDD will take 1.2 hours to download, plus 1 hour overhead for connecting and disconnecting. That's 24.2 hours total but the IT monkey only works 8 hours a day so it's going to take 4 days to transfer onto the servers (damn that 0.2 ...).

During those 4 extra days the T1 is still busy and gets another 69.94 Gigabytes. Looks like we'll actually have to pack _12_ drives into the truck for a total of 480 Gb, beating the T1's 473 Gb over the same period (27 days).

Less conservative assumption: using a 320Gb external USB drive and a motor cycle at 50mph (8 hours per day) you'll make the trip in 8 days, more than doubling the T1's bandwidth.

Re:Bandwidth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29354619)

My uncle once drove across the country in 3 days, taking shifts with his roommate. But that was irresponsible, and they didn't have computers back then.

Re:Bandwidth? (1)

JavaBear (9872) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352407)

IIRC, Maersk Line did something similar, though they moved their US data centre to Denmark, but they loaded up a plane with hard drives instead of a truck.
They had to move the data between COB Friday, and be ready to run Monday morning in Denmark.
I can't remember if they succeeded.

Sustained or burst? (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 4 years ago | (#29354457)

The truck is going to be more efficient in burst mode, but the T1 is going to be more efficient in sustained.

As to which is faster, then it is going to be the truck, on the condition you ignore the time to do the paper work, driver breaks, loading and unloading, so on and so forth.

Bandwidth note (2)

narfman0 (979017) | more than 4 years ago | (#29351913)

If the trial is any indicator, then the speed of the pidgeon was 4096MB / 68 minutes * 60 seconds/minute = 1.003921569 MB/s. Even if they fail, I wouldn't consider Telkom a terrible ISP, given this test alone.

Someones been reading Terry Pratchett? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29351915)

To be precise, its one of the plot elements from "Going Postal" (2004).

In that case, it was between the Clacks (a mechanical semaphore system) and a mail coach over a distance of several thousand miles....

Have a read, its fun.

Going Postal [wikipedia.org] (Oblig Wikipedia ref)

here in the US (2, Funny)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 4 years ago | (#29351931)

They should do it here in the US - dove season just opened in many states. Sure, you'll have a lot of packet loss, but the ones that make it thru will be going really really FAST

Re:here in the US (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352181)

They should do it here in the US - dove season just opened in many states

I really had no idea. I thought the US was full of hawks, not doves.

Re:here in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29354059)

They should do it here in the US - dove season just opened in many states

I really had no idea. I thought the US was full of hawks, not doves.

"Dove season just opened" means it's now legal to hunt doves.

In other words, we get to shoot them now. Your original assumption might have been correct after all!

Re:here in the US (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352297)

Dick Dastardly and Muttley may foil that plan.

Re:here in the US (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 4 years ago | (#29354893)

They should do it here in the US - dove season just opened in many states. Sure, you'll have a lot of packet loss, but the ones that make it thru will be going really really FAST

So this is just the avian equivalent of UDP?

Never underestimate... (0, Redundant)

Scootin159 (557129) | more than 4 years ago | (#29351935)

As has been said before, never underestimate the bandwidth of a stationwagon...

RFC 1149 (1)

leromarinvit (1462031) | more than 4 years ago | (#29351953)

I hope they're properly using IP over Avian Carriers, as described in RFC 1149! Otherwise, it's definitely not fair.

Not practical (2, Funny)

d-r0ck (1365765) | more than 4 years ago | (#29351971)

The carrier pigeon is not a practical replacement for a high speed link. For one the latency is quite high compared to DSL. Also it may be less secure since it is using a wireless solution.

Re:Not practical (3, Funny)

Chatsubo (807023) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352177)

So now you won't using ethereal to sniff packets. But a shotgun.

Re:Not practical (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352303)

Latency is balanced with packet size. If you can send a single 16GB packet, it may be worth the additional latency, though a lost packet is bad and the delay until you know you need a resend could be counterproductive. Pigeons don't have monthly bandwidth caps - your capacity is constrained only by the amount of data you can fit into a lightweight package and waterproof it, and that combined with the latency relegates pigeons to high-capacity, low-priority data.

As far as security, you'd want to encrypt the data just as you would sending it over the Internet. Anything sent over the Internet passes through a series of routers, and the data could be intercepted at any one of them. The Pigeon is carrying the data in one "hop", but may be intercepted at points along that "hop". But both have the issue of the data being vulnerable enroute.

The advantage of a pigeon is that you can prepare your packet to be tamper- and intercept-evident, so even if someone intercepted it and then sent it along its route again, you'd at least know the data had been compromised. With an Internet packet, someone can just make a copy of it and you'd never know it was intercepted.

Re:Not practical (1)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353615)

Also it may be less secure since it is using a wireless solution.

Ah, but the packets peep when you peek, and peck if you poke!

HP's CPIP in the 80's (4, Interesting)

woboyle (1044168) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352107)

In the 70's and 80's, HP in Cupertino used to send engineering drawings (as microfich) to a facility near Santa Cruz, on the other side of the Santa Cruz mountains using carrier pigeons. It was faster and more reliable than using motorcycle courier, and in those days the Darpa-Net wasn't fast enough for the purpose. CPIP - Carrier Pigeon Internet Protocol - good bandwidth, not so good latency, though a packet ACK is easily accomplished with a phone call... :-)

They're not that bad (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29352117)

I've been a customer for years, and I haven't noticed any problems. (Oh, and first post BTW.)

Re:They're not that bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29354057)

if ure talking about Telkom you have to be an employee.. everyone i know in SA got rid of their landlines as 3G via the cellular companies ends up being the better option for web access.

The Pigeon Cannot Win... (2, Insightful)

manoova (1053292) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352139)

No doubt Telkom will dig up some arcane legislation whereby it is illegal to pit a pigeon against this heavily state-funded telecoms provider. Further, the people organising this will be served legal papers from ICASA ordering them to cease their operations immediately. After many years of lawsuits (and counter-lawsuits) it will be deemed that the organisers do actually have a right to strap USB sticks to pigeons but by that time Telekom will have bred flocks of the creatures thereby preventing any meaningful and productive competition.

A new meaning to the expression.. (2, Funny)

mike_slashing (1162557) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352155)

Hope the pigeon wins, but this really does gives a new meaning to the expression 'dropped packet'...

Re:A new meaning to the expression.. (1)

Hangeron (314487) | more than 4 years ago | (#29354399)

I'd be more concerned about TTL...

Done that (1)

Jason1729 (561790) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352183)

In my 4th year "Computer Networks" course that was a final exam question except it was the school's T1 line (hey that was fast back then) vs an airplane full of CD-R's.

The airplane won easily on total bandwidth, but the Doom2 ping times sucked.

Bb guns (1)

CoriolisSTORM (1144301) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352549)

My bet is on the telecom employee in the bush with the BB gun.

That's an awfully big datagram (1)

Xenophon Fenderson, (1469) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352637)

I wonder what's the MTU of pigeons these days. With modern micro-SD cards, it's got to be north of 8 GB. I'm pretty sure that's bigger than IPv4 can accommodate.

Highest badwidth device (1)

MountainLogic (92466) | more than 4 years ago | (#29352649)

Just goes to show that the highest bandwidth device on the planet is a large container ship filled with hard drives. Of course if you need a lower latency device you can always use a cargo 747. If you do the math it blows fiber out of the water. If course of you have a container wash off deck the retransmit time for packet loss in rather high. The TTL for washed over cargo can be sometimes be in the years, such as for these rubber ducks http://rubaduck.com/news/rubber_duck_news-200302-duckies_around_the_world.htm [rubaduck.com] .

WEIRD PARANOIDS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29352853)

What is with all the weird paranoia in the posts today?

Ex1 [slashdot.org]
Ex2 [slashdot.org]
Ex3 [slashdot.org]
Ex4 [slashdot.org]

Or did I miss something?

I lived there... (1)

gsgriffin (1195771) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353413)

I was living in SA until last year. I skipped the landlines and went with Vodacom for my internet. IT WAS CHEAPER AND FASTER.

This is not a joke. If they are testing a typical DSL landline (which costs a person about $100/month), the pigeon will win.

BTW...Telkom charges you for the phone line, then an internet connection fee, and then you must purchase a "data bundle" which is all you are allowed to use before your internet is cut-off for the month. Most people stay around 1G or 2G of data. The 4G is pricey.

Never understimate (1)

holmedog (1130941) | more than 4 years ago | (#29353861)

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway. -Andrew S. Tanenbaum

So... (1)

Ltap (1572175) | more than 4 years ago | (#29354241)

Would IP over avian carriers be called "flappernet"?

telkom not good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29354305)

telkom would loose this one trust me, they are horrific

Interplanetary network testbed!! (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 4 years ago | (#29354381)

I just realized - IP over Avian Carriers [wikipedia.org] could be considered a conceptual precursor of Delay-Tolerant Networking [wikipedia.org] and the Interplanetary Internet [wikipedia.org] (not to be confused with the Interplanetary Transport Network [wikipedia.org] , which is a method for moving actual things around in the Solar System at minimum cost).

Using pigeons as the transport mechanism would be a pretty good real-world test of the method. Sure, the transport methodology and the tests themselves ould be simulated in the computer, but where's the fun in that? I could see a couple of universities cooperating on a project to maintain a path using the necessary DTN protocols over perhaps a 100-500 mile distance. There's nothing like a real-world exercise to discover the hidden unanticipated issues.

Of course, the next challenge would be to design computer games that actually work over a DTN...

In completely unrelated news... (1)

Hawthorne01 (575586) | more than 4 years ago | (#29354423)

Servicemen from Telkom were seen releasing large numbers of kestrels and falcons along the route of the proposed test.

When asked for a comment, a Telkom spokesperson said "We intend to prove that IPoAC [wikipedia.org] is prone to sudden and catastrophic packet loss due to unanticipated natural events."

Taking bets .... (1)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 4 years ago | (#29354633)

My moneys on the Pigeon, as long as there is more than one being sent out with the same packet. That whole Eggs/Basket thing makes me hedge my bet.

Anonymous Coward. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29354677)

Can anyone imagine a Pigeon DDoS attack?

Instantaneous bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29355143)

I've seen the discussions of the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes, or a 747 loaded full of DVDs. I think you guys are calculating the bandwidth incorrectly. You ought to be assuming saturation of the medium. In the case of station wagons, this means multiple station wagons back-to-back completely filling the available roadway.

On a real network, peak throughput is measured at saturation and we should therefore measure sneakernet throughput at saturation as well. What this boils down to is the time it takes for a certain amount of data to pass a given point in space. So suppose the pigeon carries 4GB of data a distance of 80 km. Assuming a pigeon is roughly 20 cm long, then a stream of pigeons flying back-to-back in this space would be 400,000 pigeons. Supposing the voyage takes three hours (probably an overestimate) this gives a saturated bandwidth of 400000*4GB/10800 s which is about 150 GB per second.

I have serious doubts that the land network can achieve throughput of 150 GB per second.

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