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Pigeons' Bandwidth Advantage Quantified

timothy posted about 10 years ago | from the breed-knoppix-pigeons dept.

The Internet 462

An anonymous reader submits "A well documented test took place in the north of Israel, in presence of several dozen Internet geeks and experts. During the test, 3 homing pigeons carried 4 GB (gigabytes) for 100 km distance, achieving, what apparently looks as pigeons' world record in data transfer to a given distance. Bandwidth achieved by the pigeons was 2.27 Mbps...Transferring a similar volume of information through a common uplink of ADSL line would have taken no less than 96 hours..."

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462 comments

Back of envalope (5, Interesting)

brejc8 (223089) | about 10 years ago | (#8730832)

2.27 Mbps = 0.28375 MBps
4 GB / 0.28375 MBps = 14097 secs
14097 secs = 3h 54Mins
100km / 3h 54Mins = 25.53 km/h
25.53 km/h = 15.86 mph

Not bad for laden little pigeons

Re:Back of envalope (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8730929)

> Not bad for laden little pigeons

Bin Laden has pigeons now??? It all makes sense!

Re:Back of envalope (2, Funny)

The Fink (300855) | about 10 years ago | (#8730937)

Okay, having done that, when are you going to work out the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

Sorry. Had to. It was there.

latency v. bandwidth (4, Informative)

Scott Hussey (599497) | about 10 years ago | (#8731027)

Actually, the distance involved matters not. Bandwidth is purely the time to put data on the line. Latency is the time it takes to get from A to B. So the bandwidth would be the same no matter how far they travelled or how fast they flew. A good simile is bandwidth is how many tapes you can load in your trunk per hour. Latency is how fast you can drive those tapes to your destination.

packet loss? (3, Funny)

sporkboy (22212) | about 10 years ago | (#8730834)

the response time for packet loss is prohibitive... may as well get satellite

Re:packet loss? (5, Funny)

oGMo (379) | about 10 years ago | (#8730882)

the response time for packet loss is prohibitive...

But oh so tasty!

;-)

Re:packet loss? (3, Funny)

MikeXpop (614167) | about 10 years ago | (#8730886)

pong **** CARRIER LOST

Re:packet loss? (1)

neurosis101 (692250) | about 10 years ago | (#8730896)

Yeah seriously. All you need is a hawk or a plane or a guy with a gun or a __________ and there goes ALL your data, with no notice of failure. Funny but not realistic.

Re:packet loss? (1)

provolt (54870) | about 10 years ago | (#8731050)

Funny but not realistic.
It's not realistic?!? What?!? I thought these guys had found a completely new way to replace our aging telecomm infrustructure. How can you possibly say these guys are funny? They don't include anything on their web page to indicate that this is anything other than cutting-edge research.

(Note to parent: This post is a joke. Just like the original story.)

first post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8730837)

first post

April 1st? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8730841)

Already?

new firewall technology (5, Funny)

Triumph The Insult C (586706) | about 10 years ago | (#8730846)

12 gauge shotgun i'm applying for the patent right now

Re:new firewall technology (5, Funny)

GnuHaiku (649058) | about 10 years ago | (#8730967)

12 gauge shotgun i'm applying for the patent right now

Wow! That gives a new meaning to the error message "Carrier Lost"

Re:new firewall technology (2, Funny)

Neil Blender (555885) | about 10 years ago | (#8731042)

12 gauge shotgun i'm applying for the patent right now

Your firewall will be useless against a peck flood.

Mandatory joke (5, Funny)

davebarz (546161) | about 10 years ago | (#8730849)

There will be at least ten comments that say (even though it's a pigeon and not a swallow): "Was it African, or European?"

Re:Mandatory joke (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8731019)

Does yours count?

let's get this joke out of the way early (4, Funny)

stephenb (18235) | about 10 years ago | (#8730851)

the relevant rfc [ietf.org]

Re:let's get this joke out of the way early (1)

k_stamour (544142) | about 10 years ago | (#8730903)

Thanks. I was waiting for this.....There is an RFC for a IP enabled Coffee Maker some where as well ;) ...

I knew it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8730853)

I always thought there must be a better way than ADSL...

Sure (5, Interesting)

Neil Blender (555885) | about 10 years ago | (#8730855)

Fill up a cargo jet with full up hard drives and I'd bet you get really good bandwidth.

Re:Sure (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8730970)

Yeah but who wants to wait 9 hours to then find the webpage they wanted to view was lost at baggage collection.

Re:Sure (1)

Geek of Tech (678002) | about 10 years ago | (#8731011)

Yeah, but if you're in to online games, think about the lag....

Granted, it might be to your advantage if you're the server....

One of those things that shouldn't surprise but... (4, Interesting)

Space cowboy (13680) | about 10 years ago | (#8730860)


It's a truism within the London-based Post-production industry (pretty much all located within a square mile of Soho, central London) that the bandwidth of a bunch of RAID arrays in a transit van is pretty much unbeatable, even with the fast networks that post-houses have between themselves... transferring physical media used to be called 'sneakernet' when walking across the room, it's just been scaled up slightly :-)

I'm quite impressed that a pigeon can do 100km in 2.5 hours though, I had no idea they were *that* fast...

Simon

Re:One of those things that shouldn't surprise but (4, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | about 10 years ago | (#8731003)

Yep, and I believe it was one of the guys from MS Research that said he could buy new servers with RAID arrays and send them cross country for less than the cost of a network link that could support the same kind of data transfer =)

What about packet loss? (5, Funny)

Jack Zombie (637548) | about 10 years ago | (#8730877)

You'd lose both a huge amount of your data and your only connection should something happen to those pigeons. Still, it's more reliable than AOL.

Qauke (1)

Greger47 (516305) | about 10 years ago | (#8730878)

Yes, but what about the ping? If I can't play Qauke I ain't interrested.

/greger

Don't PING pigeons! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8731047)

If you're pinging pigeons you're sick and should go seek help!

Well then (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8730879)

It looks like the final barrier to widespread internet access in the Palestinian quasi-state has been surmounted.

A new oss project (0)

Wolface (740944) | about 10 years ago | (#8730890)

Features:
The PigeonDistro is developed to maximize the advantage of free an accesible deployment solution.

"I was able to upgrade 2000 machines in less than 12 hours. Only 10 of those hours where cleaning the floors."

MD5 hash... (5, Funny)

addie (470476) | about 10 years ago | (#8730897)

I feel sorry for the pigeon who needs to be hashed on the other end to check if it's the same one... that's gotta hurt.

Re:MD5 hash... (1)

Mr. Bad Example (31092) | about 10 years ago | (#8731030)

I feel sorry for the pigeon who needs to be hashed on the other end to check if it's the same one... that's gotta hurt.

It's okay. If it's not, they'll just retransmit the pigeon. I'd be more worried about the awfully short TTL value your average pigeon has...

Nah... They just sent 3 bits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8730900)

From what I undertood, they splited
the information into 3 bits and
charged each pigeon with a bit, so
infact they only transferred 3 bits.

at the risk of getting shat on: (5, Funny)

t_allardyce (48447) | about 10 years ago | (#8730901)

Try wiretapping that you FBI bitches

Re:at the risk of getting shat on: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8730992)

*watches as FBI guy pulls out his BB gun*

My car is better (1, Interesting)

cmallinson (538852) | about 10 years ago | (#8730907)

It sounds like what is being tested here is how much data can be carried by a pigeon, not bandwidth.

I can throw 10,000 DVDs in my trunk, and drive 100km in an hour. Would that be considered "great bandwidth"? Besides, if they can use 3 pigeons, why not compare it to 3 DSL lines?

Andy's station wagon is the best! (1)

mekkab (133181) | about 10 years ago | (#8730997)

Would that be considered "great bandwidth"?
to get pedantic for a sec:
While "bandwidth" isn't exactly the same as data rate (bandwidth is the total maximum physical capacity for the medium), continual improper usage of the word has lead to them being defacto synonyms.

And YES. That IS great bandwidth (it's the classic example in Tannenbaum's text book: Never underestimate the bandwidth of a stationwagon full of magtapes. )

Re:My car is better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8731036)

> I can throw 10,000 DVDs in my trunk, and drive 100km in an hour. Would that be considered "great bandwidth"?

Yes it would. But it would also be considered high latency.

Tannebaum said it best... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8730910)

A quote (more or less) from the Computer Networks book I used in college by Tannenbaum goes something like this:

"Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon hurtling down the road with a bunch of tapes"

It begins... (5, Insightful)

stevenbdjr (539653) | about 10 years ago | (#8730920)

Is it already April 1st somewhere?

Re:It begins... (1)

flossie (135232) | about 10 years ago | (#8731015)

Yes, here in the UK (BST, not GMT). Israel, of course, is further East. It's definitely April Fools day over there at the moment.

Re:It begins... (1)

fm6 (162816) | about 10 years ago | (#8731017)

In Israel, obviously.

I used to enjoy the occasional April 1 news item. But Slashdot seems determined to beat the idea to death!

Why not a hard drive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8730931)

These Israeli pigeons sound like wimps. Our local Philly pigeons could easily carry my 160GB hard drive or a small child but probably not one of our local rats.

So when do they strap bombs on 'em? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8730939)

This is Israel we're talking about, the US sponsored terrorist state. How long til they start strapping bombs on the pigeons, to attack their neighbors?

We need to boot Israel out of there. They do not belong.

"Get mah gun, Ma, It's one of those birdy things" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8730942)

64 bytes from pigeon: icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=0.030 ms
64 bytes from pigeon: icmp_seq=2 ttl=64 time=0.024 ms
64 bytes from pigeon: icmp_seq=3 ttl=64 time=0.025 ms
64 bytes from pigeon: icmp_seq=4 Destination Host Unreachable

Lets see what happens if... (2, Funny)

Bob C. Cock (605290) | about 10 years ago | (#8730946)

we replace those tiny 4 GB memory cards with 1.44 MB floppies. Lets see how far those flying rats get with 4 GB of floppies attached to their frickin' heads.

Re:Lets see what happens if... (5, Funny)

Mr. Bad Example (31092) | about 10 years ago | (#8731053)

Lets see how far those flying rats get with 4 GB of floppies attached to their frickin' heads.

We can't attach them there.

That's where the frickin' lasers go.

Pigeon DNS (5, Funny)

Doesn't_Comment_Code (692510) | about 10 years ago | (#8730950)

That's all fine and good if you know where you're sending your packets. But what if you have to do a DNS look up? Then you have to send several scout pigeons to the nearest aviary which will in turn send a pigeon back with a map of where to send your data pigeons.

And there's a whole other issue with those bastard Verisign Pigeons, but I'm not going to get into that now.

There's also a risk of packet sniffers who use various means to down your pigeons and read your data (no router protection).

And if they do happen to down your pigeon, they can give it new data and send it on its way as if it came from your IP (iniating pigeon). WATCH OUT CREDIT CARDS!

The solution of course is to use Pretty Good Pigeons to protect your data.

Yeah but, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8730953)

The latency sucks

What about packet loss? (1)

militiaMan (672558) | about 10 years ago | (#8730956)

I doubt birds are as reliable or as secure as networks. Imagine your bird falling into the wrong hands. I would guess that the average bandwidth would go down quite a bit when packet loss is accounted for.

Early for April 1st? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8730962)

Just got the timing slightly wrong though, two minutes before it became April 1st by GMT.

nice but (1)

b17bmbr (608864) | about 10 years ago | (#8730965)

when i blast the shit out of the little bastards with my shotgun, your gonna grumble something about data integrity and security.

not fair (1)

DrWhizBang (5333) | about 10 years ago | (#8730975)

Although I applaud their efforts, it seems that the data was transferred using M-Systems DOC modules (flash). A far cry from clay tablets. Whatever happened to standards?!

Monty Python reference (1)

jonfelder (669529) | about 10 years ago | (#8730994)

Darn it! The moment I saw the article I wanted to reply with a "Holy Grail" reference...people beat me to it. :-)

We want a shrubbery!

Re:Monty Python reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8731052)

Darn it! The moment I saw the article I wanted to reply with a "Holy Grail" reference...people beat me to it. :-)

We want a shrubbery!


I thought the "Knights who say Ni" couldn't say "it"

How they carried the data (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8731012)

Just in case you guys are curious how the pigeons carried their data!

M-System [m-sys.com], Israeli Company that produces tiny memory cards. They supplied 64 tiny DiskOnChips, each with 64MB (megabytes) of storage space". The availability of high density small size flash memory, enables the transfer of very large quantities of data in physical form. A capsule containing 20-22 chips was attached to each pigeon. In total, the 3 pigeons carried chips with a capacity of 4GB.

Article Should Have Been Titled... (1)

jazman_777 (44742) | about 10 years ago | (#8731024)

Placeholder for Massively Redundant Geek Jokes, Including an Inevitable Monty Python Reference.

Ping times (2, Funny)

thorgil (455385) | about 10 years ago | (#8731029)

Yeah but the ping times suck right...

Stack a 747 full of writable dvd's and you get hell of a bandwidth...

Or even better...

Put em on a superfreighter class ship... /T

hehehe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8731040)

I'm sure their friends [google.com] at Google are pleased.
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