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Pigeon Found to be Faster Than Broadband

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 73 comments

What's next? BirdTorrent?

Carrier pigeons are an ancient way to transmit information. As we've seen in many movies, one would tie a small scrolled message to the leg of a pigeon before sending it flapping off to warn its recipient of impending danger.

Today we have much more modern and efficient ways to transmit information… or do we? If you're an internet user in South Africa on the Telkom ISP, you might have better results with the old ways.

A worker at a Durban IT company was very unhappy with the performance of Telkom's ADSL speed. As a result, he decided to pit a carrier pigeon armed with a 4 GB USB stick against a plain file transfer.

Winston the pigeon won.

By the time Winston reached his destination, only 4 percent of the file had transferred. The BBC report does not specify the full size of the file, but did say that Winston completed his journey in 1 hour and 8 minutes, while the internet transfer required an additional hour to complete.

ISP Telom said that it couldn't be held responsible for the slow transfer speeds to the IT company, as it has helped to advise the company in possible improvements, but thus far none have been accepted.

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Top Comments
  • 36 Hide
    Anonymous , September 10, 2009 5:43 PM
    What about packet collision between pigeons?
  • 36 Hide
    ColMirage , September 10, 2009 5:37 PM
    Quote:
    By the time Winston reached his destination, only 4 percent of the file had transferred. The BBC report does not specify the full size of the file, but did say that Winston completed his journey in 1 hour and 8 minutes, while the internet transfer required an additional hour to complete.


    Wait, what? So the file was uploaded by only 4% in One hour 8 minutes, and the remaining 96% of the file needed only one hour to complete? That's some weird reliability.
  • 27 Hide
    SpadeM , September 10, 2009 5:50 PM
    Hmm a DDoS ... with pigeons ... that should be fun
Other Comments
    Display all 73 comments.
  • 14 Hide
    vertigo_2000 , September 10, 2009 5:29 PM
    So he needs to set up a network of carrier pigeons? How does he get his 1st pigeon back? Does he strap it to a 2nd different pigeon?

    :) 
  • 27 Hide
    trkorecky , September 10, 2009 5:30 PM
    *starts collecting tons of pigeons*

    Alright, I'll start seeding the latest Ubuntu build.
  • 36 Hide
    ColMirage , September 10, 2009 5:37 PM
    Quote:
    By the time Winston reached his destination, only 4 percent of the file had transferred. The BBC report does not specify the full size of the file, but did say that Winston completed his journey in 1 hour and 8 minutes, while the internet transfer required an additional hour to complete.


    Wait, what? So the file was uploaded by only 4% in One hour 8 minutes, and the remaining 96% of the file needed only one hour to complete? That's some weird reliability.
  • 17 Hide
    redgarl , September 10, 2009 5:37 PM
    I love this! Birds with USB keys... awesome! Do you need to plug it in or something?
  • 36 Hide
    Anonymous , September 10, 2009 5:43 PM
    What about packet collision between pigeons?
  • 12 Hide
    Hockeyguyinoc , September 10, 2009 5:45 PM
    That is funny. I'm amused lol.
  • 20 Hide
    JeanLuc , September 10, 2009 5:47 PM
    Wildlife FTW!

    If I was the boss of that ISP I would walk around with a paper bag over my head, I doubt I could live with the shame of losing to centuries old technology.
  • 27 Hide
    SpadeM , September 10, 2009 5:50 PM
    Hmm a DDoS ... with pigeons ... that should be fun
  • 15 Hide
    jellico , September 10, 2009 5:59 PM
    Think we could mount a small SSD on one of those birdies? If so, we might have something there. Of course, if a pigeon gets lots, shot down, killed by a predator, etc... that amounts to a WHOLE lot of packet loss!
  • 24 Hide
    r0x0r , September 10, 2009 6:00 PM
    Pfft pigeon. You should see the download speed I get from my perigrine falcon!
  • 14 Hide
    Kaiser_25 , September 10, 2009 6:05 PM
    slap in the face for that ISP, lol useless experiments like these are great.
  • 5 Hide
    Major7up , September 10, 2009 6:06 PM
    This appeared on Wired.com hours ago with more info:
    http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/09/in-africa-a-pigeon-transfers-data-faster-than-the-internet/

    They say in the Wired bit that (including xfer of file to usb stick etc) that it took a total of 2 hours 6 minutes and 57 seconds and that by that time only 4% had been transferred. There had been no comment from Telkom at that time and they also do not indicate where the destination office is located. I would bet though that the 'improvement options' offered by Telkom would not help an infrastructure problem taht it is likely to be.
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , September 10, 2009 6:07 PM
    Be sure to feed the pigeons well and give them a dose of laxative before beginning the DDoS

    Let the DDos begin [l](to the tune of Plop, plop, fiz, fiz, oh what a relief it is)[/l]

    Break out the Umbrellas!
  • 0 Hide
    icepick314 , September 10, 2009 6:12 PM
    this is the website by the company who tested carrier pigeon ISP...

    http://pigeonrace2009.co.za/

    also has map route and much more information regarding the "race"...
  • 0 Hide
    Major7up , September 10, 2009 6:22 PM
    I did find that it was between Howick and Durban but could not get Google to calculate the distance. Even so, using the scale and measuring, you'd get at least 30 miles maybe more like 40. In any case, that pigeon would have to fly at least 15 miles and hour to make it in the time indicated. Seems reasonable to me that it is accurate. But what I don't quite get is where the other hour came in exactly. we do know that they had to xfer the file to the stick which takes moments and then attach it to the pigeon. But did they have to drive somewhere else locally to do that...to send him off? And did they need to pick it up offsite at the other end? How does the pigeon know where his destination is?
  • 5 Hide
    doomtomb , September 10, 2009 6:30 PM
    This doesn't make sense....
    Quote:
    By the time Winston reached his destination, only 4 percent of the file had transferred. The BBC report does not specify the full size of the file, but did say that Winston completed his journey in 1 hour and 8 minutes, while the internet transfer required an additional hour to complete.

    Basic math please? 1 hour and 8 minutes to complete 4% but required an additional hour to complete. More like it requires 20 more hours!
  • -8 Hide
    hakesterman , September 10, 2009 6:35 PM
    The pigeon isn't faster than Broadband, that Pigeon is only faster than the server the file was being downloaded from. This is a useless argument.

  • 0 Hide
    kittle , September 10, 2009 6:35 PM
    Aparently its a 4GB file that was being transfered.
    so im guessing the other hour was for upload and download of the file from the memory stick.

    goto the website above and click on "pigeon race 2009"
  • 9 Hide
    lowguppy , September 10, 2009 6:38 PM
    546KB per second, not bad.
  • -6 Hide
    dextermat , September 10, 2009 6:52 PM
    if you send 4 gigs at a time (on a key) and the bird doesn't get to destination: that a darn big packet lost to me lol

    1 question can a pigeon run crysis online LAWL
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