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back to article SA pigeon outpaces broadband

A South African IT outfit has shamed telecoms operator Telkom by sending 4GB of data 60 miles by pigeon in two hours - faster than it arrived by the ISP's broadband service. According to the BBC, Unlimited IT dispatched 11-month-old Winston from its call centre in the town of Howick to its Durban office. The bird carried its …

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Troy Hector insisted.......

Would that be one of those TELEPHONE support script that involves unplugging everything from your TELEPHONE socket and then awaiting further instruction from the person you are talking to on the TELEPHONE?

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Coat

RFC2549

I don't think this was a fair test at all. Their methods didn't comply with the IETF standard as described in RFC2549 or RFC1149.

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woop de do

Hardly a surprise, clearly they were just looking for some media attention.

4gb of data is an awful lot and most broadband connections would struggle to transfer it quickly.

If I found it was quicker to knock on my neighbours door to tell him something than it was for him to receive an e-mail I don't think anyone would care.

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over the moon

think how much quicker he'd have been if he'd went direct.

In another news shock:

4gb data moved quicker from one office to another by man's hand rather than ethernet network.

cisco blame 'f4ckwits not understanding simple technology'

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oh this is good

this is really good :)

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Stop

Just to point out the bleedin' obvious

But the A in ADSL stands for asymmetric. It's not supposed to be good at uploading data. Here in the UK we get 512K bits upload (or there abouts), which would take over 17 hours to send 4GB. If they want to send large quantities of data then they need a symmetric DSL line or dedicated leased line.

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Linux

That's nothing

I can burn a DVD and give it to my pet frog to take it next door and it get there quicker than I can FTP it to the same place.

Completely meaningless unless we know what speed their broadband is meant to run at (I mean the service they're realistically paying for, not 20Mb for £10/month).

As in, I realise that my ADSL has limited upload speed... and I accept that, but I know people that pay for 100 or even 1000 Mbps symmetrical fibre links between cities... they obviously don't have the same limitations.

Also, if it took them an hour to read 4GB off a USB stick, I'm not surprised theire internet is shoddy - they obviously have very slow computers!

Of course, Tux could've beaten the flying rodent.

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FAIL

Recommendations

"Several recommendations have, in the past, been made to the customer but none of these have, to date, been accepted."

Was one of those "change your provider"?

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Everything OK

It's an "up to 8 megabits" account.

Nothing wrong with the line at all.

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That old saying still rings true....

'Never underestimate the bandwidth of a van full of magtapes'

:-)

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IT Angle

Hang on a mo..

This article HAS an IT angle yet is in Bootnotes.

Are you trying to completely confuse those gentle readers who can't quite get the concept of Bootnotes?

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Heart

Loved the ISP Comment...

This must be the ultimate "blame the customer" response by an ISP.

I Doubt Carrier Pigeon based ISP's will take off in the UK. The latency issue for online gaming would be a major problem.

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Grenade

Good demo.

Good demo. The important part here is that the limiting portion was the uplink and these chaps were uploading data. So, as a matter of fact, a pigeon carrying a reasonable size SD card will easily outrace most UK Broadband services.

I wish one of the photo printing shops in London had a suitably located pigeon service. It would have made for a fine demo why does current Broadband suck bricks through a thin straw sidewise even for a trivial consumer app like "I would like to print my photos".

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Coat

ISP sick as a parrot?

Wonder if Unlimited IT will give Telkom the bird now?

And, knowing with depressing first hand experience the advice of our own abysmal IT mob (our network would be outpaced by a lame chicken, let alone a racing pigeon), I suspect Telekom's 'suggestions' were along the lines of the following gems from our helldesk:

"Have you tried turning the computer off and on?" (and this will help with a network outage HOW?)

"There are no known IT problems in your area" (despite the fact everything other than the internet was failing to respond)

"You should schedule use of this application early in the morning and late at night" ('this application' being the mapping software required by half the department to do their day job)

"The user cannot log in? Well, can you get them to log in please?" (Um, which part of 'can't log in' did you not get?)

Right, hand me my coat - I'm off to celebrate a news tip of mine actually making it onto the Reg for the first time (one amongst many submitters, I suspect, but any excuse!)

~Jes :)

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Broadband speed

According to my calculations, the broadband speed was 166Kb per second.

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Well Duh!

Breaking news: Pope is a Catholic! Bears shit in the woods! ADSL upload speeds are very slow!

If you want fast transfer from one site to another, there's no point having them both on ADSL is there? Or do these people expect a synchronous service at asynchronous prices?

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FAIL

Piss poor broadband connection

Average transfer rate = 0.2 megabit/s!

Also, 1 hour to download 4 GB of data from a USB stick?? They must've been using USB 1.x.

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Terry Pratchett has called his lawyers

For this blatant rip from "Going Postal" where a horse-mounted delivery service races delivery against the new-fangled "clacks"...

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We use turtle here.

In Australia we use blind-folded turtles.

They are plenty fast enough to win AND they can't view any of the web-nasties our god-bothering Govt wants to save us from.

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Be Green

Whats more enviromentally friendly though?

"Think of the chil....polar bears."

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@Broadband speed

wolfram tells us all:

PidgeonNet

http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=4GB+%2F+2hours&a=UnitClash_*GB.*Gibibytes--

Broadband

http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=%28+4%25+of+4GB+%29+%2F+2hours&a=UnitClash_*GB.*Gigabytes--

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Anonymous Coward

Next up... the Apple express

Time to pit Telkom against a preserved narrow-guage steam railway.

For the Brits... do you remember the brilliant pricing and service when BT was the only telco in the UK? That's Telkom, with a bit of tropical apathy and nepotism thrown in.

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Paris Hilton

Vista copying speeds?

Another hour was needed to suck the 4GB off the stick.

Paris - well, you know!

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Boffin

Nothing to see here

RFC 1149 and 2549 have detailed the Avian Carrier protocol since A1st April 1990

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IP_over_Avian_Carriers

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World Cup????!!!

And they are planning to stream world cup football live from there. It is a sad day for football. (Soccer for the yanks)

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Coat

Muttley, do something!

Drat, drat, and double drat.

Foiled again.

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Catch the pigeon

Muttley, doooooooo something!

Shuckin-fechen-blatently-obvious-that-4gig-is-gonna-take-more-than-an-hour-even-at-8Mbps

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Latency

Unfortunately this solution isn't suitable for all network applications. Network ping times can be long, so online gamers can be at a disadvantage. In addition, the presence of Falco Peregrinus along the transmission path can lead to unacceptable levels of packet loss.

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Joke

ah, but how does it compare...

to the unladened speed of a swallow?

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Grenade

Surely that means...

Kicking data is faster than a corporate network? I kicked an 80GB Solid State Drive from my desk over to my colleagues desk 2 meters away.

20 seconds to remove the drive.

2 seconds to kick it over.

30 seconds to insert the drive.

52 seconds in total.

Compare that to transferring close to 80GB over a corporate network if you will!

Basically, my point is the fact they used 60 miles as a benchmark... the pigeon was incidental... they could have used a bike courier. The shorter the distance, the less 'effective' any network will be compared to traditional methods of transferring via 'physical' media. What they don't say is that the network would probably perform at an almost identical transfer rate if used over 600 miles, whereas the pigeon would take 10 times longer, if it turned up at all... and that's not even taking packet/pigeon loss into consideration! ;p

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Poor reporting

Although it does seem the service in question was poor, about half the *upload* speed I get at home in the UK, the reporting of this article from various sources fail to put the story in to context. ADSL is exactly that and you'd be hard pressed to send 4GB over anything but a business grade network.

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FAIL

Another hour was needed to suck the 4GB off the stick

What were they using? Straws?

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@Fab De Marco

Is Unlimited IT streaming the World Cup over an ADSL line, or have you mistaken one company for an entire country?

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Linux

Don't tell UK.gov

Don't tell the UK government, they'll start putting a ban on Pigeons.

I mean it's a big risk, with pirates sending illegal copies of movies, music, software etc via pigeon and don't even get started on the child porn rings.

Actually, I'm going to see if I can train the seaguls* we have here in Torquay, I mean they're not really much use anyway, so if I can train them to send out MicroSD cards to friends with stuff on (I'm thinking copies of Ubuntu) then all the better.

Rob

* I would use penguins but they tend to waddle slowly.

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@Steve Todd

Steve wrote: "Here in the UK we get 512K bits upload (or there abouts), which would take over 17 hours to send 4GB."

I don't know who your provider is but I can get sustained download speeds of 1.3Megabytes per second and upload speeds about 700. And yes, this is a home broadband account, not a commercial one.

Having said that, it obviously depends where I'm uploading things to. I suspect that these guys would have used ftp and not had to worry much about that - but who knows?

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Dead Vulture

I think you're missing the point here...

Telkom is..KREP... to paraphase my fellow south africans.

The phone call rates are amongst the highest in the world and so are the broadband charges..profits are also insanely high and customer service is well...KREP

So this excercise is more a of a protest against Telkom rather than seeing which would be faster. As usual Regheads unleased their supreme geekiness which in fact made you look rather stupid.

We all know a guy on a bike is going to be faster couriering a 1TB disk than ftp, http or whatever method of transport...to put things into perspective...40 pounds a month in south africa buys you a 2mb line with a 5gb cap, excluding line rental. Not so clever now eh?

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Don't be hasty to judge

To put this in perspective

While ago it was tested to be cheaper to fly overseas,download 40gigs of data and fly back than to use the piss-poor excuse for net availed to South African ADSL users ;)

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Big Brother

It's only a matter of time...

...before some dodgy startup employs PPI (Pigeon Packet Inspection) to serve you up some targeted advertising.

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Black Helicopters

Thats nothing

once it took me 13 hours to download a 1.6 gig file

Karoo Sucks

helicopters because i want the fire button

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Joke

Re: I think you're missing the point here..

It's a good job Winston wasn't carrying more than 5Gb of data then - otherwise he'd have had to be shot.

Suddenly visualising Telkom in the Corporal Punishment episode of Blackadder goes Forth...

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Joke

@Chris 12

African or European?

(*Someone* had to ask!)

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Stop

@AC 13:50

700K BYTES upload speed is 5600K bits, and is well beyond the capacity of ADSL's up channel. Remember that we're talking ADSL here, not cable modem. The very best ADSL link you can get in the UK, providing you are on the doorstep of the exchange, will give you 2.5M bits upload speeds, which still needs 3.5 hours to shift 4GB.

Meanwhile there is no cable TV network in Durban, so there's no chance of them using that.

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Petition to the Reg Standards Soviet

This calls for a Reg standard for bandwidth!! Possible names:

Winston

South African Racing Pidgeon

KTelkom

And don't forget to update the The Reg online standards converter

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Happy

The real story

is everyone tuned into the website to watch. How much bandwidth is that?

In other news, T-mobile announce 20Mb laptop pigeon service.

I want I want I want a pigeon. No phorm phucken wid my pigeon

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Sluggish Data Transport Is Faster Than ADSL

is a far superior example of the genre - you can read the original AIR paper (PDF) on

http://improbable.com/airchives/paperair/volume11/v11i4/sluggish-data-11-4.pdf

I strongly recommend it

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Badgers

AeroNet Propagation Delays and Latencies...

...can surely be minimized all along the Avian Backbone by upgrading every AtmosWeb node to VuuDuu Linux on a suitably deceased Badger, imvho. Just slip a pair of proper Gigabit ethernet cards in where the Duppy Card and Sound Cards once might have lived; the result will prove both immobile and rackworthy as well as quiet in operation.

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2004/20040405/badger.shtml for those of us who are just catching up on the Advancing RetroConceptual Edge of NeoTech these days. ;)

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Happy

Nothing new...

PigeonNet is obviously the WAN equivalent of the SneakerNet LAN.

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The solution

Pigeons carrying WiMAX tranceivers.

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@WarrenG

People here are taking exception to a pointless comparison, not saying that this means the service is good in other ways. If people want to protest something, it helps to do it in a vaguely relevant way, so you don't look like jackasses.

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Pidgeon faster than you think!

....After all, it had to call in at GCHQ on the way...

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