southafricanpidgeon

Can You Explain This?

We received a request from one of our visitors to explain the following article on the Internet:

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/sout … w-internet

Our response was:

Hi!
Well, actually yes, I think so.

southafricanpidgeonIt appears from the report (if all factual), that little Winston was quite a flyer!  According to the article: “Winston the pigeon, who last year famously proved that it was faster to send data by carrier pigeon than on an ADSL line operated by South Africa’s main web firm. To the surprise of few internet users in South Africa, Winston flew a 4GB memory stick 60 miles in the same time the Telkom line had sent only 4 percent of the data.”

ADSL is Asymetrical DSL. The upload speed is considerably slower than the download speed. So let’s assume the test used an upload speed of 768kbps. According to the calculation we used (see http://www.t1shopper.com/tools/calculat … ulator.php) that should take 12 Hours 25 Minutes 39.24 Seconds.

Not to be overly analytical, but the a pigeon can fly pretty fast – up to 60mph, usually averaging 30mph (see http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_fast_can_a_pigeon_fly). Let’s assume Winston had to do this several times (!) and that he got tired and flew his average speed. Covering the 60 miles would have taken poor Winston 2 hours. According to the article, in 2 hours 4% of the data had been transmitted. This equates to about 160Mbytes. Reverse engineering the ADSL speed, it must have been running somewhere between 128 and 256 Kbps (try this yourself at the T1 shopper link above). So in actuality, Winston probably could have walked the 60 miles and still beaten the ADSL transfer speed as it would have actually taken between 2 and 3 days!!

How cool is that!

P.S. If you want a great laugh – check out the following: http://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/rfc1149/ or http://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/rfc2549/ Internet Engineering Task Force Network Requirements documents!!

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