A Durban IT company pitted an 11-month-old bird armed with a 4GB memory stick against the ADSL service from the country's biggest web firm, Telkom.It was on April 1st 1990, that rfc 1149 was written. This rfc specifies a protocol for IP over avian carriers, CPIP (carrier pigeon internet protocol).
Winston the pigeon took two hours to carry the data 60 miles - in the same time the ADSL had sent 4% of the data.
Telkom said it was not responsible for the firm's slow internet speeds.
The idea for the race came when a member of staff at Unlimited IT complained about the speed of data transmission on ADSL.
He said it would be faster by carrier pigeon.
Earlier implementations on UNIX showed relatively poor performance :
Script started on Sat Apr 28 11:24:09 2001
vegard@gyversalen:~$ /sbin/ifconfig tun0
tun0 Link encap:Point-to-Point Protocol
inet addr:10.0.3.2 P-t-P:10.0.3.1 Mask:255.255.255.255
UP POINTOPOINT RUNNING NOARP MULTICAST MTU:150 Metric:1
RX packets:1 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
TX packets:2 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
RX bytes:88 (88.0 b) TX bytes:168 (168.0 b)
vegard@gyversalen:~$ ping -i 900 10.0.3.1
PING 10.0.3.1 (10.0.3.1): 56 data bytes
64 bytes from 10.0.3.1: icmp_seq=0 ttl=255 time=6165731.1 ms
64 bytes from 10.0.3.1: icmp_seq=4 ttl=255 time=3211900.8 ms
64 bytes from 10.0.3.1: icmp_seq=2 ttl=255 time=5124922.8 ms
64 bytes from 10.0.3.1: icmp_seq=1 ttl=255 time=6388671.9 ms
--- 10.0.3.1 ping statistics ---
9 packets transmitted, 4 packets received, 55% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max = 3211900.8/5222806.6/6388671.9 ms
Script done on Sat Apr 28 14:14:28 2001
For routine, regular data transmission of large files between two fixed points no more than 100km apart, bursts of data via carrier pigeon (or more conventionally, motorcycle courier) remain competitive with optical fibre. They make use of existing infrastructure rather than requiring massive investment.
It would be interesting to see where the crossover point occurs in various countries and circumstances: the smaller the files, the longer the distances, and the larger the list of addressees, the less advantage physical data transfer accrues.