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Pigeon faster than rural UK broadband
Friday 17 September 2010 11:20:43 by John Hunt

Yesterday Trefor Davies of business communications provider Timico started a race to see which would be faster, uploading a video from a rural broadband connection or sending the data via carrier pigeon. The aim of the test was to point out that in some areas, broadband connections are so poor that sometimes even sending via pigeon can be quicker!

Of course, in this case, the pigeon won, arriving in 1hour 15mins by which point the video upload was only 24% complete. The file that was around 300MB in size achieved a data rate of about 533Kbps by carrier pigeon, although this didn't allow for overheads such as copying the data on to the data card carried by pigeon or retrieving it at the other end. The broadband connection being used has an upstream data rate of 200Kbps, which unusually is faster than the downstream which is only 100Kbps (or 0.1meg). Whilst the data rate was slower than the similar experiment last year in South Africa where the pigeon achieved 4.2Mbps (including overheads), it can be setup in such a way to ensure that the pigeon wins by increasing the amount of data sent.

Of course, carrier pigeon may not prove to be the fastest method of transferring data. Sending hard drives of data by vehicle could provide a faster data rate, although sometimes even this could be beaten by royal mail as proved by a race in Top Gear. However, this does show that rural areas really could benefit from investment to provide faster connections.

Comments

Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"The file that was around 300MB in size achieved a data rate of about 533Kbps by carrier pigeon"

Shoulda sent the feathery vermin during off peak time woulda got a whole 1Mb then ;) LOL
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
haha good one :P :D
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
How much?
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
how much what?
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
Per my comment in the forum if Trefor and Timico are so concerned by rural services that they feel the need to do these stunts they could of course do some investing themselves.
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
@Dixi

It's abit tough if they are going to get charged an arm and a leg for using fibre, even for FTTC.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
News just in 2 pigeons unfortunately died on the journey... The BPI shot them for P2P video file sharing :D
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
Maybe, but given they're quite happy to do news grabbing stunts to highlight this problem you'd think they'd be happy to do something constructive and put their money where their mouth is.

I mean if it's all that easy, inexpensive and viable they should make a fair amount of money from the enterprise.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 6 years ago
Dixie, Timico often put their money where their mouth is, they are one of the very best ISPs and they take a great pride in providing what the customer wants, needs and can pay for. I think it is great that they did this stunt for the Rural Broadband Conference tomorrow. It raises awareness of the issue. If Timico could lay fibre without being penalised by the VOA tax (unlike the incumbent) and had access to legacy ducting/poles I guess they would. So would others. They just need a level playing field.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 6 years ago
CB, there were reports that Dick Dastardly had been spotted close to the humber bridge, but luckily Tref and Rory got a tweet on twitter and avoided the bridge. And the toll. All the pigeons made it home.
Posted by TaRkADaHl over 6 years ago
Farmer in field with shotgun = the new denial of service attack
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
^^^ Brings whole new meaning to an attack on cloud storage :D
Posted by TaRkADaHl over 6 years ago
'In other news the RIAA now employs 12,000 falcons to control P2P'
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
What's the usage allowance on these pigeons? is there a FUP in place?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
Upto 60Wfps (AKA Wing flaps per seconds)

FUP of whatever the pigeon can carry and still take flight without kill it mid journey.

Throttled at night and during heavy wind.

Comes with a 'coop'nection charge of £20 which is compulsory.

Terms and condition according to pigeon weight may apply, we reserve the right to clip wings/feathers at any time.
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
If the internet was actually ran by pigeons and 100% certain that the RIAA would actual employ falcons. I bet they soo would LOL.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
There is a migration in and out fee

Tech support is available from people in anoraks

GPS (Global pigeoning System) functionality is £10 extra per month

Static IP (internal pigeon) available on request

(I could go on :D)
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
Don't forget the VOA Bird Tax which stops ISPs deploying mutant pigeons which can go upto 200Wfps!
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
PT (Pigeon Telecom) are currently deploying Upto 100Wfps using POS (Pigeons on Steroids) to get faster speeds.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
^^^ You have to purchase extra seed for that variation of service.
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
I would hate to see what Deep Packet Inspection would do to a pigeon....
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
CarpetBurn, but we already have to pay to hire Falcons to stop us from download content that we never download :(
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
What a pointless stunt. What was the point of it? Surely not to raise awareness we get enough people bleeting about it every week on here for free, no point in spending money on stupid stunts.
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
To be honest i dont think this "stunt" would of cost alot of money.

Just a pigeon and a home video camera really.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
GMAN99 is right though still pointless.
Posted by TaRkADaHl over 6 years ago
I got a laugh out of it... worthwhile in my opinion :)
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
^^^ Not so fun when the pigeon of a service drops packets on your head ;)
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Its still pointless, strap a 16Gb USB stick and fill it with video and the pigeon would be faster that most inner city broadband connections as well to upload/transfer it. Stupid
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
RC jet plane would be quicker and safer.

@Legolash2o

Pigeon.
Posted by TaRkADaHl over 6 years ago
@GMAN99 - Forgetting 1 small factor here aren't we...

What if the location was in Japan, or Oz, or Africa as opposed to 70 miles away....
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
You wouldnt steal a car....
You wouldnt steal a handbag...
You wouldnt steal a movie...
Downloading pigeon transfered movies is stealing
Pigeon piracy is a crime
LOL

For more...
http://www.deterapigeon.com/Technology-Pigeons-Eight-Fascinating-Ways-Pigeons-Have-Contributed.html

They are taking over the tech world i tell you
Posted by andygegg over 6 years ago
I once worked out that it would be quicker to download a file from London to here (West Cornwall) by a person walking the whole distance. That was before they fixed the loose connection on the drop pole so now I get a blistering 0.9Mb/s - and it's never going to get any faster!
Posted by NetGuy over 6 years ago
"now I get a blistering 0.9Mb/s - and it's never going to get any faster!"

similarly, Openreach just replaced the dropwire and fitted a new master socket in another room for me, so my download speed has gone up almost tenfold to 1.5 Mbps, but I couldn't afford to live in a city, and don't think I'd want to!
Posted by NetGuy over 6 years ago
As for whether this was a pointless stunt - listening to the 10 minute R Lincolnshire interview before the 'race', it is clear enough that however much Government goes on about the benefits of broadband (and paying that woman to champion the net), for rural users, it is often a raw deal, and just like Africa/Australia, some places have very sluggish 'broadband'.

All we (rural users) want is a level playing field, folks!
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
So cyberdoyle Timico do all this but haven't laid a single strand of fibre, put up a single wireless mast or done anything else to improve rural services. Like most other ISPs they'll happily whine about the infrastructure but won't take the risk and build any themselves.

Incidentally access to BT's infrastructure is incoming, and VOA is charged on NGA at cable rates - 7.50 per home passed.
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
You have a level playing field NetGuy, more than in fact. What you mean is you want the same services as everyone else for the same prices despite being considerably more expensive to serve. That's not level by any definition, it's subsidy.

As a reminder also there are many areas with issues in urban areas, it's nothing at all to do with an urban-rural divide, it's about return on investment and the laws of physics.
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
@cyberdoyle "If Timico could lay fibre without being penalised by the VOA tax (unlike the incumbent) and had access to legacy ducting/poles I guess they would. So would others. They just need a level playing field."

VOA tax comment - EU investigation refuted that allegation some time ago.

Access to legacy ducting, poles - presumably you're proposing they pay for this, and are not subsidised by other companies' shareholders?
Posted by cyberdoyle over 6 years ago
love all the comments on here! we don't half have some wit on thinkbroadband.
the pigeon went to the rural broadband conference in penrith and sat on the stage with Ed Vaizey, and the solutions to the problems were formulated. videos online if anyone wants to look.http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=66740934C2C2696A&sort_field=original&page=1
btw, timico is one of the top 100 companies according to http://www.fasttrack.co.uk/fasttrack/leagues/dbDetails.asp?siteID=3&compID=2167&yr=2010
Posted by rdavies6 over 6 years ago
I don't think the RFC that covers IP over avian carriers is that well known - but those who are interested can check out RFC1149 http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc1149.txt
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"the pigeon went to the rural broadband conference in penrith and sat on the stage with Ed Vaizey..."

Must be Mr Ed Vaguelys new wireless solution for 2015.
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
Woah the solutions to the problems were formulated there and then CD?

I must've missed the press releases, but if it's all already formulated it must be all done. So how much are the rest of us expected to subsidise these enterprises?

Still Timico are happy to complain but not so ready to invest themselves which, given they are in the top 100 companies you'd have thought they'd be quite prepared to do.

I guess they are happy to use other people's infrastructure, which they obviously do well. Stranger still is that they are an enterprise provider.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 6 years ago
haha dixie, watch the vids and you can hear it yourself. BT want 10 million to fibre up penrith and reckon they can get 80% on nga meaning fibre to the cabinet i guess. Commendium want the same to get folk on via the electric wires. The grassroots lot want legislation so they won't need as much public money. The groundswell was that if digital village pumps were provided that many communities would dig their own or wifi. Lots of plans. who knows what will happen. watch the vids and see if you can guess? I can't.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"haha dixie, watch the vids and you can hear it yourself. BT want 10 million to fibre up penrith and reckon they can get 80% on nga meaning fibre to the cabinet i guess."

Yep typical of the dirtbags still sniffing around for money out of the public purse.
Posted by kijoma over 6 years ago
heh, the pigeon would of had an interesting race against our "rural broadband" with 4Mbps upload speed it would of taken 10 minutes for 300MB :D
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
Or as little as 4 minutes on FTTC with 10Mbps upstream - I wonder if the pigeon would still be visible from the take off point after 4 minutes?
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
cd - who pays for the 'village pumps'?
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
BT have long said they would go to 90% FTTC coverage with the appropriate financial incentives, nothing new there.

The question remains about who pays for the village pumps.

CB - yes they want public money to do it. They're a business not a charity, they have a fiduciary duty to not throw money into empty pits. A lot of fibre deployments elsewhere have been with public funds, those telcos are all 'dirtbags' as well I guess.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
^^^ So they aint investing like what their new adverts claim? But its public money they want to invest? Now theres a shocker BT lying again!
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
BT are investing, I see new green cabinets...
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
Anyone planning overhead fibre should read this...

Why run fiber underground instead of on telephone poles? Because it gets shot less often. That’s one takeaway from a talk by Google network engineering manager Vijay Gill at last week’s AusNOG conference in Sydney. Gill said that Google is digging trenches for underground fiber deployment to its data center in The Dalles, Oregon after repeated incidents in which hunters shot up the company’s aerial fiber cables.

http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2010/09/21/google-our-fiber-gets-shot-down/
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
Details here:

http://harpers.org/media/slideshow/annot/2008-03/index.html

And overhead cables???
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"BT are investing, I see new green cabinets..."

Which part of BT would that be? Which cabinets did they pay for in Iwade?
Oh opps thats Openreach investing and they didnt pay for the cabinets in Iwade. You must be looking at other cabinets. Are you also sure they are Openreach cabinets? Public money hmmm so again i say they aint investing as much as they like to make out eh!
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
What about a certain area in wales....... hmmm didnt even want to invest in ADSL there for some people did they, wanted to make them wait 5 years and charge them £100 each didnt they? Hmm must be talking about a different BT to the one i know.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
Wanted £550,000 from villagers to do FTTC, hmm so what were they "investing" in that area? Apart from their normal over estimating of costs.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
They seem to want to be a private rich company and a charity case at the same time. Mind you most charities dont ask for pity, but BT are pretty pitiful, i guess they got confused with words again.
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
Yes, they are Openreach cabinets and we all know the published roll out list.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"Yes, they are Openreach cabinets and we all know the published roll out list."

Really where is this IMAGINARY published rollout list of "cabinets"???..... I thought that "list" was based on exchanges and nothing to do with every area connected to those exchanges getting FTTC. If that were true Iwade who use the Sittingbourne exchange wouldnt be paying for their own "cabinets" would they?
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
I meant we know the exchanges that BT is investing in and that it is not every cabinet.

So, significant investment from BT, more than anyone else.
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
Well I'm quite sure there's no public money being used to do FTTC in this area or virtually any of the other cabinets being enabled at this time, very few instances, so I guess the investment is coming from somewhere.

It's not the investment I would wish for but it's better than nothing.

No-one anywhere in the world simply installs expensive infrastructure without either commercial returns, subsidies, or other commercial reasons for doing so.
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
Also I thought it'd already been noted that the 550k mentioned was not for FTTC in the village in Wales, that was the most expensive of a number of solutions provided by BT.

BT are being 'private rich' and a 'charity case'. Where there is a commercial return they are investing privately, where there is no return they quite rightly expect subsidy to make it viable.

The charity case is the areas that are being enabled, the charity is tax payer's money, BT are the enabler of that charity not the recipient.
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