back to article BT feathers ruffled over pigeon-based file transfer caper

BT is peeved at an experiment appearing to demonstrate that a carrier pigeon is faster and more efficient than its broadband service. The experiment, supervised by BBC Lincolnshire and carried out by weary internet user Michelle Brumfield, proved embarrassing to the telcom in much the same way as last year's South African …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    re: SURFIN' BIRD


    1. KCM
      IT Angle

      Bird => Word

      BT: Check it again!

    2. Anonymous Coward

      * while doing the monkey *


      1. MrT

        "Office Space"

        Loved the homage in that episode to "Office Space" (scene where Brian and Stewie smash the record) - sometimes there's a lot of empathy there where BT's concerned...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    has the added benefit of....

    ...not being "packet shaped". Though lost packets from falcons must be bothersome

    1. Loyal Commenter

      I'd imagine you might also get a few dropped packets...

      ...if you don't tie it on properly.

      Not to mention the odd 'man in the middle' attack from farmers with shotguns.

      1. Jinxter

        RE: I'd imagine you might also get a few dropped packets...

        "Not to mention the odd 'man in the middle' attack from farmers with shotguns."

        Technically that would be a denial of service attack.

    2. Anton Ivanov

      There is an RFC for that

      RFC1149 and if we take traffic shaping into account RFC2549.

  3. Cunningly Linguistic

    Towns vs Country?

    I live in inner city Manchester yet still can only get a peak rate of 2.7 up, 850 down (with Demon's 8Mb Business account) whilst simultaneously BT are repeatedly 'offering' their "Infinity" 20Mb service to me (at a premium of course). I'd be happy just to get the 8Mb I'm paying for. Harumph.

    1. TheItCat


      You're not paying for 8Mb you're paying for "the best connection I can get using standard ASDL".

      Even worse, they've offered you the incredible experience of FTTC and you're moaning it's too expensive. If you won't pay for quality then don't moan when you get crap!

      1. Cunningly Linguistic
        Thumb Down

        You try getting...

        ...a static IP, no port 25 hijacking etc etc so that I can continue to run my own web and mail servers with BT Infinity. Also with Demon, no traffic shaping, a decent monthly allowance (200Gb)

        I use Demon because of the freedom it allows me. Demon aren't limiting my speed, BT are. As for buying crap, my exchange is ADSL 2 enabled yet I can still only get an average of 2.2Mbs, I'm paying Demon who in turn pay BT Wholesale more than I'd have to pay with BT Infinity.

        1. TheItCat

          Static IP, etc?

          Not BT Infinity (who in their right mind would use BT as their ISP) but I do get a static IP, no port hijacking and wonderful 35Mbps/10Mbps speeds on my FTTC service from Plusnet.

          Instead of whining on the internet you could be contacting Plusnet, aaisp ( or any of the other providers that can take FTTC connections and seeing what they have to offer?

        2. Rasczak

          You try looking

          The BT Business Infinity package has static IP, no port hijack, run your own servers, 300 GB FUP. Other ISPs can resell BT's FTTC service as well, (do Demon, if not ask them why not), so others may have what you want if you don't want BT as the ISP.

  4. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Isn't that just one of the benefits of urban living?

    Let's face it there aren't that many (except possibly the emergency services arriving while there's still something to put out, or a pulse that can be revived). The thing that makes the countryside so desirable is the LACK of other people. Where your next-door neighbour isn't forced to earwig your phone conversations and you can't hear their digestive problems every time their toilet flushes. The difference between high density living and low density living means that services are always going to be cheaper to provide for those living cheek-by-jowl than they are for those where the only sound is a goat farting, half a mile away.

    Depending on who made what choices, is it reasonable for townies to have to subsidise country folk for the high cost of providing them with fast internet connectivity? If they made a conscious decision to move to the country to "get away from it all". Those who live in rural areas are already used to the lack of things such as public transport, nearby banks and shops. They accept that prices will be higher and choice lower when all you have is a village shop - compared with an ASDA just down the road. Basically: yer makes yer bed .....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Piss off you tosspot

      Country dwellers pay the same or more, and get crapper services. Why is that right? We also subsidise city dwellers - army, police, NHS. Why shouldn't people in the country have the same services as others in the country?

      Many people living in the country have no choice- they are unable to move because of house prices/rents. At least city dwellers can do it the other way round, and this in turn means city people with loads of cash buying up country houses, forcing the prices up, making it even more expensive for those in the country to survive.

      So, in summary, up yours.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge

        You what?

        >Country dwellers pay the same or more, and get crapper services. Why is that right?

        Because it's so damn' expensive to get the services to you. We can't afford to pay the extra to get you up to our standard.

        > We also subsidise city dwellers - army, police, NHS.

        No you don't. Get a dictionary and find out what 'subsidise' means. You can't subsidise us until your financial output exceeds ours. That will never happen. Every village in the country is effectively running 'at a loss' to the nation as a whole.

        >Why shouldn't people in the country have the same services as others in the country?

        As above - because it's so bloody expensive to get them to you. The whole frackin' point of humanity inventing urbanisation thousands of years ago is because it makes providing services and distributing goods so much easier. We do what we can to help you but unfortunately the cost difference means we have to compromise. We put up with paying a little extra on our taxes for you and in exchange we expect you to accept slightly worse services than us.

        What are you going to post next - a rant about the lack of multi-screen cinema and the difficulty in getting a taxi in your village?

        Welcome to the real world.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Quite aware what subsidise means thank you., and we have no problems with taxis. And if I want to see a film, I drive 25 miles to the nearest screen. No problem. My choice. I dont get to see many films however, since I have children. So I've sex at least three time as well.

          My council tax in rural Cambs is the same (actually I think its more) than in Cambridge city. Yet I have crap roads, and fairly dismal services. A higher proportion of my council tax goes to support city living than goes to support country living. So, what's that about subsidise again? It's even arguable that the roads in the country need to be better maintained that those in city areas because that how the food get to the cities.

          I tell you what, let's let the roads fall apart, the food processing factories fail though lack of comms, all the farm workers move to the city. I'll be OK, but those in the cities will starve.

          We live in a country where everyone pays the same sort of taxes. Why shouldn't people get similar services, wherever they are, where those services could be regarded as essential to living, as internet access seems to have become.

          (To be honest I get a decent 8MB ish connection in my very rural location, so I have no issues with net connection. Just townies who have no idea about how countries work, and seem to think that cities should have everything)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Speaking as a confirmed city dweller...

          AndrueC - with all due respect... You're a retard!

          Societies and economies exist in balance and that includes people living in rural, industrial, urban areas etc. If everyone moves to the city the economy would be even more unstable and dependence on externally sourced products and services would significantly decrease national wealth and living standards.

          And let's face it, folk of limited intelligence and insight like you would be among the first to starve!

          1. The Indomitable Gall

            Speaking as a confirmed city dweller...

            "Societies and economies exist in balance and that includes people living in rural, industrial, urban areas etc. If everyone moves to the city the economy would be even more unstable and dependence on externally sourced products and services would significantly decrease national wealth and living standards."

            That's exactly his point.

            So who was the stupid one again?

        3. Arclight


          so you keep your superfast internet connection, we'll keep all the food, and they we'll see who's running at a loss.

    2. Da Weezil

      Get a Grip you muppet... no not on *That*

      You have a completely unrealistic view of rural living. The English village green it isn't! Actually I'm on a 9000 line exchange. My area has 2 refineries, a new build power station 2 LNG terminals all supporting the urban greed for fuel and power, and 2 ferry terminals. There is also a DWP call center full of fairly lowly paid workers dealing with benefit claims from many urban areas of England. Yes all of this and not a single LLU exchange in the county. The wonderful supermarkets you espouse stock limited ranges just enough to have effectively killed our high streets so for a decent shopping trip we have to travel 60 or so miles. All of the costs and disadvantages and none of the benefits

      And yet the only bandwidth available in our 20cn county had its price artificially hiked by 23% a couple of years ago... remind me.. who is subsidising who? BT rip us off because they can and we have no alternative to 20cn BTw services, and no sign of 21cn as they keep withdrawing dates - probably to finance the FTTC roll out. I suggest you get your hand out of your boxers and instead get a firm grip on reality. I have to laugh when I see the hype about IP TV and film downloads - not with our low data caps - brought to you by a greedy BTw in conjunction with the tame regulator OFCOM.

  5. Marcus Aurelius


    <<a spokesman told the Reg: "The claim that a third of homes can't get broadband is very wide of the mark. Hopefully the pigeon will be more accurate.>>

    Pigeons and spokesmen have a lot in common, namely that they're likely to spout loads of crap all over you.

  6. Orjan


    This, of course, is a variant implementation of the RFC1149 standard.

    1. richard 7


      I was hoping to get that in, d'oh!

  7. Anonymous Custard

    As my old sys-hack used to say...

    Never underestimate the transfer rate of a car with a boot-full of hard drives.

    Nice to see a more rural and environmentally friendly variation on the theme.

    Tux - well it's as close as you can get to a pigeon :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      A practical demonstration that broadband has both bandwidth and latency. And should not just be sold on the one.

      I'm pretty sure even rural broadband has a better latency than a carrier pigeon, even if the pigeon does have a higher bandwidth.

      They wouldn't be particularly happy if the 300meg file took 5 mins to upload either, if every single thing from a ping to a terabyte also took 5 mins to get anywhere!

      1. jake Silver badge

        "Stationwagon full of magtape"

        Rather than re-write it:

  8. Tegne

    Flawed argument

    As most Broadband speeds are measured on download speed and not upload I would have like to have seen whether she'd have been able to watch the video on Youtube faster than the pigeon could deliver it to her.

    1. Daniel Wilkie


      Upload speed is more relevant to business users as is the case here...

      To be fair, when I was in the consultancy game, I remember trying to download a CD Image in the Welsh Valleys from our office file server (100MB Fibre at our office, ADSL at theirs) and the burned CD one of the engineers kindly citylinked to me arrived before it had downloaded (though admittedly the connection dropped 3 times)

  9. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Connectivity [in rural Yorkshire] is no different from in the African bush.

    At least in the African bush you can set up your own (wireless) network without problems with legacy systems and companies like BT et all.

  10. The Jase


    "He added: "Connectivity [in rural Yorkshire] is no different from in the African bush.""

    Howick to Hillcrest was Winston's flight.

    Howick is somewhat rural, but its not the bush.

  11. Ol'Peculier

    Kingston Comms

    TO be honest, they are doing well: bearing in mind the pigeon flew straight over KCom's heartland where internet access (at least when I was working down there) is atrocious.

  12. Anonymous Coward


    ...did the test conform to rfc2549?

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Pigeons are faster!

    If we assume the broadband line is working optimally and allowed an upload rate of 256 kilobits per second, then a quick bit of maths:

    Upload speed * seconds in 90 minutes / 8 bits-per-byte =~ 177 megabytes.

    So for any file larger than this it would always be faster to send by pigeon.

    ** Mine's the one with bird seed in the pockets.

  14. Daniel Wilkie

    Just to add

    It's not rural that's strictly the issue. I go to Norway a lot with work, our office there is 3 hours by boat from the nearest city (or indeed town with more than 2000 people) and yet connectivity both at the office, and at any of the hotels in the village is always rock solid and usually weighs in at about 8.7 down/512 up (or 100 down/up at the office) - the hotels are usually ADSL as well so it only seems to be this country that struggles.

  15. TeeCee Gold badge

    Gag update time.

    "What's the average bandwidth of a pigeon?"

    "What do you mean? A Rock or Wood pigeon?"

    "What? I don't know that.......AAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!"

    1. Chad H.

      Could it perhaps work better as:

      What is the average throughput of an non-traffic managed swallow? (What do you mean an African or European swallow?)

  16. Anonymous Coward


    Still look on the bright side BT won't be needing be packet shaping that connection...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A version of the old quote...

    Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway. -

    Andrew S. Tannenbaum

  18. jake Silver badge

    During the meanwhile ...

    With probably 99% of all useful 'net content being good old 7-bit ASCII text, who can read faster than 19.2K/sec? Even today, I still connect over dial-up from my property in rural Mendocino county about 20% of the time ... sometimes at speeds as low as 2400 bps (fog and aging, cracked, dusty cable plant makes for bad signal/noise ratio). The low speed doesn't seem to affect my "internet experience" much ... And that's barely 200 miles by road from Silly Con Valley!

    Mine's the one with the Telebit Trailblazer in one pocket & Kermit code in the other ...

  19. Squirrel

    Proportional cost

    It'd be nice if they just accepted that the 30 year old cabling sucks and you only pay for the Kbps that you can actually achieve. £5 + % speed achieved (0-8Mbps = £0 to £10).

    OFCOM sucks and is completely powerless. It has no interest in making ISPs deliver or enforce correct advertising.

    1. Parax

      you could try sending a cheque with:

      upto £15 written on the wording line and £3.50 in the number box.

      see how they like that.

  20. LinkOfHyrule

    Quick sign me up!

    Where do I sign up for "unlimited down-pigeons!?"

    1. F111F

      Trafalgar Square...

      where you have all the pigeon-based downloads you can possibly stand...

      1. LinkOfHyrule

        I can't though

        Ken Livingstone "had the lines un-installed!" These days, the "download" speed is pretty low! Not many "packets" landing there these days compared to when I was a nipper!

  21. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    You get what you (or us) pay for

    There are plenty of places where there's no water or sewer mains, no mains electricity or gas supply, no phone lines and no broadband cable. You get such things when they are paid for or when considered a 'basic human need' and society as a whole foots the bill. And that applies to level and quality of service.

    If a supplier isn't giving what they promised or what they could give in return for a fair price charged then that's one thing but "I haven't got" is entirely another. It's a simple fact that some places are better served with lower costs due to population density and existing infrastructure.

    I don't appear to have a garden shed full of diamonds; I'll be contacting De Beers immediately as this is intolerable.

  22. Simon B

    love it!!

    PMSL, love it love it love it!! That's how u get your point across, a real piss take :D

  23. Anonymous Coward


    head office is in San Bruno, CA. Dunno where their servers are. Need a long distance pigeon for that, or maybe upgrade to a long distance bird like an arctic tern

    I like the idea of being charged for the speed you are actually getting (@squirrel) - campaign anyone?

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Not a fair comparison

    After all the broadband transfer was using TCP while the pigeon was only UDP.

    1. James Dore

      Re: Not a fair comparison

      If the recipient rang the sender to say "yeah, pigeon's here", that sounds like TCP to me....

      1. Anonymous Coward

        RE: Re: Not a fair comparison

        Surely the reply would have to be by pigeon as well - using the phone is cheating!

  25. Peter Mount

    Been done before

    This was done in South Africa a few years ago for exactly the same reasons - and the Pidgeon won that time as well.

    As for the RFC (IP over Avian carriers) that was done by some Norwegians a few years ago as well - the only difference was they didn't use duct tape (which everyone agreed was over the top). These two instances used flash instead of paper but then it's the right size - I think the RFC needs a third update to allow flash.

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Been done before

      I'm glad you pointed that out or I would never have thought to include a link to our story on it at the end of the first paragraph a couple of hours before you mentioned it.

      Oh yes, it is Friday and I've had a Crunchie and you had all better watch yourselves.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge

        The sarcasm is strong in this one

        ..and there's no need to get in a flap about it.

        Does the ISP throttle the pigeon if it flies too much? If so you're probably better sticking to off-beak usage :)

  26. Lionel Baden


    Well if it really is much faster and easier i suggest she try turning off her broadband and starts relying on pidgeons !!!

    most of time people ping off the odd email which is fine, yes its annoying that her lunch break is spent waiting for youtube videos to download that somebody posted to her facebook wall.

    One of our clients wanted faster internet where they were, so entered a deal with BT to have fibre installed and they paid for it everybody benifited. I suggest she go speak with her neighbours.

    In business how often do you need to be uploading video files ???

    for you who say some have high bandwidth requirements

    If you are a media (maybe a hosting) company i would not sugest opening a office in the middle of nowhere.

    Same way i would not suggest a petrol station opening where there are no roads.

  27. Jason K
    Big Brother

    The real story ...

    Is did Kent manage to shoot down the pigeon, sell the contents of the message to carefully selected third parties and replace the pigeon with a similar appearance before resending it to its original destination?

  28. davenewman

    RFC1149 done for real in Bergen

    "11 years ago, April 1st 1990, rfc 1149 was written. This rfc specifies a protocol for IP over avian carriers, CPIP (carrier pigeon internet protocol). In 11 years, noone has bothered to implement this important protocol stack. But happily, we don't need to wait any longer! BLUG in cooperation with Vesta Brevdueforening has given you rfc 1149 support for Linux." 0 (with pictures)

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Given a big enough card, I'd think the pigeon would always win

    As the joke goes, "the latency's big but the bandwidth is enormous".

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    My internet provider (Virgin) claims to give me a 10Mb connection. Recent tests have clocked it at 12Mb and at 15Mb. I'm keeping very quiet and not mentioning this to them, just in case.

    Wasn't there an article on El Reg recently saying that BT users could expect to get 44% of the advertised speeds...? Ha ha ha

    Remind me never to switch back to BT. Last time I used them they cut me off by accident (after two days), offered me 3 weeks free internet when it was reconnected (a week later), disconnected me again after another week and then gave me 6 months free broadband once it was connected again. Then they sent me a bill for £0.00 and when I didn't pay it, they disconnected me... Once I was reconnected, I'd had 5 months of "service" from them and about 5 weeks of actual connection :(

    When I moved house I decided that I'd had enough of their nonsense!

    Paris - 'cos even she knows that moving away from BT is a no-brainer.

    1. Lionel Baden

      yeah ill keep my mouth shut

      Because as the end of the month i will be enjoying 40 down and 10 up !!

      and the fact that Virgin Users are the Biggest bitchers in our teamspeak, Major traffic shaping in evenings and Pings Suck really badly, Where most B users will have a ping of 40 - 60 in the UK most virgin users have a ping of 90 in the UK.

      Enjoy your So much percieved Better internet.

      I will keep smirking due to all of BT's faults they are the best of the worse

  31. Richard Porter

    re. Not a Fair Comparison

    Uploading to YouTube and then downloading again is two transfers, like sending the card by pidgeon to a loft a long way away, removing the payload, putting it in a pidgeon hole (not a literal one) and then when requested, attaching it to a new pidgeon and dispatching it to the recipient. FTP direct from the sender's computer to the recipient's would have been a much better test.

  32. Richard Porter


    "At least in the African bush you can set up your own (wireless) network without problems with legacy systems and companies like BT et all."

    You just need drums.

  33. Rob

    Reg Standards

    I would like to submit a proposal to the Reg Standards Board for replacing bandwidth measurement for something with Pigeons.

    1. rsm1979
      Thumb Up

      Pigeons per minute - the new bandwidth measurement

      10 P/M - 10 pigeons per minute.

      Of course, you'd need to know how much capacity the pigeons have, so I propose using a format where you multiply the capacity by number of pigeons: 10 x 512MB = 5GB/min or 85MB/sec which is faster than a lot of hard disks.

      1. Rob


        We'll need to find out how many SD cards we can strap to a pidgeon as it could be taking multiple packets for multiple users, at the end of the day the pidgeon route will effectively be a backbone/trunk so after a certain amount of pidgeons has been reached do we then upgrade to an eagle or similiar or would an eagle be more along the lines of packet inspection/dropped packets.

  34. David Webb


    And once the data is delivered, you can eat the pigeon, so it's data+food, pigeon pizza anyone?

  35. Leigh Brown

    Great bandwidth, shame about the latency

    Onling gaming wouldn't be so good using IP over avian.

    Then again, it's pretty poor on Virgin.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The interesting thing about this is that it focuses soley on upstream speeds. Now I happen to live in rural Yorkshire and while my downstream speed is pitiful when compared with my urban living friends my upstream speed is exactly the same as theirs. So the problem with this "demonstration" is that it doesn't tell us how long it would take the file to get there from an urban location in Yorkshire does it?

    In general it's downstream speeds that are the issue for those of us living in the sticks. I didn't mind too much a year or so ago, what I find annoying is that BT and other ISPs are spending money upgrading exchanges and giving even faster speeds to urban dwellers. Not so bad in itself until you remember that they promised to improve rural broadband and then decided to do urban broadband instead.

    There's a simple solution to this - ISPs should only be allowed to charge pro rata for the speed delivered to the customer premises. Not the feeble discount they give for really, really slow speeds, but actuall charge so much per megabit/s. And I'm talking real world Mb/s here with contention taken into account, not the raw downstream speed from exchange to premises. So if they charge, say £12.99 pcm for 20Mb/s then it should be 69p pcm for 1Mb/s. Bet they'd pull their fingers out then. I also believe that ISP should be forced to charge all their customers at the same rate - they should not be allowed to charge customers more based on the exchange they connect to. After all Tesco charge the same for a Mars bar regardless of which of their stores you buy it from.

    And as for uploading the video file to youtube, you'd be better of demonstrating that many urban dwellers can't even watch video on youtube.

    So all in all this is like one of those silly races they have on top gear. Yes it's entertaining to show us that a bob sleigh is faster than a rally car, or a homing pigeon is better than sat nav but it's carefully staged and doesn't tell us anything about the real world. We know that the data would reach, say, Madrid before the pigeon did so we know they had to pick a short enough distance for the bird to win. Just like we know they already knew the bobsleigh was going to win, because that's always the outcome of their human versus car races. And it was all very clever to show us a homing pigeon could get back to it's loft quciker than a Ford Ka with sat nav, but what would have happened if you'd asked that self same pigeon to find it's way to an address in Newcastle?

  37. Chris Holt

    The pigeon did go through an analysis coop

    ...having been caught in theavian Phorm trial, so the sender received adverts about bird seed and avian flu jabs for ever....

  38. Alex 0.1


    I'm quite amazed that with all the constant talk of no/feeble net connectivity people always seem to forget that satellite connections exist.

    The setup cost for a satellite connection is pretty high (£250-£500 ish on average) but after that the monthly fee is no more than a reasonably good quality ADSL service, and to be honest as these complaints always center around "business needs" (assuming that isnt just fluff to provide a more legit reason than "I want to watch iplayer!") a £250-£500 one-off expense for something these people state as being essential for their businesses shouldn't really be breaking the bank.

    I used a satellite connection myself 5-6 years ago when the best I could get at home was ISDN, the connection was downstream only (meaning traffic had to go out via ISDN then in via satellite) but that kind of service is long-dead now, current satellite connections are all two-way and from various providers offer in the 2-4mbit range for downstream and 256-768kbit up, and thats the speed you actually get - No "up to" nonsense.

    Sure, its an expense people in the countryside can semi-legitimately argue they shouldn't have to bear, but the option is there.

    1. Brian Allan

      Not as fast as you think...

      I currently use satellite (Hughes, Xplornet) in Canada and their service is not better than BT! I've never attained anywhere near their advertised (and paid for) upload or download rates... AND they're twice as expense as fast cable in the city.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Had the same thing in Australia...

    In Australia - we have a rotten monopoly company called Telstra..... and everything about it sucks.

    So the crew of a "comedy show" got a carrier pigeon, a guy in a car and a file transfer to send the same file over about 120Km...... and of course Telstra sucked.

  40. JonW

    Rural living

    Yes, I live in the country.

    Yes, my ADSL connection was an unstable 256Kb at best.

    Yes, I now use a 3G dongle with a planar antenna and a transparent caching proxy.

    Yes, my speed is still pants.

    Yes, I decided to live here.

    No, I'm not going to move.

    It's not a "Basic human right" (whatever tf that means). When BT was GPO, you had due cause to bitch. Now? Welcome to capitalism.

  41. Brian Allan

    The same applies in the colonies (Canada)

    Xplornet satellite in Canada, at least Alberta, is not much better. They have never attained their advertised rate and they charge a fortune for their "preferred" service. Downloads are not bad; however, just try uploading anything greater than a 5MB file and feel the hurt... almost impossible to maintain a connection that long!!

  42. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Trafalgar Square

    The new London IP hub.

  43. Chris Martin 2

    It took Longer than that...

    Surely they should have included the time it took the truck to drive the pigeon(s) down to where the data was attached to the pigeon before it was sent back to its home with the data.

  44. Richard 45


    A few months ago Jon Honeyball wrote in PC Pro about on-train Wifi, and its unreliability due to lack of 3G/GPRS coverage on the routes. He said that IBM had been trialling an on-train cache of popular parts of the internet which would get updated when it was within reach of a fast and reliable wifi or 3G signal, such as at a station. He said that they had gone one further and had looked into ejecting disk caddies containing outgoing information (emails and so on) which would be dropped off at stations, and presumably disks brought on board, containing incoming emails and whatever else. It got me thinking about using pigeons to do this on the move, though getting a pigeon to land safely on a 100mph train while carrying an SD card or two strapped to it could be an issue. Packet (and pigeon) loss is a potential problem, as is latency.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Never underestimate the bandwidth of a pigeon loaded with microSDs...


    32GB (current maximum) microSD = 30.77 GiB, * 17 = 500GB.

    weight of one microSD is something like 0.5 grams, so 17 of them would weigh about the same as a pendrive.

    assuming you have the appropriate hardware to copy the data off all cards simultaneously the transfer speed blows away everything but a T1 line.

    Slight problem, these cards do not like heat or impact with hard surfaces so plan accordingly (use of gel shock absorber would be advised, estimate another 4g or so and maybe include one card with MFT backup and the CRC's for all files in case of damage in transit.

    AC, because loading half a terabyte of data onto a pigeon probably breaks some law or other...

  46. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Uploads are slow on broadband

    Surely downloading not uploading would be a fairer test?

    ADSL is a service which prioritises download vs upload. If you want to upload then you should be on SDSL.

  47. adfh

    Also done in Australia

    A TV show in Australia, "Hungry Beast" ran a comparison of broadband services in rural areas by testing net vs car vs carrier pigeon..

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