This has Friday Story written all over it. A few Israeli geeks set up a test to compare the speed of delivering data via pigeon (PEI – Pigeon Enabled Internet, as they’ve labelled it) compared with ADSL.
They’re building on Wi-Fly research carried out in Bergen, Norway a few years ago, when paper was used as the data medium. The latest version uses memory cards, 20-22 distributed over three pigeons, enabling much more data to be carried.
In total, 4Gb of data was transferred over 100Km – which, as they point out, is far superior to WiFi. Despite one of the pigeons being delayed, initially appearing to get lost on his journey (packet loss as they refer to it), they achieved a transfer rate of 2.27 Mbps, exceeding the commercially available ADSL rates in Israel of 0.75 – 1.5 Mbps.
As you know, the A in ADSL stands for Asynchronous, so the transferred rates listed equate to the speed that information is received. Upload rates are significantly lower. By their calculations, uploading 4Gb of data on ADSL would take around 96 hours – making the pigeon transfer significantly more efficient, equivalent to a T1 connection at 1.5Mbps.
As they point out, the pigeon gives pretty high latency (it takes quite a while for the first bit of data to arrive), but once it arrives, all of the 4Gb is delivered at once.
I’d often thought how price efficient the postal transfer of DVD’s was. 4.7Gb transferred overnight for around 50 pence – try buying bandwidth at that rate.
Chat around the office lead us to wonder what the next in the endless list of variation on creatures being used to transfer information would be. Nicolas Nova has provided the answer – Snail power.
Credit for images: Gil Pry-dvash, Gilad Reshef, Shai Vardi and Ami Ben Bassat