I saw this interesting stunt mentioned on several news sites: Pigeon transfers data faster than South Africa’s Telkom. According to the article a South African information technology company Unlimited IT proved that it was faster for them to transmit data with a carrier pigeon than to send it using Telkom , the country’s leading internet service provider poor Internet service. 11-month-old pigeon, Winston, took one hour and eight minutes to fly the 80 km (50 miles) with a 4GB data card strapped to his leg. Whole data transfer took around two hours. Only a small part of the same data was able to be transferred during same time using a Telkom line.
Actually a trained pigeon with a large enough capacity USB stick stuck to it will be faster than the Internet connection available in many countries. It scales great too, just add more pigeons. It’s a pipe. The problem is the latency sucks. The post office has almost unlimited bandwidth, but terrible latency. If you want to send few blue rays’ worth of data, put then to the post. Traditional transfer methods that mode physical storage media can be efficient when large amounts of data is transported. Never underestimate the bandwidth of a jet airplane packed full of magnetic data tapes, hard disks or DVDs. Where latency is not a factor, flying physical storage media rules. In all other cases however we need a good fiber connection.
Even in today’s world there are lost of improvement to be made on telecommunications. Sometimes service is poor and sometimes the service works but the pricing is just not right. I remember the time in the early 1990′s when it was cheaper to save data to disk and transport it to other office with Taxi (offices in same city) than to use the X.400 E-mail service provided by the leading telecom company at that time. With pricing model like this it was no wonder why complicated and expensive X.400 services lost the business quite quickly to simpler and almost free internet e-mail system.