Beta Brain - Sneakernets And Winston, The Pigeon

By Paula February 11, 2013 English No comments yet


Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurdling down the highway. If you’re looking to transfer hundreds of gigabytes of data, it’s still – weirdly – faster to ship hard drives via FedEx than it is to transfer the files over the Internet. Welcome to the amazing world of Sneakernets – the transfer of electronic information by physically moving removable media.
 
Cisco estimates that total Internet traffic currently averages 167 terabits per second. FedEx has a fleet of 654 aircrafts with a lift capacity of 26.5 million pounds daily. A solid-state laptop drive weighs about 78 grams and can hold up to a terabyte. That means FedEx is capable of transferring 150 Exabytes of data per day, or 14 petabytes per second—almost a hundred times the current throughput of the Internet. Obviously, at the peril of latency. But when you are the one paying your bandwidth’s monthly charges, no matter how much you pay, it is never enough.
 
So what can you do? Ship tons and tons of USB drives and tapes to your clients? Of course, there might be some warranted scenarios were this makes sense. Like the SETI@home project which uses a sneakernet to overcome the bandwidth limitations generated by the high amount of data recorded by the radio telescope in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Terabytes are stored on magnetic tapes, which are then shipped to Berkeley, California for processing. But what if your needs are more immediate and your data requirements more modest? Enter the world of WAN optimization. By using esoteric technologies like Wide Area File Services, HTTP Proxy, web caching, forward error correction, compression, deduplication, bandwidth management and protocol optimization, Beta Brain’s network architects can effectively allow remote users to access and share files at LAN speed over the Internet. And all of these without having to increase bandwidth at any location and, hence, not having to increase those monthly bills.
 
You may take our word or try for yourself and see the difference Beta Brain can do in your company. Otherwise you can just go back and use the state-of-the-art IPoAC (IP over Avian Carriers) network: On September 9, 2009, The Unlimited, a regional company in South Africa, decided to host a bandwidth race between their pet pigeon “Winston” and the local telecom company Telkom SA. The race was to send 4 gigabytes of data from Howick to Hillcrest, approximately 60 km apart. The pigeon carrying a microSD card, versus a Telkom ADSL line. Winston beat the data transfer over Telkom’s ADSL line, with a total time of two hours, six minutes and 57 seconds from uploading data on the microSD card to completion of download from card. At the time of Winston’s victory, the ADSL transfer was just under 4% complete.

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