[LINK] pigeon bandwidth again (was Re: Australian internet fails pigeon test

Kim Holburn kim at holburn.net
Fri Sep 16 21:28:31 AEST 2011

Sorry to bring up this strange story from the past but I have been thinking about this for a while.  What do you really need to actually make a carrier pigeon flight like that?

It sounds easy - a carrier pigeon with a USB stick can transfer data faster than the internet.


But it's not exactly as simple as that.

We forget now because it's been a while since people have had a significant communications system based on carrier pigeons.

Lets go through what you need for a carrier pigeon system:  

1. Each place that wants to receive pigeon messages has to have at least one pigeon home with lots of pigeons.

2. The pigeons have to be trained. This can take some time - months, years per pigeon.

3. For a pigeon to fly to its home, it can't live away from it for too long, so there must be constant transport of pigeons to lots of different places and lots of flying home for the pigeons.  

So there you have it, to get one pigeon to fly one journey with one USB stick you need living, training, transport.  To do any of this repeatedly this would be an expensive unreliable system costing far more than an internet style connection.

You can't compare a one off exercise with a system.

On 2009/Oct/29, at 9:13 AM, Bernard Robertson-Dunn wrote:

> Australian internet fails pigeon test
> By Ben Grubb
> Oct 29, 2009 2:57 AM
> itNews
> http://www.itnews.com.au/News/159232,australian-internet-fails-pigeon-test.aspx
> A pigeon has transferred 700MB at a faster rate than Telstra ADSL.
> A pigeon has transferred a 700 megabyte file faster than a car or a 
> Telstra ADSL internet connection in rural Australia.

Kim Holburn
IT Network & Security Consultant
T: +61 2 61402408  M: +61 404072753
mailto:kim at holburn.net  aim://kimholburn
skype://kholburn - PGP Public Key on request 

Sent from my steam driven difference engine

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