Pigeon Race

David Waitzman published a Request for Comments (RFC) 1149, titled “A Standard for the Transmission of IP Datagrams on Avian Carriers”. In his RFC, he introduced what he terms an “experimental method for the encapsulation of IP datagrams in avian carriers”. Essentially what Waitzman is talking about in his paper is the use of homing pigeons as a way to transfer data from one point to another. He expanded on his theory on the 1st April 1999, with the publication of RFC 2549, a Standard for the Transmission of IP Datagrams on Avian Carriers, with Quality of Service information.

The rules of the competition were simple:

  1. No Cats allowed
  2. The same amount of data will be sent on the landline and via the pigeon, on a SD card ( 4 gigabytes)
  3. The race is from Howick to Hillcrest
  4. The Pigeon flies from Howick to Gillits, and then will be transported via car to the finish site ( where the landline data will arrive)
  5. The day will be announced closer to the time
  6. Birdseed must not have any performance enhancing seeds within.
  7. Data is not to be compressed.

Guess what? The verdict is in – and the pigeon won! Seriously, the South African ISP – Telkom, has been shown the bird – quite literally. Seems like they often race pigeons in South Africa. I reckon that it gives their pigeons an advantage over ours. They would probably have race breeds.

I wonder how our main broadband provider – Telekom – would stack up against a trained pigeon in terms of speed and cost.

Published by

Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered/Professional Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

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