Friday, June 5, 2009

The world's fastest data network is ...

This information week article on how Amazon Web Services suggests using snail mail as an initial upload to their S3 service reminded me of this NY Times article from 2002. Both spell out a reality that FedEx, UPS, and the USPS transfer more data than all Internet providers combined. When you take into consideration the massive number of DVDs netflix sends out to people's houses with next day delivery the bandwidth of your local mail carrier is staggering even when pitted against your home broadband.

Since the 2002 article, Netflix has offered more and more content on their watch it instantly section. Recently, netflix moved to using Microsoft's silverlight compression to stream full DVD quality to your computer. So, does this mean that Internet is winning the bandwidth race? Not by a longshot. Although the quality of video has improved, the data transfer rate has remained the same. Today's desktop computers have the ability to uncompress at amazing speeds and new compression technologies are taking advantage of that.

Those people in shorts being chased by neighborhood dogs are still speedy data carriers with low packet loss I might add. So the next time you need to send four or more gigs of data somewhere, please consider a padded mailing envelope to be your best protocol.

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