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TCP/IP over Bongo Drums 215

Posted by michael
from the smoke-signals-is-the-next-step dept.
Michael500 writes "In an attempt to show that primitive communications can still function in modern networks, a friend of mine took up a challenge from his professor to replace the lowest layer of the OSI networking model with a set of bongo drums!"
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TCP/IP over Bongo Drums

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  • by civilengineer (669209) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @02:56PM (#7073574) Homepage Journal
    link [dilbert.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 27, 2003 @02:57PM (#7073579)
    It's called a drum circle.
  • by backlonthethird (470424) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @02:58PM (#7073587)
    it's already slashdotted.
  • Text of Home Page (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sir Haxalot (693401) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @02:59PM (#7073590)
    All I could get I'm afraid...

    At Algoma University the mature students in the fast track accelerated second degree program are not quick to accept theory without proof. As a result, Professor George Townsend offered extra credit to anyone in his forth year Computer Networks course who could take up the challenge of implementing internet based protocols over a new form of medium - Bongo Drums.

    Eight weeks later, the first public demonstration was given to the class by using a simple ping packet. With a blinding 2bps speed, the class sat patiently as the packet was received in roughly 140 seconds.

    Whats the point you may ask? We aren't trying to set any speed records here (actually, we have been developing some ideas for "highspeed" bongos), but rather we're showing that the lower layers of the OSI model can be replaced with any form of media without affecting the layers above it.

    Look at those bongos fly! - classmate

    Due to a busy semester and a Microcoded M6800 Emulator project, work on the final phase of the project has slowed. The design plans for the actual bongo hook up have been completed, and now only a few more hours are required for total completion. The demonstrations that have been conducted have used synthesized bongo beats played through desktop speakers. Due to summer work, time has ran out and the final implementation will have to wait until september.
    • by MrLint (519792) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:52PM (#7073912) Journal
      Now i can finally achieve my greatest work! A carrier pigeon to bongo drum router!
    • TCP/IP over pigeons (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I dont see why this is so special since we had TCP/IP over pigeons already.

      It was covered by /. two years ago.

      http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=01/04/30/0555 21 8&mode=nocomment

      Prior art eh?
    • the mature students in the fast track accelerated second degree program ... implementing internet based protocols over a new form of medium - Bongo Drums.

      As an employer, I'd rather hire the the students from the slow track that bought a $5 nic at Fry's.
      • ...and that would work fine, as long as you didn't have to entrust your employees with any sort of creativity. Understanding the potential and limitations of the technology you're working with is essential in extending or applying it in innovative ways.

        So basically, while most technology work is indeed better done with the use of pre-existing tools, the most important and ground-breaking work requires a little more flexibility and experimentation than that.
  • a copy of his slashdotted site to the rest of us.
  • a new slashdotting record.
  • Hmmm... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Tyrdium (670229) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @02:59PM (#7073596) Homepage
    Their net connection must be using TCP/IP over bongo drums; it's already slashdotted. :P
    • Their net connection must be using TCP/IP over bongo drums; it's already slashdotted. :P

      I think their network needs some load balancing using separate networks. Here are my suggestions:

      With open hands:
      gently slap top of head
      gently slap cheeks
      gently slap chest between neck and breast
      gently slap hollow-sounding stomach
      gently slap thighs/hips
      gently slap just above each elbow, with crossed arms
      clap flat hands, cupped hands touching like fingers, cupped hands crossing them
      rub hands together: up and down, si
  • Alas... the death tune is being played now.

    Yes, the server is slashdotted. /insert verious jokes about running their server on bongo drums if you wish...

    To me, the death of another little server is just sad.

    Davak
  • Do you think he still think so once he realize what you did to his server by posting this on slashdot?

  • Well if he can achieve that then I'm gonna work doubly hard on Sex Over IP [kungfunix.net]
  • One bug (Score:5, Funny)

    by matzim (468452) <mdz4c@virgi[ ].edu ['nia' in gap]> on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:01PM (#7073612) Homepage
    One improvised drum solo and you take down the whole LAN...
  • by billstewart (78916) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:01PM (#7073613) Journal
    is a Token Ringo....
  • by arcanumas (646807) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:01PM (#7073614) Homepage
    I bet that would make a fine fortune cookie. "Linux, the ability to communicate even with bongo drums"
  • by wowbagger (69688) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:02PM (#7073617) Homepage Journal
    OK, but what is the RFC for this physical layer?

    Is anybody working on a bridge between TCP over bongos and TCP over avian carriers?

    Which has the greater bandwidth?
  • /dev/drum (Score:2, Funny)

    by uid8472 (146099)
    This adds a whole new dimension to that old joke about /dev/drum [netfunny.com]....
  • At Algoma University the mature students in the fast track accelerated second degree program are not quick to accept theory without proof. As a result, Professor George Townsend offered extra credit to anyone in his forth year Computer Networks course who could take up the challenge of implementing internet based protocols over a new form of medium - Bongo Drums. Eight weeks later, the first public demonstration was given to the class by using a simple ping packet. With a blinding 2bps speed, the class sa
  • by Exiler (589908) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:03PM (#7073624)
    Can you imagine drumming your way through a slashdotting?
  • Bongo (Score:5, Funny)

    by CGP314 (672613) <.ten.remlaPyrogerGniloC. .ta. .PGC.> on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:03PM (#7073625) Homepage
    First thing that came into my mind: Richard Feynman [miami.edu]
  • Jungle WiFi (Score:2, Funny)

    by brendan_orr (648182)
    Heh, well at least we can expect the Massai not to send spam. Oh gosh... ...can you imagine someone getting DDoS'ed?
  • by Max Romantschuk (132276) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:04PM (#7073637) Homepage
    With two drums one could do binary transmission quite easily. When adding time-based stuff even more complex patterns could be achieved.

    From the article: Whats the point you may ask? We aren't trying to set any speed records here (actually, we have been developing some ideas for "highspeed" bongos), but rather we're showing that the lower layers of the OSI model can be replaced with any form of media without affecting the layers above it.

    Now I wonder... when will someone actually do TCP/IP over smoke signals?

    Apart from obvious decoding and wind issues, it should work just as well!
  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:04PM (#7073638)


    One suspects that the bong played a bigger role in this project than the drums did.

  • From the Background section:

    During a lecture about the layers of the OSI model in our fourth year Computer Networks Course, Prof. Townsend was discussing the fact that the lower layers of the model could be replaced with any form of media. Despite this change, the upper layers would function as normal. In fact, others have implemented network protocols over "non-standard" media, including CPIP (carrier pigeon internet protocol) which was implemented using RFC1149, and reached speeds of 0.08bps. Prof. Tow
  • nice (Score:5, Funny)

    by graveyhead (210996) <fletch AT fletchtronics DOT net> on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:08PM (#7073667)
    This will go great with my "file sharing over trumpets" project. Together they could be called "Samba"

    [ducks]

  • Seems pretty pointless. Might as well chisel yer data on rocks, call them packets, and throw them at each other. You'll have the same bandwidth. And lessons that cause pain stand out in your mind...Of course, the same effect might be achieved if he's a bad enough bongo player.

  • Mirror of Site (Score:3, Informative)

    by schnarff (557058) <alex@sch[ ]ff.com ['nar' in gap]> on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:08PM (#7073672) Homepage Journal
    I went ahead and put up a mirror [kirknet.net] of this poor Slashdotted site. I'm not sure if I've got it all but it looks nicer than just the text people have posted. Hopefully my machine's up to the task. :-)
  • Modern and Centuries Old Technologies Meet at AUC

    Daniel Reid, senior computer science student at Algoma University finished explaining his project to a room full of his peers. The room fell silent as everyone waited in eager anticipation of the demonstration that was about to begin. Danny sat down in front of an ordinary windows computer and typed a simple command, ping www.sony.co.jp This command sends a test message to the specified computer, namely a webserver on the other side of the planet in Japan.

    A
  • IT's college . You know.
  • Does it rain? Snow.. What kind of cerimonial dance does a misplaced letter make. ;)
  • by OverlordQ (264228) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:11PM (#7073693) Journal
    The following non-technical story has appeared in school magazines and many other news sources from around the world.

    Modern and Centuries Old Technologies Meet at AUC

    Daniel Reid, senior computer science student at Algoma University finished explaining his project to a room full of his peers. The room fell silent as everyone waited in eager anticipation of the demonstration that was about to begin. Danny sat down in front of an ordinary windows computer and typed a simple command, ping www.sony.co.jp This command sends a test message to the specified computer, namely a webserver on the other side of the planet in Japan.

    Ah yes the humble ping test, used to test for connectivity between your computer and another. But this was no ordinary test. It would couple together one of the most primitive centuries old technologies known to man together with the one of the fastest fiber-optic backbones in the Internet.

    It all began several months earlier when Professor George Townsend was lecturing to a group of computer science students taking his fourth year Computer Networks course. The topic of the day was the OSI networking model, which describes a layered method of combining different types of technologies together to form functional networking systems. During the lecture, Professor Townsend made the claim that the design of the model permits different types of technologies to be transparently connected together. He suddenly stopped in mid lecture, and stared off into space stroking his beard thoughtfully. After a short moment of silent thought, he suggested to the class, that in theory, this should permit us to use any technology we like to connect a computer to the Internet without compromising its ability to participate in the Internet. Furthermore, he exclaimed, his voice rising in excitement, we could use a set of bongo drums to communicate as our technology of choice!

    This was a dangerous claim to make at Algoma University where a unique blend of students exist as a result of the very successful Second Degree Accelerated programs it offers in Computer Science and Information Technology. These fast-track programs allow completion of an accredited university degree for people that already have a university degree in another discipline in only one calendar year. The program attracts many mature students who often bring a great deal of real world experience with them. So, of course, it was not surprising that there were many who doubted professor Townsend's words. We demand proof, they shouted!

    The next morning, Professor Townsend sent out a challenge to the students in the course offering bonus marks to the first student to volunteer to attempt to connect a standard windows PC to the internet using a system of bongo drums. Danny eagerly took up the challenge. Now, several weeks later, under the guidance and direction of Professor Townsend, Danny had a working prototype.

    After typing the ping command, Danny tapped smartly on the enter key, and a hush fell upon the room as the students waited to see what would happen. There was a short pause, and then suddenly the primitive sounds of a message being beaten out on a set of bongos filled the air. Several minutes passed, and yet the class remained quiet not wanting to disturb the communication. Having passed through the bongo-link and out onto the Internet, the ping message then raced to its destination in Japan.

    Sony's web server in Japan was none the wiser concerning the source of the communication, and obediently responded to the ping request. The silence was broken by another set of bongos at the opposite side of the classroom as they began relaying their response back to Danny's computer. Several more minutes passed, and the class remained attentive, spellbound by what they were witnessing. Finally, the bongos stopped, and suddenly the successful ping response appeared on the screen of Dannys computer.

    The classroom filled with cheers! History had been made! For the very first time, a computer had successfully communicated over the Internet using Bongo drums!
    • Phase I (Score:3, Informative)

      by OverlordQ (264228)
      Bridging Ethernet

      The first step in the Bongo Link was to get most of the socket programming out of the way. To make things as transparent as possible, a bridge was determined to be the best way to implement the Bongo Link. For starters, two network cards were thrown in two Linux boxes for testing purposes, with a patch cable from the wall to the first Linux box, and cross cables between the others. Without having addressable boxes, data taken in from one network card was to be spit out through the other,
    • The Serial and Audio Cable

      In order to simulate a Bongo Link, a cross-over 9-pin serial cable was constructed to connect the two linux boxes together. This was used for testing, as there was a concern for buffer overruns and packet dumping with such slow speeds between the two Linux boxes. A network card was ripped out of each Linux box, and the serial cable was placed inbetween instead of the crossover cable.

      Even easier to harness the network card, are the serial ports. Under Linux we're taught that files


    • During a lecture about the layers of the OSI model in our fourth year Computer Networks Course, Prof. Townsend was discussing the fact that the lower layers of the model could be replaced with any form of media. Despite this change, the upper layers would function as normal. In fact, others have implemented network protocols over "non-standard" media, including CPIP (carrier pigeon internet protocol) which was implemented using RFC1149, and reached speeds of 0.08bps. Prof. Townsend jokingly suggested tha


    • This development phase implements synthesized bongo beats that are played out through speakers, and microphones that 'listen' for the data being sent by the other computers. Each computer has two different bongo beats (based on pitch) associated with each, making a total of 4 distinct beats. Each computer listens for the other's beats, while ignoring itself. The actual output of the bongo beats is not a big deal, and only takes the following code to implement:

      for(i=0; i = 0; h--)
      {
      if((1ping -n 1 -
  • It looks like the Bongo's can't hold up the Slashdot effect :(
  • by eriko (35554) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:12PM (#7073701) Homepage
    ...does that make Neil Peart a webserver?

  • In other news, visitors to the Mountain View cemetery in Altadena, CA were startled when the grave of Richard P. Feynman began to bounce up and down.

    "I was walking through the cemetery, trying to figure out where those mountains had disapeared to in the Pasadena smog, when lo and behold I saw this grave just bouncing up and down," said witness Quin El Dorado.

    "Well we suspected some strange resonance effect was at work here," said groundskeeper Willie McScottie. "So we noted the dimensions of the grave an
  • All new protocols, from Carrier Pigeons onward, need to be documented in an RFC.

    This isn't as silly an idea os it might seem. IP over Morse Code, or even IP over smoke signals should also be considered.

    I propose the author compose an RFC for the entire class of lowest layer communication, as IP Over Primitive Carriers.

    I, in the mean time, will get busy on the IP Over Body-Language RFC.
  • The text for the Home, Overview, Background, and Phase I-IV pages is here. Home Page(There are a number of pages on the site)

    Dial-up has never looked so good! - classmate

    At Algoma University the mature students in the fast track accelerated second degree program are not quick to accept theory without proof. As a result, Professor George Townsend offered extra credit to anyone in his forth year Computer Networks course who could take up the challenge of implementing internet based protocols over a
  • by bangzilla (534214) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:18PM (#7073736) Journal
    I actually implemented TCP/IP using a morse code connection many years ago. The morse code was generated, transmitted, captured and decyphered automatically -- and it ran quite swifty (swiftly here being a *very* relative term). You could actually listen into the transmision with a loudspeaker -- it souded quite suprisingly different from a analog modem "squeal" just prior to connection. Must see if I can did out the design and implementation notes and sling them online. (Also considered TCP/IP over wet string using tin-cans as the Tx and Rx devices. Came up with some quite entertaining math -- but it never got past the "let's have another beer" stage.....)
  • These type of exercises and examples are always great. Especially for education on computers. It really help people understand what is happening underneath. Sometimes working with computers we tend to not think much as in the Binary but in what the programmers have already visualized. But this really helps the person to see the protocol in action and marvel on what is actually going on. Plus it is can be seen in real life. Giving a good foundation of what is happening. Plus it is just really cool.
  • by billstewart (78916) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:26PM (#7073779) Journal
    The article talks about the potential for increasing the speed of the system. One obvious way to do it is to upgrade from bongos to Irish bodhrans.


    Some time you _do_ need to hear Dierdre McCarthy playing Wipeout on bodhran....

  • by schnarff (557058) <alex@sch[ ]ff.com ['nar' in gap]> on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:28PM (#7073790) Homepage Journal
    For whatever reason, Slashdot stripped the trailing / on the link of a mirror I posted, so people aren't getting the site. Please try this link [kirknet.net] instead.

    PS, for whoever modded my other link as a Troll...I wasn't trying to be mean when I said the mirror looked better than posts of the text, I just meant it had the graphics too.
  • Who needs photos? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ErisCalmsme (212887)
    I want sound files! For this story, I think hearing is believing.

  • ping! (Score:5, Funny)

    by FrostedWheat (172733) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:36PM (#7073834)
    % ping 192.168.0.2

    ICMP Destination Unreachable: Host taking a rest.
    • pong (Score:3, Funny)

      actually, it's one of those cases where the 'pong' reply makes sense.
    • I've got a mirror [lerfjhax.com] being built from the site as it currently stands. That is, not just the main page, but the linked pages that give information.

      Connections to the server are too slow for most web browsers, but wget handles it just fine. :-)

  • Since the site will likely be /. soon, I found a Mirror here... [150m.com]

  • He must have obviously wanted to stress test it. Hit it a _little_ too hard.
  • bandwidth (Score:4, Funny)

    by pimpinmonk (238443) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @04:05PM (#7073986) Homepage
    Wouldn't you suppose that they would measure bandwidth by the type of music played? Like...

    Dude, my reggae connection is sooooo slow! I can't wait until the telco rolls out the grunge-death-metal next month!
  • by sharkey (16670)
    replace the lowest layer of the OSI networking model with a set of bongo drums!"

    Replacing the tortilla with wood, metal and hide? That HAS to be rough on the teeth, gums and digestive system.

  • their website's screaming speed.
  • The obvious choice to promote this standard, bongo boy himself:

    Matthew McConaughey! [saunalahti.fi]

  • by JRHelgeson (576325) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @06:17PM (#7074530) Homepage Journal
    I often teach computer classes where I talk about how flexible the TCP/IP protocol is. I would say that you could make TCP/IP run over smoke signals if you wanted.

    Looks like now I can use Bongo Drums and show them the article. This is great...

  • by MeanMF (631837) *
    Run TCP/IP over a cowbell and I'll be impressed.
    • Run TCP/IP over a cowbell and I'll be impressed.

      Not much different than this, actually. Just take a couple of cowbells with different tones and strap the same solenoids onto them. The pitch code would have to be rewritten, most likely, or adapted. Otherwise, the project would be identical.

    • Run TCP/IP over a cowbell and I'll be impressed.

      Who could forget this Saturday Night Live sketch? One of the best:

      Guess what? I got a fever! And the only prescription.. is more cowbell!

      Transcript [jt.org] | Windows Media Video Capture (4.3MB) [mknx.com]

  • What happens when drums stop?

    TCP/IP over bass fiddle.
  • Cool article. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mondoterrifico (317567) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @10:55PM (#7075498) Journal
    I graduated in the spring with Dan. I was in that class and the demonstration was pretty nifty( if somewhat lost on some of the less enthusiastic students). Dan is a smart kid and professor Townsend was one of the cooler more accesible profs in computer science. I talked with dan over a year ago about submitting this to Slashdot, so it's very cool to see.
    Kudos to Dan, and i imagine Tack was very unpleased with the sudden increase in traffic :) It is somehow gratifying to see your former school get Slashdotted.

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