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The Internet

Net Speed Record Smashed 395

BrianWCarver writes "The BBC is reporting that scientists have set a new internet speed record by transferring 6.7 gigabytes of data (the equivalent of 4 hours of DVD-quality movies) across 10,978 kilometres (6,800 miles), from Sunnyvale in the US to Amsterdam in Holland, in less than one minute. Average speed: more than 923 megabits per second, or more than 3,500 times faster than a typical home broadband connection. The data was sent across the Internet2 network. Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (Slac) Computer Services participated in the record-breaking event. Slac has an interest in such high-speed transfers as they have accumulated the largest known database in the world, which grows at one terabyte per day."
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Net Speed Record Smashed

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  • by PaulGrimshaw ( 605950 ) <mail@paulgrCOWimshaw.com minus herbivore> on Thursday March 06, 2003 @08:08PM (#5454139) Homepage
    So how many LOC's/hour is that?! ;)
    • and what is this "minute" they speak of?
      Why do we have to use these obscure units when we could have easily had LOC's/unit of Planck time or Animatrix DVD / fortnight ?
      • Why do we have to use these obscure units when

        Yea!! My car gets 40 Rods to the HoggsHead and that's the way I likes it!

        *grin*

        • Historically speaking, in England, the hogshead was anywhere between 52 gallons (beer gallons) and 64 gallons (wine gallons.) In the US, a hogshead was anywhere from 100 gallons to 140 gallons.
          However, now it seems that the hogshead has now been standardized to 62.99 (63) gallons. (and thank God, I was tired of doing all the conversions at the grocery store. "Lets see...1 English hogshead...is....uh....damnit.") A rod is 16.5 feet.
          I don't even know if battleships have fuel economy which is THAT bad.

          However, Simpsons quote appreciated. Just something to chew on.

          Doc

    • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @08:14PM (#5454214)
      I believe that's a whole olympic sized swimming pool full.

      KFG
      • No no no, it's two football fields worth...
  • warez :) (Score:2, Funny)

    by revmoo ( 652952 )
    Warez monkey's everywhere rejoice!

  • First Post (Score:5, Funny)

    by benna ( 614220 ) <mimenarrator@g m a i l .com> on Thursday March 06, 2003 @08:08PM (#5454143) Journal
    If I have anything to do with it my broadband will NOT be 3500 times slower.....I'm moving to amsterdam!
  • by Ponderoid ( 311576 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @08:09PM (#5454148)
    I'd like to know what media they used that could write that much information in 1 minute.
    • I was wondering the same thing, my guess is they just sent data and didn't actually store it. And recorded only the speed of what they were transferring.
    • by elflet ( 570757 ) <elflet.nextquestion@net> on Thursday March 06, 2003 @08:24PM (#5454314)
      For the purposes of the contest [internet2.edu], they're not required to write to any media:
      In computing the amount of data transferred, only data transferred from user-process-space buffer(s) in the data-source network application to user-process-space buffer(s) in the data-sink network application may be counted.
    • by 1984 ( 56406 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @08:27PM (#5454341)
      It's a lot of data, and it's a fast network. But it's manageable as local I/O.

      In special effects work each frame is handled as an uncompressed TIFF at high res (I can't remember the exact bit depth and res). Previewing sequences means streaming these TIFF images. Adds up to about 400MB/s sustained (that's byte, not bit). HD video at 720p has similar requirements -- don't forget, you musn't drop any frames, and it has to arrive on time.

      I work in such an effects shop, and we've had several demos of HD-capable digital disk recorders over the last few months. Two out of three were based on Linux, and worked well (the other was custom). Twin Ultra 320 channels with software RAID across the two channels, XFS as a filesystem. They each did the job with a 2U enclosure full of largely stock components (except the video I/O board) -- and that's 3.2GBit/s I/O to the drive array.
      • I can't remember the exact bit depth and res

        2048x1556, usually at 4 bytes per pixel. That might be packed as 12-bit RGB, or it might be float or log.

        Adds up to about 400MB/s sustained (that's byte, not bit).

        Your math is off. DPX's at 2K are only 12 MB per frame, and it's only 24 frames per second. That's 288 MB per second.

        HD video at 720p has similar requirements

        HD at 720p has requirements that are nowhere near those of 2K. A 720p stream at two bytes per pixel requires 110 MB/s, less than half that of 2K. Of course, it's not uncommon to do cross-fades and other real-time transitions in video production, so it's sometimes necessary to play back two streams simultaneously, for a total of 220 MB/s.
    • who wouldn't love 7 gigs of RAM disk goodness ;)
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 06, 2003 @08:51PM (#5454526)
      I back my hard drives up to /dev/null nightly. It only takes about 2.5 seconds.
    • Clustering (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Bios_Hakr ( 68586 )
      This is probably the first valid Beowulf post in about 2 years...

      If you have a master node acting as round-robbin server, you could have hundreds of machines behind it. Each of those, in turn, could be the master node of a large Beowulf cluster.

      Or just picture your ISP's core switch. It is transfering the data for thousands of users. That data is being read and written, just not by one computer...
  • LOC ? (Score:2, Funny)

    by charmer ( 205543 )
    But how many Libraries of Congress (LOCs) is that ? How can anyone quote GB without equivalent LOCs ?

    charmer
  • by Melchior_of_wg ( 633494 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @08:09PM (#5454152)
    You just got to love how all internet trafic of today is measured in movies. ;)
  • by idiotnot ( 302133 ) <sean@757.org> on Thursday March 06, 2003 @08:10PM (#5454158) Homepage Journal
    It doesn't mention in the article. I remember seeing a couple of times that some Debian stuff was sent for these types of experiements.

    But in the absence of real evidence, I prefer to make things up.

    They sent pr0n.
    • It doesn't mention in the article. I remember seeing a couple of times that some Debian stuff was sent for these types of experiements.

      But in the absence of real evidence, I prefer to make things up.

      They sent pr0n.


      Obviously, it was SLACware.
  • oops (Score:5, Funny)

    by new death barbie ( 240326 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @08:10PM (#5454162)
    the equivalent of 4 hours of DVD-quality movies


    ahh, it actually was 4 hours of DVD-quality movies...

    • Pfff, I'm only going to be impressed when its 4 hours of quality DVD movies.

      I know its just a trial but are there any predictions/guesses out there of how this type of network will cope with more than one user?
    • Re:oops (Score:3, Funny)

      by MMaestro ( 585010 )
      Doesn't this mean they violated the RIAA's laws of distributing videos over the internet without their permission?
  • great (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stanley Feinbaum ( 622232 ) <mister_feinbaum2002.hotmail@com> on Thursday March 06, 2003 @08:10PM (#5454163) Journal
    The best part is since internet2 is a private network, no mainstream users are going to benefit from it's incredible speed. Hooray!
    • Re:great (Score:2, Insightful)

      by robi2106 ( 464558 )
      Well, if by mainstream you mean people that aren't doing academic research, or students at www2 connected universities . . . then yes. But that is a crap load of people connected through that connection.

      Greanted when I was on my University's www2 connection and getting sweet low pings (90ms) to other students on their university www2 connection I wasn't academic use . . . but it was cool!

      robi
    • Re:great (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 06, 2003 @08:29PM (#5454355)
      actually there are over 200 universities and labs [internet2.edu] that use internet2. so if you don't count those several million people, then you are right.
    • Uhh (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mindstrm ( 20013 )
      The internet itself is a bunch of private networks all hooked together. Internet2 is no different.

      Yeah, okay, you can't go out and buy dialup on it.. but that's not what The Internet was started as either.
  • Internet2? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gordyf ( 23004 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @08:11PM (#5454174)
    They transferred all this data over Internet2 and the writeup says "...set a new internet speed record ...". Isn't that cheating?

    That's like saying "Our new car can go 6000 mph! (on a conveyer belt moving at 5950 mph).
    • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @08:19PM (#5454263)
      Hell, my car goes faster than that just sitting in the garage. I know, I timed it, from Apollo 11.

      KFG
  • by radpole ( 39181 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @08:12PM (#5454192)
    Tommorrows headline on slashdot?

    If they are using that much bandwidth they must be pirating something.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 06, 2003 @08:32PM (#5454383)
      If they are using that much bandwidth they must be pirating something.

      With the aid of special math developed by the RIAA, the MPAA, and the BSA, they will prove that their respective markets are losing 3,500 times more now than they were just last week!

  • It's a race... (Score:5, Informative)

    by elflet ( 570757 ) <elflet.nextquestion@net> on Thursday March 06, 2003 @08:13PM (#5454198)
    What the article doesn't mention (and it's a virtual clone of SLAC's press release) is this is part of the Internet2 Land Speed Record [internet2.edu] competition. SLAC (working with a few others) holds both the previous record and the new one.
  • Now spam expands to fill your pipe.
  • Well, I guess the're not running experiments every day. Otherwise, when will they find the time / cpu power needed to parse all of this ? Are we goingg to see a SLAC-athon@HOME any time soon ?
  • If SLAC is generating a terabyte of information a day, 900+ bits/second isn't nearly fast enough to transfer it.

    (Yes, I know that only parts of that data are likely to be useful enough to transfer, but it does suggest that there is still quite a ways to go in the quest for bandwidth.)

    -Ed
    • Obviously you meant 900+ megabits per second; but you're wrong.

      900 megabits per second is 77.76 terabits per day, or 9.72 terabytes per day -- almost ten times the volume of data SLAC is generating.
    • Re:Not fast enough (Score:3, Interesting)

      by haedesch ( 247543 )
      1 tb is 1024 * 1024 * 8 megabits (8388608 MB)
      8388608 MB / 923 MB/s = 9088 s
      9088 s = 2.53 h
      Seems fast enough, or am I missing something?
    • 1 TB at 923 Mb/sec is 144 minutes of transfer, or almost 2 and a half hours. Still far longer than I would want to be uploading data at this rate for. But, it will be cool to download a RH ISO in 5.5 seconds (if only my hard drive could keep up!)
  • by bergeron76 ( 176351 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @08:14PM (#5454211)
    Where is this record held? What record is it? Guiness?

    Mmmm, Guiness...

  • It seems that the new Internet2 backbone will go into full-scale operation at about the same time everybody converts to IPv6. Hell, we'll all have Fast Ethernet to the curb by then.
  • by $$$$$exyGal ( 638164 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @08:15PM (#5454224) Homepage Journal
    A quote in regards to why Slac is interested in the speed of moving information:

    During its research, Slac has accumulated the largest known database in the world, which grows at one terabyte per day.

    Wow! I hope they never allow that information to be downloaded on the Internet. If they do, then Google will quickly become the largest database in the world ;-).

  • SLAC (Score:5, Informative)

    by FosterSJC ( 466265 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @08:16PM (#5454243)
    For those wondering what the hell SLAC is, it stands for the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center [stanford.edu].

    Apparently, the SLAC library (SPIRES) [stanford.edu] stores pretty much every particle physics experiment data and write-up ever.

    Here is the pretty picture and their about page. [stanford.edu]
    • Re:SLAC (Score:3, Funny)

      by kfg ( 145172 )
      Really? Man, that's pretty cool. I'll have to go look up the experiment I performed one evening in the dining hall on the ballistic properties of Jell-O cubes.

      The lighting fixures were made out of 2x8's with florescent tubes between them and faced on the underside with pebbled plastic, but open on the top.

      I got some rather interesting data on particle scattering *and* created a nice "stained glass" effect, all at the same time.

      I thought I could gather some interesting data ( and a more interesting "stained glass effect) on the entropic properties of the Jell-O cubes as they melted, but they didn't, they just sorta "mummified."

      I stopped eating the "Jell-O" cubes after that.

      KFG
    • Doh! And all this time I thought it was SLAC K [slackware.org].

  • "(the equivalent of 4 hours of DVD-quality movies)"

    I thought these guys were supposed to be using it for "legitimate research," not sharing their ripped dvd collections.

    You know, I really wouldn't mind if they gave me internet2 access too, you know. /. made me into a karma whore.
  • by colonel ( 4464 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @08:20PM (#5454281) Homepage
    I've said that no transmission method of bandwidth will ever exceed, in my lifetime, the bandwidth of a station wagon full of backup tapes.

    "A simple calculation will make this point clear. An industry standard 8mm video tape (e.g. Exabyte) can hold 7 Gigabytes. a box 50x50x50 cm can hold about 1000 of these tapes, for a total apacity of 7000 Gigabytes. A box of tapes can be delivered anywhere in the US in 24 hours by Federal Express and other companies. The ffective bandwidth of this transmission is 56,000 gigabits/86400 sec or 648 Gbps, which is 1000 times better than the high-speed version of ATM (622 Mbps). If the destination if only an hour away by road, the bandwidth is increased to over 15Gbps."
    -- A. Tanenbaum, "Computer Networks, Third Edition"
  • Surely isn't it the other way around? ;)
  • Sending from a places called Sunnyvale how could you not? Hell it could well have been Sunnydale going on past /. editorial proof reading excellence.
  • 256,000 spam emails (or DMCA violation notices, if you prefer)
    160,000 banner ads
    85333 pages serves of Are You Hot or Not [hotornot.com]
    3,200 copies of Gator [gator.com]
    1,066 2 minute average quality porn clips
    10 pirated copies of Windows XP home edition

    I can't wait for Internet2!
  • So assuming that, ahem, the growth is linear (it won't be) and has been keeping at it for there years (probably more), that's 1.1 _____bytes! so, erm, when do we expect the database to achieve consiousness again?

    And, dosn't the gigabit speed seems kinda trivial, compared to the massive amounts of data stored there?

    Heck how do they manage corrupt bits? the chance of random bits failing here and there is just too high to ignore, no?
    • 1.1 ____ bytes = 1.1*(2^50) = 1238489897526886 bytes

      Today's record was about 59.5 seconds for 6.7GB, so rounding off to 6.7GB/min: 7194070221 bytes / minute (roughly)

      that would take 172154.27 minutes to get everything out on this fat pipe

      equating to about 119.55 days, or roughly 4 monthes. That's keeping at the maximum record set today all day everyday for that duration.

      Ouch...
  • by mojotooth ( 53330 ) <mojotooth@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday March 06, 2003 @08:34PM (#5454402) Journal
    I'm still looking for evidence that we're decreasing the typical latency to get important info (like the fact that I just shot my sniper rifle at some counter-terrorist) across the globe.

    Imagine, international internet gaming with low latencies all 'round. Sounds like a pipe dream.
    • Imagine, international internet gaming with low latencies all 'round. Sounds like a pipe dream.

      Unfortunately, it is. The two farthest points around earth are 12,000 miles. Round trip means 24,000 miles. Speed of light is 186,000 miles / second. That means that, best theoretical case, round trip is 129 milliseconds. Of course, you'll never get close to the best theoretical case, particularly with wire, never mind routers, etc.

      In the immortal words of John Carmack, "The Speed of Light Sucks".

      • In my words "Entanglement rocks"

        if entanglement propagates at the speed of light, then you don't need to consider surface distance, but the true shortest distance (if this takes in to account space curvature, then who knows), but if it propagates instantaneously, forget the speed of light!

        Who knows if entanglement can ever be used for permanent data transmission links, but I don't think that possibility has been discounted yet.
  • Average speed: more than 923 megabits per second, or more than 3,500 times faster than a typical home broadband connection.

    That'd be pretty sucky broadband, if you ask me. 262kb? I mean, it's better than dial-up certainly, but...

    Not to brag, but I typically get better than 2.4Mb, if I'm downloading from a good site. That makes it only 385 times faster than me. :)

  • ...what's the latency/ping times like on Internet2?
  • I'm more interested in the database, has anyone been able to dig up more information about this thing?

    I know they use Objectivity/DB:

    http://www.objectivity.com/

    But I would like to find out what kind of hardware they employ.

  • by Anonvmous Coward ( 589068 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @08:43PM (#5454469)
    6.7 gigs? Ah! Now we know where that Longhorn beta was leaked.

  • When BBC says it, the world goes woot!

    When Wired says it almost a month ago, no one says boo.

    Or is this a duplicate and I missed it last time around.

    Either way, WOOT!

    Yo Grark
    Canadian Bred with American Buttering

  • by ausoleil ( 322752 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @08:59PM (#5454577) Homepage
    In a joint press conference, Hilary Rosen and Jack Valenti have announced that the MPAA and the RIAA will sue the designers and contructors of Internet2 for creating a network so fast that it will certainly create havoc in the movie and music industries.

    "You can copy all of the Godfather movies in milliseconds!" Valenti shouted, slamming his fist upon the podium. "We're going to take THIS to the mattresses! To the MATTRESSES!"

    Rosen added, somewhat more sedately, that the a user could log into an Internet2 account and download the "greatest hits library of Hansen" in less than five minutes. Rosen refused to comment when a reporter asked her how Internet2 was any different, that similar acts of piracy could be accomplished today using only a dialup modem.
  • by seanadams.com ( 463190 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @09:00PM (#5454581) Homepage
    I'm wondering if they did this using TCP, and if so, how the test was set up.

    Eg is this the peak rate that it was able to sustain for a one minute period once the transfer was already running, or did it take one minute from start to finish. It's an important distinction with TCP because slow start needs several round trips in order to open the window large enough to get max througput over such a high speed, long distance link.

    Also how on earth did they handle packet loss? Getting the max throughput out of a high-latency link with just a single TCP connection is not easy.
  • Given that speed = distance / time, and the speed of light is finite, just increase the distance.

    Calling Soviet Russia...
  • The RIAA has been granted an injunction, banning this new piracy threat. "The potential for theft is enormous!", grunted one member, before returning it's snout to the trough...
  • by jonbnews ( 581166 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @09:08PM (#5454647)
    Canada's CA*NET3 network can transmit the Library of Congress (LOC) in one second. It takes Internet2 a minute to do that. And the Canadian network has been deployed and operational for several years.

    Article here: http://chronicle.com/free/v45/i47/47a02101.htm [chronicle.com].

  • I don't know what I'm going to do after I leave college. No more Internet 2?!?! I'm going to actually have to wait to download linux iso files? And VNC and X forwarding will be slow? Man, I should stay and get my masters.
  • by sharkey ( 16670 )
    transferring 6.7 gigabytes of data (the equivalent of 4 hours of DVD-quality movies) across 10,978 kilometres (6,800 miles), from Sunnyvale in the US to Amsterdam in Holland, in less than one minute.

    That means you could transfer an entire Kevin Costner film in under 30 minutes!

  • by nedron ( 5294 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @10:07PM (#5455067) Homepage
    Why do people constantly talk about n-DVD-hours worth of data? Particularly since they are generally referring to DVD-Video, not DVD data.

    Comparing the transfer capacity to some number of hours of DVD video material is pointless, since the bitrate is not the same from one title to the next.

    For example, 6.7 gigabytes of data is actually only 6.23 gibibytes. A video stream would have to be encoded at around 3.5 mebibits/second to fit four hours of material in 6.23GiB. I wouldn't call that a quality video stream. And that's WITHOUT an audio sub-stream! You're not far away from Super VCD world at this bit rate.

    Now, using a more reasonable average bitrate of, say, at least 4.5 mebibits would mean that the 6.23 gibibytes of data would only hold about 3 hours of "DVD-Video quality material".

    Which brings us back to my point. Using DVD Video as a measure of data capacity is pointless, since there is no single data rate used for DVD Video.
  • by WndrBr3d ( 219963 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @10:18PM (#5455131) Homepage Journal
    "Slac has an interest in such high-speed transfers as they have accumulated the largest known database in the world, which grows at one terabyte per day."

    Read: GET ACCESS TO OVER 53,000,000,000,000 EMAIL ADDRESSES! ONLY $99 A MONTH!
  • by captaineo ( 87164 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @10:55PM (#5455390)
    A sack full of 27 200GB hard disks (or 1200 DVD-Rs) sent on a twelve-hour flight would also equal the claimed 1 Gbit/sec transmission rate... A couple cargo pallets of hard disks would blow it away :).

    The ping time would be about 43200000ms though :(
  • TeraGrid Backplane (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kst ( 168867 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @10:58PM (#5455425)
    For comparison, the TeraGrid [teragrid.org] backplane [teragrid.org], running between hubs in Los Angeles and Chicago, is supposed to have a capacity of 40 Gb/s. No speed records yet; they're just sending the first test packets.

    That's about 3000 kilometers. Assuming lightspeed transmission, there could theoretically be something like 40 or 50 megabytes of data at a time in transit.
  • by Quixadhal ( 45024 ) on Friday March 07, 2003 @10:10AM (#5458037) Homepage Journal
    ...how's the ping time? Being on a semi-congested cable modem (with roommates who don't play online games, but do download), I seldom care about bandwidth... I'm usually griping about the 100 to 1000ms ping times that keep my awesome FPS skills in check.

    In other words, when do we get the quantuum packet transfer? :)

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