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FedEx still way faster than Internet

In this day and age, we all thought that the best and fastest way to send digital information/data is thru the Internet. Snail mail is a thing of the past since we have emails. Print photos have been replaced by Flickr/Picasa. Newspapers have been substituted by blogs and news sites.

Still the internet has its speed limits and FedEx is still way faster with bulk transfers — say moving 120 Terabytes (TB).

Google’s initiative to transfer all the Hubble space telescope data is a good case study. The Hubble data takes up 120 terabyte (120,000,000,000,000 byte). How does Google transfer it? Not over the internet. Instead they send actual physical disk arrays via regular mail, something they have dubbed, for fun, FedExNet. This allows them to get the data within 24 hours.


To transfer the same amount over the internet in 24 hours, Google would have to be able to achieve transfer rates of more than 11 gigabit/s running constantly maxed out. On a regular 100 megabit connection, transferring 120 terabyte of data would take almost four months (111 days).

Sneakernet is a term used to describe the transfer of electronic information, especially computer files, by physically carrying removable media such as magnetic tape, floppy disks, compact discs, USB flash drives or external drives from one computer to another. Sneaker refers to the shoes of the person carrying the media. This is usually in lieu of transferring the information over a computer network.

Now that makes FedEx more than a hundred times faster than the Internet. :D

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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4 Responses

  1. Miguel says:

    “Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon loaded with tapes barrelling down the highway at 70mph.” Do the math!

  2. ia says:

    I first read about this in the book Computer Networks by Tanenbaum. (Proof 1, Proof 2)

    He’s so witty that he made our Networking subject bearable, if not enjoyable to learn.

  3. Miguel says:

    Ah yes, Tanenbaum, creator of Minix. Which inspired Linux. Which helped lead us to today’s Internet!

  4. mARC NOBLE says:

    As of December 28, 2009 our Vice President located in Japan shipped a package of calendar to Nihon Houzai Philippines. The following sample calendar shall be used for distribution to out client. The packaged has been shipped under tracking number 7931 3549 9732.

    Then on December 29, 2009, after our verification to Mr.Marlo Radano the Import Customer Sevice of FedEx Philippines confirmed that the packaged has arrived here in Philippines. On our conversation Mr. Radano asked us if we have import permit we said we are not allowed to get the IP because it was not indicated on our LOA and the packaged that has been sent was a personal property of our Vice President. To end our conversation we agreed to pay the duties and taxes so they could release the packaged before our Vice President arrived here in Philippines on January 4, 2010.

    On January 4, 2010 our Vice President already arrived in Philippines unfortunately the packaged was not yet released. From January 4, 2010 until now we follow-up from time to time but then again we did not get a confirmed feedback regarding our packaged. And we also look for Mr.Radano, but there is always an excuse not to talk with us. We try to informed with their customer service if possible to get back on us regarding our packaged but disappointingly we did not received any feedback.

    From January 4, 2010 until now we did not received the packaged. We spend our time everyday to follow-up and call FedEx about the status of our packaged.

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