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Sunday, May 27, 2007

FedEx Still Faster than the Internet

When you need to transfer very large amounts of data over the internet, sooner or later you will hit a limit where it will actually be faster to send that data on disks over regular mail (often called sneakernet). Internet transfer rates are simply not enough for large data sets.

Imagine a company with two offices in different cities, perhaps even in different countries. Each office has a 100 megabit internet connection. If the company needs to send a large amount of data from one office to the other, theoretically a 100 megabit connection can muster about 45 gigabyte in one hour if there are no bottlenecks on the way. This ends up being just over one terabyte of data in 24 hours.

In other words, for anything larger than one terabyte, it would be faster for this company to just send the data on disks for over-night delivery.

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