Quick teaching topic: communication speed This three slide presentation uses two communication timing examples – round trip time for an Internet packet from Los Angeles to southern Chile and the time it takes to see and pick up a pen. (Which do you think is greater)? I use it to introduce Ping, define a millisecond and emphasize the dramatic speed of Internet communication and our knowledge of the brain and nervous system. I intend it to generate interest in subsequent modules on data communication rate. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.
Where does this topic fit? • Internet concepts • Applications • Technology • Implications • Internet skills • Application development • Content creation • User skills
Communication speed -- which takes longer? • Sending an Internet packet from Los Angles to Punta Arenas, Chile and back • Seeing a pen and picking it up • Estimate the time you think each of these would take.
The time to see and pick up a pen Excerpt (1m 56s) from a Radiolab program on Speed
Ping time: Los Angeles to Punta Arenas, Chile The average packet round trip is 259 milliseconds – what is a millisecond? What do the Internet routers and neurons in your brain have in common?
Putting it another way If Internet links were as slow as nerve signals, a round trip from LA to Punta Arenas would take over 59 hours. 10,693 kilometers
Self-study questions • A millisecond is 1/1000 of a second – how long is a nanosecond? A microsecond? • The distance between Los Angeles and Punta Arenas is 6,644 miles. • How long would it take an airplane flying 500 miles per hour to make the round trip? • What is the speed in miles per hour of an Internet packet traveling between Los Angeles and Punta Arenas? • Were you surprised by the level of knowledge of brain speed and function or the neuroscientist being interviewed? • Were you surprised by the speed of the Internet?
Resources Radiolab Radiolab speed episode Picking up a pen (excerpt)