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RFC 1149 - Standard for the transmission of IP datagrams on avia

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Network Working Group                                        D. Waitzman
Request for Comments: 1149                                       BBN STC
                                                            1 April 1990

   A Standard for the Transmission of IP Datagrams on Avian Carriers

Status of this Memo

   This memo describes an experimental method for the encapsulation of
   IP datagrams in avian carriers.  This specification is primarily
   useful in Metropolitan Area Networks.  This is an experimental, not
   recommended standard.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Overview and Rational

   Avian carriers can provide high delay, low throughput, and low
   altitude service.  The connection topology is limited to a single
   point-to-point path for each carrier, used with standard carriers,
   but many carriers can be used without significant interference with
   each other, outside of early spring.  This is because of the 3D ether
   space available to the carriers, in contrast to the 1D ether used by
   IEEE802.3.  The carriers have an intrinsic collision avoidance
   system, which increases availability.  Unlike some network
   technologies, such as packet radio, communication is not limited to
   line-of-sight distance.  Connection oriented service is available in
   some cities, usually based upon a central hub topology.

Frame Format

   The IP datagram is printed, on a small scroll of paper, in
   hexadecimal, with each octet separated by whitestuff and blackstuff.
   The scroll of paper is wrapped around one leg of the avian carrier.
   A band of duct tape is used to secure the datagram's edges.  The
   bandwidth is limited to the leg length.  The MTU is variable, and
   paradoxically, generally increases with increased carrier age.  A
   typical MTU is 256 milligrams.  Some datagram padding may be needed.

   Upon receipt, the duct tape is removed and the paper copy of the
   datagram is optically scanned into a electronically transmittable


   Multiple types of service can be provided with a prioritized pecking
   order.  An additional property is built-in worm detection and
   eradication.  Because IP only guarantees best effort delivery, loss
   of a carrier can be tolerated.  With time, the carriers are self-

   regenerating.  While broadcasting is not specified, storms can cause
   data loss.  There is persistent delivery retry, until the carrier
   drops.  Audit trails are automatically generated, and can often be
   found on logs and cable trays.

Security Considerations

   Security is not generally a problem in normal operation, but special
   measures must be taken (such as data encryption) when avian carriers
   are used in a tactical environment.

Author's Address

   David Waitzman
   BBN Systems and Technologies Corporation
   BBN Labs Division
   10 Moulton Street
   Cambridge, MA 02238

   Phone: (617) 873-4323

   EMail: dwaitzman@BBN.COM


User Contributions:

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Jun 29, 2005 @ 3:03 am
How about using pigeons for sending and recieving messages such as happy thoughts for the day?
Survivor @ Ground.Zero
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Jun 30, 2005 @ 11:23 pm
At long last we finally will have a communications protocol secure from interception by terrorists abroad. I also believe malicious hackers in mainland China and the former Soviet Republic will find this protocol beyond their reach, without our resorting to cumbersome encryption algorithms.  The third paragraph devoted to Frame Format immediately makes apparent the novelty of the approach, though I believe there is a typographical error. I believe the sentence, "A typical MTU is 256 milligrams." should in fact read as follows: "A typical MTU is 256 millimeters." This revision would reasonably describe the median height of a typical packet in resting state.
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Jul 13, 2005 @ 10:22 pm
I believe there has been some recent work on a proposed amendment to RFC1149 that would allow modification of the link layer by subtitution of the current paper based link layer with solid state memory cards. Given the vastly increased packet size this allows, a boost from at most a couple of k to over 4 GB with very little impact on transmission speed, this would appear to be a worthwhile gain and I feel the IEEE and other standards bodies should be approached immediately to get the standard ratified.Recent testa in Israel by Dr Yossi Vardi, Ami Ben-Bassat and Guy Vardi achieved an average throughput of 2.27Mbit/sec with there test set up of three carrier pigeons each carrying a 4Gb card over a distance of 100km from Ohalo to Ramat Hasharon. There is still unfortunately considerable variation between links with transmission times of 2hrs 17min, 3hr 15min, and 4hrs 51min measured respectively from each carrier.It is proposed that this new protocol be named TCP/MC ie Transport via Carrier Pigeon via Memory Card.
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Jul 21, 2005 @ 2:14 pm
** Problems with audit trails **There seems to be a potential problem with audit trails in high bandwidth 1149 connections. The problem is that a congestion on the receiver side could generate bad odor and, worse, damage to the mechanical parts of the system and anger to the user. A possible workaround would be to disable temporarily the trails by means of a cilindrical object, while a definite solution is not agreed upon.
Eran Levy
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Jul 24, 2005 @ 3:15 pm
RFC was tested in my city and it works,but you need to feed the carrier with peanuts.
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Aug 24, 2005 @ 4:04 am
The reliability depends on geo-cultural region! In certain cultures, festivities are celebrated by discharging firearms into the air (e.g. in Texas and Afghanistan). Depending on the expected type of armament in the civilian population - semi-automatic rifles in Texas / assault rifles in Afghanistan - this can lead to loss phenomena similar to either "entropic" or "burst" loss.It is essential, that such limitations be considered in your RFC. I could currently see the following options: (1) slug vests for the carriers (open loop) and (2) festival calendars and flight-route mapping (closed loop).It must simply be considered - right now - that the 3+1D (time!) ether is not left unperturbed, and is not expected to be exclusive for the carriers until WW III.
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Sep 20, 2005 @ 12:00 am
Alternatively, a small container of suitable material can be attached to the carrier with the paper copy of the datagram inside. This reduces the MTU marginally but provides a secure encapsulation of the datagram.  Note that the power of modern pocked knives has made the requirement for high strength containers a necessity.
Neil E. Garcia
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Sep 23, 2005 @ 11:11 am
Not a good choice for a layer 1 protocol, service is only available from sun up to sun down....
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Oct 31, 2005 @ 12:12 pm
Can Avian Flu be considered a factor of data loss?
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Nov 30, 2005 @ 3:03 am
What about long distance communication ? We may have to setup relay stations. And ofcourse relay stations can be potential place for information mishandling. Some form of standardization is needed for the stations.
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Jan 20, 2006 @ 12:12 pm
This is just the type of technology that USB pocket drives were developed for.  They dramatically increase the maximum packet size.
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Mar 30, 2006 @ 4:16 pm
H5N1 updates are needed for CPIP administrators to detect and handle datagrams in accordance with the latest CDC and WHO/EPR guidelines.
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Nov 5, 2006 @ 6:06 am
This standard can be useful for pigeon sport events. A ping datagram is sent with each avian carrier; the ping reply datagrams are sent over the Internet. The fastest combination of pigeon and Internet transfer wins.Instead of OCR, would use of barcode datagrams be of any advantage in speed and reliability?
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Dec 7, 2006 @ 10:10 am
We're suffering very high packet loss near our local shooting range in our IP/Avia network.
Paul Donovan - RefreshMyPC.com
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May 25, 2011 @ 8:08 am
That's great that we finally found a transmission media that is free from international problems. But dont forget that there are weak points such as touch down, and threats that could result as data loss such as Feline Bots.

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