• Posts
  • RSS
  • ◂◂RSS
  • Contact

  • Internet Distance

    October 28th, 2019
    tech  [html]
    I recently read a blog post on locating servers in Iceland that included:

    If you draw a straight line from San Francisco to Amsterdam you will cross Iceland. [We have the] most customers from the US and Europe, so it makes sense to pick this geographical location.

    I don't want to pick on them in particular, but this is a common misconception about how the internet works. Internet traffic doesn't follow great-circle routes, but instead follows the cables. [1] In the case of connections between the US, Iceland, and Europe, these are underwater cables:

    This is only a diagram, and doesn't show exact routes, but you can see that Iceland has much better connectivity to the East than the West. A packet from the US to Iceland is probably going to first cross the Atlantic to mainland Europe, and then backtrack.

    Running a traceroute from my RCN connection in Boston, this is what's happening. I see packets going via hge0-2-0-0.border1.bos.ma.rcn.net, then 10-2-3.bear2.boston1.level3.net, then ae-2-3205.edge3.amsterdam1.level3.net, on their way to 185.112.146.187, an IP in Iceland.

    We can also see this with ping times:

    • Paris to Iceland: 52ms
    • Boston to Paris: 108ms
    • Boston to Iceland: 136ms

    If you want to place a server "close" to both the US and Europe, trying to split the difference and put it in Iceland is worse than just putting it in Europe.

    (Separately, it's also not helpful to think of a domain as having to be hosted from only one place. You can configure DNS so the domain will resolve to different IP addresses in different parts of the world, and you can handle user requests as closer to the user as possible. Requests like "please give me script.js" or "please record that someone visited example.com" can easily be handled by multiple servers around the world.)


    [1] This isn't completely true: there are non-cable links, but cables carry the vast majority of internet traffic.

    Comment via: facebook, lesswrong

    Recent posts on blogs I like:

    The Limit of Circles in the Suburbs

    In dense urban cores, it’s valuable to run circular rail lines. They connect dense near-center neighborhoods to one another without going through the more congested center, and help make transferring between parallel lines more efficient, again through av…

    via Pedestrian Observations September 6, 2020

    Collections: Bread, How Did They Make It? Addendum: Rice!

    As an addendum on to our four-part look at the general structures of the farming of cereal grains (I, II, III, IV) this post is going to briefly discuss some of the key ways that the structures of rice farming differ from the structures of wheat and barle…

    via A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry September 4, 2020

    Notes on “Anthropology of Childhood” by David Lancy

    I read David Lancy’s “The Anthropology of Childhood: Cherubs, Chattel, and Changelings” and highlighted some passages. A lot of passages, it turns out. [content note: discussion of abortion and infanticide, including infanticide of children with disabilit…

    via The whole sky August 27, 2020

    more     (via openring)


  • Posts
  • RSS
  • ◂◂RSS
  • Contact