11-09 -- Last week on planet Earth

This starts my last week in Madagascar.  I'm both antzy about getting
some things DONE here, and so looking forward to getting home.  I miss
my sweetie, and can't wait to see her, but the network's not done, and
neither is the website.

I've got a way of snapping pictures of sonograms, but that won't
happen until I return.

The software for the deaf school is ready to go, but won't be
delivered until Sunday, and more importantly, won't be LEGAL until I'm
back in the states and someone will actually take my credit card.

I've got a shopping list for SALFA once I get back.

I've gotten Rivo (and others) to understand just how terrible their
Internet connection is, but I haven't been able to do anything about
it, other than put in a caching proxy server.  I've told them that I
will GIVE them $280 to buy them out of their one year contract for
their DSL.  Just, I say, find another provider who's better.  I show
them how to check.

Just for yucks, take a look at how bad Wanadoo (their current
provider) is.

                             My traceroute  [v0.69]
ldell1 ( psize=64 bitpattern=0x00)     Wed Nov  9 15:53:54 2005
                                       Packets               Pings
 Host                                Loss%   Snt   Last   Avg  Best  Wrst StDev
 1. ???
 2. gw-adsl.wanadoo.mg                0.0%    28   53.2  79.9  43.9 302.5  62.5
 3.                        0.0%    28   57.6  91.0  43.5 379.5  79.3
 4.                   0.0%    28   49.0  86.6  49.0 332.3  72.5
 5.                    0.0%    28   54.5  79.7  44.5 292.4  60.3
 6. hs1-0-0.bcnar1.BercenayEnOthe.op  0.0%    28  716.6 622.3 577.0 792.8  60.5
 7. po1-0.bagbb2.Bagnolet.opentransi  0.0%    28  608.9 605.0 581.1 732.3  33.8
 8. po2-0.pascr2.Paris.opentransit.n  0.0%    28  600.1 595.7 580.8 690.5  22.6
 9. gi2-0.pascr3.Paris.opentransit.n  0.0%    28  591.8 631.7 583.8 1171. 115.8
10. po10-0.loncr3.London.opentransit  0.0%    28  596.2 629.5 590.0 1240. 123.5
11. google-1.GW.opentransit.net       0.0%    28  604.0 639.1 588.9 1201. 123.7
12.                     0.0%    26  598.6 643.2 589.5 1142. 117.1
13.                    0.0%    26  623.1 665.0 618.9 1132. 113.6
14.                     0.0%    26  601.0 656.4 599.9 1074. 111.8
15.                     0.0%    26  615.6 653.5 604.8 1061. 103.7
16.                      0.0%    26  620.3 646.7 604.1 993.3  88.8

Allow me to explain what you're seeing. You're seeing an over-subscribed or badly configured DSLAM/router combination. Note the 79.9 average delay right off the bat. Where the DSL is put onto the the Wanadoo network, it's SLOW. That should be three milliseconds. It's at least twenty times that. Try this with your DIAL-UP MODEM. Now, that's nothing compared to the 600 millisecond delay getting to France. That's probably because the satellite they're using has voice traffic on it, and IP is dead last in priority. Read anything you didn't like in that paragraph? Words like "dead last" might jump out -- that's almost normal, but look at the words "France" and "Satellite". "France." Why is their traffic going to France? A trace from Chicago to South Africa shows that traffic to South Africa from the States, which like it or not, is where most websites are, is not substantially slower than traffic from the States to Paris. The traffic from Madagascar goes through Paris because Wanadoo is subsidiary of France Telecom, and that's the way they like it. But it's a bad design. What if there's a disruption in that link? It should right off try to find the shortest path, and right now, it seems to have only one next hop: France. "Satellite." Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it's on ground lines (though the fact that the delay is always 600 milliseconds smells strongly of a satellite to me -- a digital system where you're able to assign priorities to traffic, such that IP ranks dead last). If so, then they're taking ground lines to France for some reason, huh? Like Senegal isn't closer, or South Africa, or Egypt? All lines (or satellite) connections lead to France, so that France can get a cut of all the calls. If the lines (even the critical ones) were distributed, then France could be negotiated out of the loop. France is still farming this country, and it's not letting someone else have this land. There's been talk of a fiber being laid to South Africa. It's financed by the Germans. They're all set to do it, but it keeps getting delayed. Someone with clout is slowing it down, I've been told. Someone named France. But that's all paranoid suspicion. And just might be wrong. So what's the effect of this? Google probably takes less than a second t load for you, no matter how slow your connection is -- it's well designed to load fast. Takes between five and ten seconds here. A page with frames (frames are killer for slow connections) can take fifteen to thirty seconds to load. Proxy severs help, because you don't have to actually load the content, but you still have to check the change dates, and that means establishing connections, and that means back and forth hand-shaking at half a second per shot and that means multiple seconds for the trivialest page. I ask one of my coworkers about the smog. He says its burning trees. Happens every year, about this time. I think there's an inversion layer involved, as well as car exhaust. Trees, tress plus cars, trees and cars and moisture, I have the burning eyes and throat and nose to prove it ain't just fog.