The Sea of Information

I’m doing research this semester on the structure of the internet, specifically by studying bandwidth information between bittorrent users. In order to do this, I’ve been collecting packets this morning using WinDump.exe, a windows port of the unix tcpdump command.

This program effectively spews out information for every packet, in or out, that touches the selected interface. Here’s something I noticed this morning:

The internet ebbs and flows. Like the endpoint computer is a pristine beach on the sea of information, packets rolling in and out in bunches; the local computer responds to everything that comes in, and a quarter of a second passes before the next incoming wave arrives. And while it may be something people have remarked upon before, this is the first time I realized how true it is: I’m watching the waves crash in and out as I write this. If the browser is like scuba gear for safely navigating the water, then TCPDump and WinDump are the beach towel, so I can sit here, sip my powerade, and enjoy the view.

this is nice.

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