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Is Google buying local bandwith?

by Michael Nielsen on November 7, 2007

I’ve been using the Unix utility ping to check the speed I can relay information to and from various organizations. Here are some approximate times for a few:

I tried a bunch of others, and the times above were fairly typical, with 30-100 ms common for sites in North America, and 80-150ms outside. I’m based in Waterloo, Canada, so that distribution is not surprising.

Google, however, consistently came in with times between 5-20ms. So far as I know, they don’t have any local datacenters, so I’m wondering how they’re doing this, and, if they’re creating local infrastructure to serve results quickly, how broadly they’re doing it.

Could readers in other cities try doing the same experiment, and put the results in comments?

Update: Well, that was quick. A helpful commenter points me to just-ping.com, which basically automates this. Looks like I’m seeing a local anomaly – presumably Google has a data center somewhere nearby.

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4 Comments
  1. Anonymous permalink

    Granada, south of Spain (Telefonica):

    Slicehost: 200 ms
    Sourceforge: 245 ms
    Cambridge: 120 ms
    BoingBoing: 240 ms
    Google.com: 180 ms
    Google.es: 100 ms
    Yahoo.com: 225 ms
    Yahoo.es: 88 ms

  2. Anonymous permalink

    Try this, Michael:
    http://just-ping.com

  3. Google has an office on North campus in the Tech Town but I doubt a data centre is there. They do have one in the Toronto area though and our local connections are routed through the main hub on Front St in Toronto. Most connections go to Toronto then back to Waterloo.

    UW (and PI) are on a Fibre line that is connected to Front St then routes to the world.

  4. Michael Nielsen permalink

    Toronto sounds like a good bet.

    (Amusingly, the geographic lookup for the IP addresses tells me “Mountain View”…)

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