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It amazes me that something happening locally (in the ~10ms range, say a database query) is even in the same scale as something traveling halfway around the world. The internet wouldn't really work without this fact, but I'm very thankful for it. Simply incredible.

The internet would still work if you had a faster database. 19ms is your hard drive seek, SSD is much faster. Thats the big change of the last 10 years.

Sorry I meant to imply the data travelling far distances was most impressive, given the fact it's on the same time-scale (milliseconds) as a transaction happening 1 inch away on your own computer. To me that's what I think is most incredible about that graph. It almost seems that the traveling portion would need to be 100x longer than something happening locally, but obviously this isn't true.

Speed of light is really fast. Once you have something on a wire traveling close to it, you are in pretty good shape time wise.

The number on a round trip is actually kind of incorrect, because the number of routing stations it must traverse will dramatically impact the round trip time, so it isn't just a fixed value. It is a good ballpark though. I think the real impressive thing is how ethernet hardware has been designed well enough to be able to process billions of packets per second where they have to read the IP destination header, compute the next node in the transaction, and send it off. You can often end up doing that a half dozen times in relatively small trips but the individual time commitments are so much smaller than disk IO :P

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