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Foggy Ligthhouse
Nova Scotia Lighthouse #2

Internet Protocol over Lighthouse was an internet data transmission standard popular in the 1990s. The lighthouse would turn on or off periodically and the condition of the light would be sampled every 5 seconds, indicating a single binary bit. Somewhat counter-productively, if the light was off a 1 was being sent, if it was on, the bit was a 0. An observer would write down the bits in sequence and decode the message by hand. Also counter-productively, IPoL transmitters were often solar-powered, limiting their use to the daytime.

IPoL typically allows for a data rate around 0.2 bits per second and is often praised for its efficient packet acrhitecture. A typical packet consisted of a header, which contained the name, longitude, latitude, local time, color, height of the transmitting lighthouse, and name of the recieving lighthouse, along with a 1-bit payload.

A sample packet is shown below:

Nova_Scotia_Lighthouse 44 -63 08:23:02.00 blue 100m Nova_Scotia_Lighthouse_#2 H

The hexadecimal data:


edit History

Internet protocol over lighthouse was originally theorized by Al Gore in 1982. This is thought to be the reasoning behind Gore's claim that he invented the internet. Scientists at Nova Scotia and New England were successfully able to implement it after just 5 months of R&D. The first message, sent on a foggy October morning in 1984, consisted of the words "Hello, world!" The message took 11 hours, 8 minutes, 24 seconds to transmit, setting a data rate record which held strong until the 1-baud modem was created later that year.

This technology was popular from 1988 to 1994, and proponents insist it is still the best data transmission standard available to date.

edit Future

While it is now largely considered a legacy protocol IPoL is still used in several applications, such as routing ships. A small, dedicated fan base has adapted IPoL for public use with the open-source OpenIPoL - "Data transmission at the speed of light!".

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