Call me crazy, but it seems a little strange to equate geographic distance with "network" distance.
The point of this is to demonstrate how close the current backbone accessible to anyone with a fast starting point (i.e. paid-for connectivity) is to the limits of non-quantum physics.
A lot of people know Moore's law. An awful lot of people (*especially* in games dev) design based on Moore's law, and a lot games wouldn't be developed if they didn't trust it.
But life is very different indeed with latency, even with all the willpower in the world. It's not even like CPU's, which reached the limits of known basic wiring some years ago and had to find new fabrication processes: you can use physical distance to compare ping times to the speed of light. The only way to beat this is to make use of physics that doesn't obey "nothing can move faster than light" (hence quantum physics, which appears to be unbounded by this).
I must say, this is highly unscientific.
I appreciate your sentiments, but it only looks that way because you didn't know what was being tested.
It would be much more useful to talk to someone at an ISP who might actually have knowledge of the network topology at the backbone level,
I have. They give grossly conflicting answers, or answers that put them in a favorable light. e.g. UUnet has removed the page where they used to tell the world what their transatlantic latency was each month. This is commercially sensitive information that ISP's are getting more embarassed about and less honest about
One of the nice things about this test is that anyone can reproduce it, assuming they have decent connectivity, and know what they OUGHT to be getting.
You wouldn't believe how many people spout BS about trans-atlantic transfer rates, for instance. I've had tens of people (network professionals) assure me the maximum transatlantic bandwidth using TCP is a few hundred kB/second or similar. Shrug. So much BS, and too few people who can independently verify such things (how many people have high multi-MB/s intercontinental bandwidth to play with?)
I've had friends using the same ISP as me, in the same city, who I can't play online games with because we're essentially "too far away" in terms of number of hops (over 30) as evidenced by tracert - yet this isn't the case all the time, sometimes we're only 10 or 20 hops away.
This is very interesting, because it oughtn't to be happening. I was aware of the problems of internet AS-level routing causing stupidly long routes occasionally, but you're the first person I've met who'd been seriously hampered by such mistakes (I was looking at a lecture the other day which gave a real-life example of two nodes on the same semi-private network but also connected via a public higher-bandwidth network, with packts all being routed via the latter, even though contention was higher and the total geographical distance the signals had to travel was over 50 times greater, so that the actual performance was vastly inferior (and contributed to further degradation of the public route that everyone else was trying to use!).