I often do a lot of work from the UK to destination networks in Australia be it voice calls or something more benign like gaming. Both of which work best with the lowest RTT possible.
On average the RTT is around 280ms from my UK network to Australia. The theoretical best RTT, as the crow flies, is far lower. Of course, the internet doesn't work like that -> the pipes are nowhere near straight, packets don't actually go the speed of light, router processing time, etc etc.
This has led me to a curiosity - I've no doubt that by default my route to Australia is not taking the most optimal given that ISPs will BGP peer and route through whatever is cheapest. However I wonder if I can tunnel/VPN through something more direct, IE like an Amazon EC2 server backbone.
Example trace route to www.telstra.com.au:
Tracing route to www.telstra.com.au [188.8.131.52] over a maximum of 30 hops: 1 <1 ms <1 ms <1 ms BTHUB5 [192.168.1.254] 2 * * * Request timed out. 3 * * * Request timed out. 4 7 ms 7 ms 7 ms 184.108.40.206 5 7 ms 7 ms 7 ms core4-hu0-11-0-3.faraday.ukcore.bt.net [220.127.116.11] 6 7 ms 11 ms 8 ms 18.104.22.168 7 7 ms 7 ms 7 ms t2c3-et-3-3-0-0.uk-lon1.eu.bt.net [22.214.171.124] 8 10 ms 11 ms 11 ms i-0-4-0-7-peer.ulco-core02.pr.telstraglobal.net [126.96.36.199] 9 79 ms 85 ms 76 ms i-10104.unse-core01.telstraglobal.net [188.8.131.52] 10 139 ms 138 ms 138 ms i-1.tlot-core02.telstraglobal.net [184.108.40.206] 11 138 ms 138 ms 139 ms i-0-3-0-2.1wlt-core02.telstraglobal.net [220.127.116.11] 12 285 ms 287 ms 289 ms i-16.sydp-core03.telstraglobal.net [18.104.22.168] 13 293 ms 286 ms 288 ms bundle-ether3.pad-gw10.sydney.telstra.net [22.214.171.124] 14 285 ms 284 ms 284 ms bundle-ether2.pad-gw11.sydney.telstra.net [126.96.36.199] 15 286 ms 291 ms 286 ms bundle-ether3.ken-core10.sydney.telstra.net [188.8.131.52] 16 284 ms 284 ms 284 ms tengigabitethernet7-1.stl1.sydney.telstra.net [184.108.40.206] 17 283 ms 283 ms 283 ms telstr1429.lnk.telstra.net [220.127.116.11] 18 * * * Request timed out. 19 290 ms 285 ms 284 ms 18.104.22.168
I suppose the question here is: How can I investigate and determine whether I am taking the shortest available (Commercial VPN/tunnel or otherwise) path from the UK to Australia?
Using the live chart over at https://www.cloudping.co/ eu-west-2 (London) <--> ap-southeast-2 (Sydney) has an average RTT of 280 as well. So it appears Amazon's backbone isn't any better than public transit.
Found another test(http://gcp.latenci.es/) for the Google Cloud network and it shows similar results as Amazon - 275 RTT.
Using an ISP looking glass (https://www.us.ntt.net/support/looking-glass/) I ran some tests from various routers. No matter what, all traffic is routed via Singapore, and from Singapore to Australia which has a very abnormally high RTT. Even running a route test from a West USA (LA) router to Sydney routes it via Singapore!
It does not appear that any publically available routes are going via the US West <--> Sydney sub cables. And it certainly looks like the Singapore <--> Australia route is being smashed.