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Cisco trials Internet in Space

Cisco trials Internet in Space

Cisco's IRIS router - hardened against vacuum and radiation - aims to offer IP-based routing to satellites.

Cisco has successfully tested a satellite-based router as part of its work for the US Department of Defense's Internet Routing in Space project.

As reported over on The Register, the IRIS project aims to bring the same routing capabilities to satellites as is already available on terrestrial networks - an implementation of TCP/IP in space, basically.

The first test IRIS router, attached to partner Intelsat's IS-14 satellite which launched back in November, has undergone preliminary testing by Cisco and appears to be holding up against the elements in orbit well. In fact, the project is proceeding so smoothly that Cisco is happy to hand control of the device over to the DoD for military testing next month - before regaining control some time towards the end of April to being a twelve-month commercial use analysis of its own.

The move looks to eliminate the 'middle man' problem often found when satellites need to communicate with each other: because the satellites themselves have no Internet-style routing capabilities, devices which do not have a direct line of site need to communicate via ground stations - introducing a delay - or via a specially designed relay satellite. By bringing IP-based routing to satellites, Cisco is looking to allow satellites to route traffic for other satellites in the same way as Internet hosts route traffic for other hosts - bouncing the data from one to another until it finally reaches its ultimate destination.

The idea is certainly sound, and with satellites needing not-infrequent replacement it's not hard to imagine all satellites being fitted with Cisco IRIS routers within the next decade - allowing far faster communication between satellites than the current system, and potentially allowing telecommunications providers the ability to offer international calling and video conferencing without such maddening delays.

Are you impressed to see the Internet extending out into space, or will it take a router on Mars before you get excited? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

19 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Digi 21st January 2010, 11:31 Quote
It seems odd that this kind of work would be sponsored by the American DoD instead of by an international conglomerate or the government more directly. Whats the DoD's interests in getting this technology running I wonder.
Arkanrais 21st January 2010, 11:37 Quote
Skynet.
proxess 21st January 2010, 11:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkanrais
Skynet.

+1

Tho the idea is sound.
Krikkit 21st January 2010, 11:50 Quote
I bet that's the most expensive router ever made. :D
Abhorsen 21st January 2010, 12:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krikkit
I bet that's the most expensive router ever made. :D

The Netgear version would cost +50% more than the Cisco.
Eriku-Kun 21st January 2010, 12:29 Quote
Quote:
because the satellites themselves have no Internet-style routing capabilities, devices which do not have a direct line of site need to communicate via ground stations - introducing a delay - or via a specially designed relay satellite.

Shouldnt that be "line of sight"?

Just a nitpick
RichCreedy 21st January 2010, 13:01 Quote
why does it seem odd DoD would sponsor it?

if it wasnt for DoD we probably wouldnt have the internet as we know it now, the military is relying more and more on digital information, the quicker they can get that information to where its needed the better
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abhorsen
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krikkit
I bet that's the most expensive router ever made. :D

The Netgear version would cost +50% more than the Cisco.

and might last longer, sorry but ciscos linksys, have had more failures in my area than netgear
Matticus 21st January 2010, 13:08 Quote
Aww. I thought this was a story about playing Day of Defeat in space.... :(
p3n 21st January 2010, 13:33 Quote
the end of April to being a twelve-month commercial - begin?

Dont see how satelites would solve VC delays, there would be a much higher latency using a satelite than cable routing?
liratheal 21st January 2010, 13:35 Quote
Can we call it 'Darknet' please?

Because I miss that.
Artanix 21st January 2010, 13:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichCreedy
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abhorsen
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krikkit
I bet that's the most expensive router ever made. :D

The Netgear version would cost +50% more than the Cisco.

and might last longer, sorry but ciscos linksys, have had more failures in my area than netgear

Linksys are horrible, i'm work for an ISP and 90% of our core is cisco, their enterprise stuff is bulletproof, but what do you expect when you're paying £1k + for routers+ switches :)


Anyway, its an interesting point, as satellite stuff is really delay happy, we use alot of satellites as backups if the main link goes down, they just feel so sluggish even with 2mb+ dedicated bandwidth.
TWeaK 21st January 2010, 13:58 Quote
I wonder if this has any security implications, like people intercepting the satellite feed?
woodss 21st January 2010, 14:15 Quote
Who would even use the net in space? or does it indicate that space hoteling is a'coming? eitherway i wouldnt be suprised if their codename for it is skynet..lol @ that
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkanrais
Skynet.
+rep
eddtox 21st January 2010, 17:27 Quote
I would imagine as more of the world's comms are internet based (yes, even your mobile phone) this will become more and more important. It's not just about getting internet in space, it should also help fill up some of the internet blackspots here on earth. I'm surprised it's taken them so long to think of it.
dylawesome 21st January 2010, 18:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by woodss
Who would even use the net in space?

twitter
thehippoz 21st January 2010, 18:44 Quote
nice.. more space garbage
Jehla 21st January 2010, 19:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkanrais
Skynet.

Check wiki It's already up there ;)
LAGMonkey 21st January 2010, 22:19 Quote
i for one, welcome our IRIS enabled overloards!

(sorry, had to do it, you did just link to el Reg after all)

Im really looking forward to this going commercial, for half the year i exclusivly use a sat link and at the moment the lag is ok for voice but would be much better with the new kit. Plus our real time monitoring could actually be a bit more "real time"!! one for the marketing boys i think.
The_Beast 21st January 2010, 23:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by woodss
Who would even use the net in space? or does it indicate that space hoteling is a'coming? eitherway i wouldnt be suprised if their codename for it is skynet..lol @ that


+rep

astronaut have to look at porn too
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