Managing a network on Earth is no easy feat. How about in space? This may sound far fetched, but the concept may be becoming a reality. Internet technology is now being made available from a space-based platform.
Cisco is testing an IP router aboard a satellite in Earth orbit (22,300 miles above the Earth). The aim is to extend IP access to places that aren't served by traditional phone and wireless networks.
As part of its Internet Routing in Space (IRIS) program, Cisco is testing the router to demonstrate to the Department of Defense (DoD) that the technology can be used to enhance military communications.
Here is a picture of the Intelsat 14 satellite with reflectors deployed for testing. Check out more pictures here.
According to Cisco, IRIS shifts much more of the intelligence to the orbiting router – with potentially dramatic benefits. The long-term goal is to route voice, data and video traffic between satellites over a single IP network in ways that are more efficient, flexible and cost effective than is possible over today's fragmented satellite communications networks.
After testing is completed in April, the IRIS project will be switched over for commercial use.
This is a very interesting development from my perspective. My company has been helping the government manage LAN, WAN, satellite and a range of networks for some time. Perhaps its time to take it to the next level….-----