ISS Upgrades LAN

Ethernet LANs have been used everywhere from the data center to the home and even the Starbucks around the corner. But space could very well be the final frontier for the technology. On the Columbus module in the Atlantis Space Shuttle that rendezvoused on Feb. 16 with the International Space Station, the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company installed customized ProCurve 100 Mbps LAN switches designed to connect not only computers on the ISS, but also scientific test and measurement equipment.

"Originally we only had connected our computers with the 10 megabit LAN, but we felt it wasn't fast enough. We wanted higher performance for the payloads. So we built the system to support scientific payloads accommodated in 19 inch racks, with those payloads connected to the LAN," said Rolf Schmidhuber, Columbus data management system technology leader for EADS Space Transportation in Bremen, Germany.

EADS Space Transportation selected the ProCurve 2524 LAN switches after evaluating switches from Avaya, Cisco, D-Link, Netgear and 3Com. The ProCurve 2524 switches were selected for their performance, reliability, robustness, resistance to radiation and mechanical disruption and management functions. "We focused on vendors that could provide a small box with few electronic components [to minimize] potential radiation problems," said Schmidhuber. "In radiation tests we did in Switzerland, we found that HP was the best of those we had [evaluated]. And some of the other switches could not be programmed or adjusted as HP's could."

Although EADS Space Transportation had to make some changes to the ProCurve 2524 switches, including eliminating the sheet metal enclosure, Schmidhuber said they are the first commercial switches in space.

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21 Comments

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Probably their 1Gbs couterparts are not suficiently reduced in size or are more prone to radiation or even heavyer. all important points regarding space exploration. I doubt they have use for 1Gbs since to use all that bandwidth they would need servers in RAID meaning big boxes, problems with reliability etc.

(Jolidog said @ #8)
Probably their 1Gbs couterparts are not suficiently reduced in size or are more prone to radiation or even heavyer. all important points regarding space exploration. I doubt they have use for 1Gbs since to use all that bandwidth they would need servers in RAID meaning big boxes, problems with reliability etc.


Yea, 1Gbp uses higher frequencies (doesn't it?? - soz i'm behind on my wikipedia reading) which are more prone to interferance on earth never mind radiation in space.

Then again, I think I'm gonna have to get an RMA number from amazone about my issues lol

(Garry said @ #7)
I wonder if they got an on-site warranty from HP.

Nah...if there're all about cheaper is better, HP have a good offer for "Collect and Return" lol

(jonnytabpni said @ #7.1)

Nah...if there're all about cheaper is better, HP have a good offer for "Collect and Return" lol

They'll have to rent a spaceship from Virgin Intergalactic.

Some people seem to fail to understand the conditions networking equipment must work under. For example, extreme radiation at times, very low power consumption, and guaranteed service to name a few.

The article stated they are using procurve switches which is hp. We use procurve switches at work and I don't understand why they didnt go 1gigabit either. We have the 4100 series with all gigabit cards and they have not gone down once.

In space, or on the actual IIS?

In space, it wouldn't... Wireless is basically sound waves, which won't carry with 0 atmosphere.

(phiberoptik said @ #3.1)
In space, or on the actual IIS?

In space, it wouldn't... Wireless is basically sound waves, which won't carry with 0 atmosphere.


Um, no. Wireless is not sound waves.

Does anyone here want to explain electromagentic waves to this guy? Or maybe even give him a refresher course on physics?

(phiberoptik said @ #3.1)
In space, it wouldn't... Wireless is basically sound waves, which won't carry with 0 atmosphere.

Of course it would.

How do you think NASA or any other space control centre talks to astronauts in space? Or how do you think those satellites flying around the Earth transmit signals?

There are generally three types of wireless communication: radio, microwave, and infrared.

From wikipedia:

Radio is the transmission of signals, by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space.

(phiberoptik said @ #3.1)
In space, or on the actual IIS?

In space, it wouldn't... Wireless is basically sound waves, which won't carry with 0 atmosphere.

might want to take a basic physics class there if Electro Magnetic waves couldnt get through we would have no light at all on earth!

I don't understand why they stopped at 100Mbps. Don't they have the money for 1000? If speed is their issue, and they're currently upgrading, they why don't they look ahead to future needs? Certainly the day will come when they want faster than 100. To me, this seems like a waste.

(Hell-In-A-Handbasket said @ #1.1)
with NASA or any other U.S. Government Agency, its not " The Best " Mentality, its " Cheaper is Better "

So nice of you to not read the article and just blame the US government for everything because it has to be the worst government in the whole world and the most corrupt too!

/sarcasm

If you read the article, you would realize that it was the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company that installed the switches, which doesn't sound like the US government, does it?

(Slacker said @ #1)
I don't understand why they stopped at 100Mbps. Don't they have the money for 1000? If speed is their issue, and they're currently upgrading, they why don't they look ahead to future needs? Certainly the day will come when they want faster than 100. To me, this seems like a waste.

10Mb and 100Mb Ethernet use pairs 2 and 3 (orange and green) only. You can supply power to remote devices with Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) on pair 1 (blue) and pair (brown). 1Gbps Ethernet uses all four pairs so Power-over-Ethernet is not possible. Features and Power consumption must be considered. I am sure there is a good reason behind that decision.

(Slacker said @ #1)
I don't understand why they stopped at 100Mbps. Don't they have the money for 1000? If speed is their issue, and they're currently upgrading, they why don't they look ahead to future needs? Certainly the day will come when they want faster than 100. To me, this seems like a waste.

NASA evaluates stuff for years before using it... right now gig-E has too much interfearence in space for it to be feasable... ontop of that they use PoE which takes up a pair also... what they should do is go fiber optic.. but to repair that in space woudl be a task