U.S. Military Plans to Put Router in Space

In 2009, the U.S. Department of Defense hopes to launch a satellite carrying an Internet router into space. Internet Routing in Space will allow U.S. ground troops to have voice, data and video communications while carrying out missions. Over the next three years two companies will work together on the project: Cisco will build the routers and Intelsat General will manage the equipment. The satellite will be located in geostationary orbit at 45 degrees west longitude, offering coverage for Europe, the Americas and Africa.

The project will interconnect two Ku-band and one C-band coverage areas. Two key highlights behind the technology are flexible IP packet routing and multicast distribution that can be adjusted on demand. Routers in orbit could one day allow direct communication between satellites, instead of having data travel through ground stations. Direct IP routing could take place with multiple satellites, meaning routing via ground-based teleports would no longer be required if the project is successful. "Iris is to the future of satellite-based communications what Arpanet was to the creation of the Internet in the 1960s," said Intelsat's Don Brown.

News source: DailyTech

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3 Comments

I doubt it, satalite technology is almost always one-way. The exceptions are all very expensive as the bandwidth is (relatively) expensive compared to setting up earth-based stations.

The 802.1b/g/n protocols are designed for very local networks, nothing like the kind of distance we're talking about here - 35,786 kilometers from the earth's surface. Equally, the latency (which is fairly poor even on an earth based wifi network) would be in the region of seconds - look at the delay you get when you see someone using a satalite system when being interviewed on TV for example.

So, using satellites for Wifi is a Bad Idea - slow, unreliable and very expensive, and likely almost impractical.

eAi said,
I doubt it, satalite technology is almost always one-way. The exceptions are all very expensive as the bandwidth is (relatively) expensive compared to setting up earth-based stations.

The 802.1b/g/n protocols are designed for very local networks, nothing like the kind of distance we're talking about here - 35,786 kilometers from the earth's surface. Equally, the latency (which is fairly poor even on an earth based wifi network) would be in the region of seconds - look at the delay you get when you see someone using a satalite system when being interviewed on TV for example.

So, using satellites for Wifi is a Bad Idea - slow, unreliable and very expensive, and likely almost impractical.

Sorry to bust your bubble but this would be a full-duplex solution as opposed to the simplex satellite systems you speak of. In fact, very little satellite communication is simplex these days, even TV signals are 2-way (think on-demand services).

This is phenomenal news as this can do so much for situational awareness. Imagine every troop carrying a gps locator and a small passive satellite uplink. There would rarely ever be a question about who is friend or foe ever again. Say goodbye to friendly fire!

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