Internet in space moved one step closer to reality after a successful in-orbit test of Cisco Systems' radiation-proof router mounted on a commercial satellite. The test was part of Cisco's overall Internet Routing in Space (IRIS) project that will eventually route IP voice, video, and data traffic between satellites rather than through terrestrial networks.
"There is a very strong potential for IRIS to revolutionize communications satellite architecture," said Don Brown of Intelsat General. "IP changes everything." The company's Intelsat 14 communications satellite--which escorted the piggybacking router into space--launched on November 23, 2009.
Cisco's IRIS project manager Greg Pelton says that a space-based router can prioritize more important traffic by intelligently allocating bandwidth. This means that bandwidth no longer in use by one company can be switched over to another customer. Space-based routers will also allow telecommunications companies to offer high-bandwidth, on-demand services.
Now that the first router is active, Cisco will hand over the technology to the Department of Defense for its evaluation--this will be used for military purposes for around three months. Once that is completed, Cisco plans to work with the technology for the next year to determine its use in the private sector.
For more info on Cisco's Internet Routing in Space, head here.