The US military is to trial putting internet routers into orbit in an experiment that could have important implications for civilian applications.
The internet routing in space (IRIS) project will be run over three years in conjunction with Cisco and Intelsat. The system will carry network services for voice, video and data communications, enabling military units or allied forces to communicate with one another using internet protocol and existing ground equipment.
"The IRIS architecture allows direct IP routing over satellite, eliminating the need for routing via a ground-based teleport, thereby dramatically increasing the efficiency and flexibility of the satellite communications link, " said Don Brown, vice president of Hosted Payload Programs for Intelsat General.
"IRIS is to the future of satellite-based communications what ARPANET was to the creation of the Internet in the 1960s."
The router will cover layer 3 routing and can be reconfigured remotely for multicast distribution. Cisco is providing the software and a specialist company will be building the radiation hardened router and casing.
"IRIS extends the internet into space, integrating satellite systems and the ground infrastructure for warfighters, first responders and others who need seamless and instant communications," said Bill Shernit, president of Intelsat General.
"IRIS will enable US and allied military forces with diverse satellite equipment to seamlessly communicate over the internet from the most remote regions of the world."
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