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Cisco Puts an Internet Router in Space

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Old 21-03-2011
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Cisco Puts an Internet Router in Space

Cisco Systems wants to put a router on every communications satellite.

The networking giant has already sent the first one into space. The company announced today that the router has successfully completed initial in-orbit tests, after being launched Nov. 23 aboard the Intelsat 14 communications satellite into geosynchronous orbit, 22,300 miles above the Earth.

The move is one small step in a bold, new Cisco initiative dubbed Internet Routing in Space (IRIS), which company executives say extends the same Internet protocol-based (IP) technology used to build the World Wide Web into the heavens. The long-term goal, they say, 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.

It's an exercise that's sparking intense interest in the satellite industry as well as in the U.S. military, telecommunications companies and other businesses that stand to benefit from the technology. Don Brown of Intelsat General, the world's largest operator of commercial communications satellites, says IRIS is to the future of satellite-based communications what Internet forerunner ARPANET was to the creation of the World Wide Web in the 1960s.

"There is a very strong potential for IRIS to revolutionize communications satellite architecture," says Brown, who is vice president of hosted payloads at the Maryland-based satellite operator. "IP changes everything."

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Old 22-03-2011
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 685
Re: Cisco Puts an Internet Router in Space

Two current developments have readied satellite industry for IP routers, as said by Pelton. One is an explosion within capacity of satellites, as of a typical capability of about 2Gb per second (Gbps) to 150Gbps. This became probable since the technology that allow satellites tap into a set of frequencies as well as a new antenna technology known as "spot beams." Instead of using one antenna to achieve a whole continent, a few satellites now contain many antennas, each focused on a definite area. All these "spot beams" can utilize the similar frequency at the similar time that multiplies how much data can be transmitted on that frequency.
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