Routers in space: Defense to launch (literally) space-based Internet

The Defense Dept. plans to put a router in space by 2009 to allow troops to access voice, data and video over IP, the BBC reports.

The Defense Dept. plans to put a router in space by 2009 to allow troops to access voice, data and video over IP, the BBC reports.

Eventually DoD's Iris project could allow satellites to send data directly between each other, instead of sending it via ground stations.

"Iris is to the future of satellite-based communications what Arpanet was to the creation of the internet in the 1960s," said Don Brown, of Intelsat General, one of the companies who will build the platform.

Iris (Internet Router Protocol in Space) has received a green light and funding from DOD and now aims to put "innovative concepts into the hands of war fighters in the field."

Of course it's not just any router; it's a "space hardened router" to be built by Cisco. Intelsat will build a geostationary satellite, IS-14, will be built by Intelsat.

"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, CEO of Intelsat general.

And yes, after the military is up and running it will be opened up for commercial use.

"The Iris architecture allows direct IP routing over satellite, eliminating the need for routing via a ground-based teleport," said Mr Brown.

If you follow the logical extension - and Vint Cerf does - the Internet can be deployed throughout the solar system.

With IP becoming more prevalent for use in space, Nasa and internet pioneer Vint Cerf have also investigated the possibility of using internet technology across the solar system.

Although some work has been carried out on the necessary standards and protocols, no definite schedule has been announced for this interplanetary internet.