July 19, 2010
Space-router technology from Cisco has successfully passed a Department of Defense (DoD) satellite-orbit test, paving the way for the use of next-generation satellite-based IP services and communications from space.
The Internet Routing in Space (IRIS) technology was launched as the first IP router on an Intelsat IS-14 commercial satellite on Nov. 23, 2009, and recently passed an IRIS Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) evaluation for use in orbit, according to Cisco. IRS is a program to build an IP router that can tolerate radiation for use on satellites and other spacecraft. The technology will give government agents, military units and allied forces better and more reliable access IP-based network services for voice, video and data and to communicate over IP, according to Cisco. During the JCTD test, DoD users on land and at sea tested IRIS services in real-world scenarios. The technology provided connectivity to the Internet on demand, and also allowed them to collaborate in real time using applications such as VPNs, as well as make video and file transfers via satellite. IRIS achieved 99.95 percent availability during the test, making it a solid foundation on which to do mission-critical operations, according to Cisco. It also allowed for seamless IP communications, secure IP-based VPNs and allowed for real-time chat and voice communications, the company said. IRIS is now undergoing commercial and government testing for the next 12 months to check for viability for additional applications. The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) -- which provides network services for the DoD -- also plans to offer IRIS services to DoD programs later this year to test the system against various scenarios. IRIS is the next generation of satellite communications technology in that it provides a flexible, adaptable mobile network without reliance on fixed infrastructure, according to Cisco. It also offers faster data transfers via satellite because it can route data directly to multiple ground receivers rather than having to double hop between a teleport and receivers, which current technology requires, it said. IRIS also allows for router updating in space because the technology can update with Cisco ground routers, Cisco said. This makes the satellite network more flexible, the company said. More information about IRIS can be found on Cisco's website. The company also has posted a video about the technology.
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