Ok, I'm a sucker for data stories in outer space, luckily they don't come around all that often. Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO, news, filings) offered an update on its Internet Routing in Space (IRIS) testing. They achieved two goals, First, they remotely upgraded an IP router aboard a commercial satellite while in orbit. And second, they completed the first VoIP call made without any terrestrial help - no ground based hubs along the way.
Eliminating ground infrastructure from the equation promises to make satellite networks more efficient and cost effective. And having IP in space would make it possible to add a vertical dimension to the internet itself, following in the footsteps of GPS. Of course, it isn't exactly going to help the part of the sector currently going crazy over the lowest possible latency connections. However, fitting the satellite guys more smoothly into the rest of the data world seems like convergence with a lot of future potential.
But there's one question I've gotta ask. What, pray tell, makes a Space Router something other than a router that happens to be in space? Radiation tolerance seems to be one key item, but are there other criteria other than special software? I mean, usually what NASA sends into orbit is archaic but bug-proof.
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