Router In The Sky


This story reminds me of that famous Alan Parsons Project song… (okay go ahead and make your ageist jokes!) A bunch of Cisco engineers have taken company’s mobile access router (typically used by first responders) and scotch taped it to a low-orbit satellite and sent it heavenwards. (Results of the experiment here in PDF form) Man did I miss this story….

Apparently, the router has been up there for two years, proving that commercial IP technology can work with satellites. Talk about IP everywhere. Maybe we can make VoIP calls direct to the “big man” and ask him for more “bandwidth.” On a more serious tip, the commodity off the shelf technologies could have far reaching impact in the commercial satellite space, not to mention give a big boost to NASA and department of defense.

“We needed to put a stake in the ground and have something to talk about from a technology perspective,” says Rick Sanford, director of Cisco’s Global Space Initiatives group. Routers in space hold promise for future satellite-based broadband technologies, which could make wide-area data network services ubiquitous and more robust than current satellite data services, Sanford says.

More details @ Network World and CLEO site and @ Cisco


Chris Parente

Underscores in url got munged in the comment on Parentee/Goto Strategic. Seems asterisks and underscores automatically get changed to emphasis tags in this comments form, and it can’t recognise urls.

let’s try html:

link with underscores

Chris Parente

And here’s Goto Strategic PR patting themselves on the back about Chris Parente, their employee, leaving a comment on this blog entry as part of their not-so-guerilla marketing efforts. Chris – it’s Craig McCaw and Teledesic.


“Routers In The Sky”

Om Malik’s Blog: About the Next Generation Internet
November 19, 2005

Christopher Parente, Vice President of Strategic Communications Group, Inc., commented on Om Malik’s blog entry about the Cisco router in Low Earth Orbit (CLEO) satellite. Mr. Malik, a senior writer at the Business 2.0 magazine, suggests that CLEO demonstrates the viability of commercial IP technology through satellites as well as the potential impact of satellite routers on broadband. In his comment, Mr. Parente responds that Inmarsat’s new Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) service, which will be up and running in early 2006, is the most immediate way that convenient global IP broadband connectivity will be delivered via satellite. He provides a link to an October 10th, 2005 article in Space News highlighting Inmarsat’s small, inexpensive and high-speed BGAN terminals, which are manufactured by the Denmark-based company Thrane [and] Thrane, Inc.

Strategic Communications Group monitors the blogosphere for opportunities for its executives to provide comments in areas relevant to their clients. By utilizing the blogosphere in this way, Strategic is able to provide clients, such as Thrane [and] Thrane, a broader array of coverage and more occasions to exhibit their industry leadership.

George Wan

In my opinion, no one system can use true routing algorithm similar to some used in terrestrial. However, I want to do some research in this area. In the future, IP service will become the prominent service in the network, and the advanced router will give us more helpful device.

Chris Parente

Interesting. Who here has been tracking Inmarsat’s new BGAN service? The second satellite just went up, and service will be live around March. True, convenient and affordable IP anywhere on Earth for phone and data — just what Bill Gates and Bill McCaw tried to do with Teledisic, and failed.

Here’s a story from Space News — check out how small the terminal is on the hood of the jeep:


There are several applications I can think of. SSTL was developing and using a IP based telemetry system for satellite control. A router would be one way to move packets between the ground and sub-systems.

Another application is as part of an exchange in the sky. Mobile satellite phones would use the satellite to switch calls between handsets negating the need to downlink the signal. The router would also enable IP packets to be moved between satellites creating a world wide packet distribution network that doesn’t require wires.

Another use would be NASA’s planned Interplanetary Internet. The one Vint Cerf is working on. This has been designed to use IP packets to move data from probes around the solar system. Routers will be necessary.

Om Malik

i don’t know much about this stuff, except it sounds pretty cool. hey victor any thoughts on what will be the applications etc of this?

Victor Blake

Caspian has a deal for (Northrup Grumman I belive) to put their routers in satellites as well. I don’t know the exact dates — but it was at least 1 1/2 years ago…

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