Friday, February 12, 2010

Cisco Puts an Internet Router in Space

Cisco has gone astronomical... and not just in their licensing and hardware prices.

Yes, they really do want to rule the world. And probably the universe too. It's all part of their Cisco Internet Routing in Space (IRIS) program. You have to hand it to them for thinking big. At last the size of their corporate plans are matching their out-of-this-world-pricing (the pricing jabs will be over shortly).

Let's not forget that ProCurve had the first ethernet switch in space. Okay, so maybe it was only a simple 2524 and not a router the size of an apartment complex. But still. Yay ProCurve. Now start making routers!

What are Cisco's ultimate plans? 
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. 
Yep, they want to rule the universe. Joking aside, there are some fascinating possibilites that will drastically change satellite communication and functions.
Historically, the brains of satellite communications networks have resided largely in ground-based hardware, with the satellite itself passively reflecting the data beamed up to it. But IRIS shifts much more of the intelligence to the orbiting router – with potentially dramatic benefits, says Cisco's IRIS general manager Greg Pelton 
Cisco's plans will also remove the "double-hop" common in satellite transmissions which makes communication difficult for voice and video (think "reporter on the scene")

For all of the fascination I have with the possibilities, I'm still barely able to contain an "All Your Base" reference. I think I'll go play with Photoshop and a picture of John Chambers.

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