November 24, 2008

Internet Goes Into Space

by Brian Turner

Space – the Final Frontier – these are the continuing voyages of the…internet.

Yep, apparently JPL have developed a system for maintaining a network through the solar system.

The problem isn’t simply signal delay – but the loss of signal due to solar activity. So what JPL have done is set up a system to work with both.

Called Disruption-Tolerant Networking (DTN) technology, it credit net founder Vint Cerf with key design elements:


First test for interplanetary net

To cope with these delays – which can be brought about by solar storms or when craft are behind a planet – each node in a DTN network holds on to data sent to it until it can safely contact another node.

Using this “store and forward” mechanism ensures data is not lost and gradually works its way towards its destination.

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