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Cisco Completes Testing of IRIS Satellite Router for U.S. Govt.

Satellite Technology

Satellite Technology Feature Article

August 09, 2010

Cisco Completes Testing of IRIS Satellite Router for U.S. Govt.

By Trupti Kamath, TMCnet Contributor

Cisco’s (News - Alert) Internet Routing in Space (IRIS) technology, a program to build a radiation-tolerant IP router for satellite and related spacecraft, has achieved another major milestone with the successful completion of in-orbit testing for the United States’ Department of Defense.

"Cisco and our customers are redefining how satellite communications are delivered and enhancing the capabilities of network communications. This technology will significantly reduce the time from ground to space for the military and the private sector which will make future satellite applications quicker and easier to deploy," Steven Boutelle, CEO of Cisco IRIS and vice president of Cisco’s global government solutions group said.

The IRIS router supports network services for voice, video and data communications, helping enable government agencies, military units and allied forces to communicate with one another using IP and existing ground equipment. This offers several enhancements over conventional satellite technology and eliminates the need to send data to and from an extra ground station, which can be expensive and time-consuming.

The IRIS Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) is a Department of Defense (DoD) demonstration program managed by a Cisco-led Industry Management Team that included Intelsat (News - Alert) General. It is the first commercially-sponsored JCTD and represents a new model for closer collaboration between government and industry.

"Cisco's IRIS technology has successfully demonstrated how to transform the way the government uses satellite services for military and other communications," Michael Florio, JCTD operational manager, space and defense battle lab said. "We are pleased that Cisco and its partners have validated this transformational technology, and we look forward to the next stage of integrating this program into the Department of Defense."

"The IRIS demonstration is an important first step toward making Internet routing in space a reality that could ultimately enable satellites to make more efficient use of bandwidth," said Kay Sears, president of Intelsat General Corp. "By eliminating the need for routing at a ground-based teleport, we can dramatically increase the efficiency, flexibility and data throughput of satellite links."

During the JCTD evaluation, IRIS services were tested by US DoD and global governmental users in real-world scenarios, both on land and at sea. In each instance, IRIS was able to provide on-demand connectivity and enhance the mission effectiveness of these users. The JCTD evaluation also featured real-time collaboration applications over satellite including virtual private networks and video and file transfers.

Following this JCTD completion, the IRIS payload is undergoing extended commercial and government testing for up to 12 months to demonstrate its viability for additional applications for the at-large satellite networking ecosystem.

Cisco successfully completed the in-orbit test of its IOS software’s networking capabilities and their on-board router.

The software on the IRIS router and onboard modem can be upgraded in orbit, which increases flexibility and the return on investment. IRIS runs Cisco IOS (Internetworking Operating System) software. IRIS leverages billions of dollars in Cisco IOS R&D and integrates seamlessly with Cisco ground routers, creating a converged, multiservice space and ground network. IRIS extends the Internet into Space as it can directly exchange routing updates with Cisco ground routers, which increases the flexibility of the satellite network.

Trupti Kamath is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Erin Monda

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