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Cisco’s Space Router to Transform Satellite Communications: Company Debuts First VoIP Call From Space

Written by: developer

Cisco logoSAN JOSE, Calif. (Dec. 7, 2010) – Cisco today announced the results of the latest Internet Routing in Space (IRIS) testing, marking the first-ever software upgrade of an Internet Protocol (IP) router aboard a commercial satellite while in orbit. In addition, Cisco completed the industry’s first Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) call made without the use of any terrestrial infrastructure to route the call.

This achievement represents a radical departure from current communications satellite technology, which relies on ground-based hubs to convey voice and video signals between satellites and end users. Benefits of this new capability include the ability to route voice, data and video traffic between users over a single IP network more efficiently, and with greater cost effectiveness, than is currently possible over today’s fragmented satellite communications networks. In addition, the capability to upgrade the software of the Cisco router and onboard modem from the ground increases the flexibility of the system to implement future capabilities and the lifespan of the communications system.

Demonstration Facts:

  • IRIS is part of Cisco’s initiative to transform satellite networks. The initiative includes the Cisco 18400 Space Router, a radiation-tolerant IP router for satellite and related spacecraft. The first space router was launched on-board Intelsat 14, a geostationary communications satellite.
  • Cisco recently teamed up with Astrium to study the applications of space-based routers. In October, Cisco and Astrium successfully demonstrated IRIS services such as multicasting, which enables the delivery of information to a group of destination computers simultaneously in a single transmission.
  • Cisco updated the IOS® Software in the router aboard Intelsat 14 to enable a variety of capabilities for enhanced management that are already available for Cisco’s terrestrial products including Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express, IPv6, Mobile IP and SNMPv3 MIBs (Simple Network Management Protocol version 3 Management Information Bases). It also enables additional security features, including hardware-based encryption.
  • The demonstration was the first use of Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express to make a VoIP phone call via a router in space.

About IRIS

  • IRIS offers several enhancements over conventional satellite technology. With IRIS, users will be able to experience a true mobile network that continuously adapts without reliance on a predefined, fixed infrastructure.
  • The elimination of the double-hop, combined with the bandwidth-on-demand feature and the shorter radio frequency path with IRIS, also increases transponder utilization. The software on the Cisco 18400 Space Router and on-board modem can be upgraded in orbit, which increases flexibility and return on investment. IRIS runs Cisco IOS Software, taking advantage of billions of dollars in Cisco IOS research and development and integrating with Cisco ground routers to create 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.
  • The Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express software on-board the Cisco router in the satellite can also provide backup call control capability to terrestrial infrastructure.
  • Cisco is working with satellite manufacturers, system integrators and end users to help enable them to deliver services globally to points outside traditional ground-based networks.

Supporting Quotes:

  • Steven Boutelle, CEO of Cisco Internet Routing in Space (IRIS), and vice president, Cisco Global Government Solutions Group, said: “Today’s announcement underscores Cisco’s commitment to innovation in networking communications. IRIS will support the deployment of a truly mobile network that allows users to connect and communicate how, when and where they want, and that continuously adapts to changing needs without depending on a fixed terrestrial infrastructure. This technology has the potential to transform how government agencies and commercial organizations use IP-based network services to accomplish their missions and business objectives.”
  • Rajja Gopalan, head of Future Networks at Astrium Services, said:”At Astrium Services we are constantly striving for greater flexibility and capacity in the provision of secure satcom services. The IRIS testing has enabled us to explore the potential of this technology as we look to expand our customer offering, particularly in areas that often require the rapid transfer of data, such as crisis management situations, remote medical emergencies and mobile military operations.”

Supporting Resources:

  • Cisco IRIS:
  • News@Cisco: Cisco Router in Space Debuts “Dial Tone From Space”
  • YouTube: Brad Boston on Cisco’s Internet Router in Space

About Cisco Systems
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Cara Ann Sloman
Cisco Systems, Inc.
831 440-2411
[email protected]

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