Intergalactic Planetary Planetary Intergalactic Another Dimension

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This (geo) graphic was pulled from one of Vint Cerf’s presentations at the NRO.

I can’t believe I had not heard of this before last week, but Vint Cerf’s presentation on his work on the Interplanetary Internet was one of the cooler presentations that I have seen in a while.  Actually it was just a small part of his overall presentation, but it was for me the most notable part.  Cerf was the co-creator of TCP/IP during the original ARPANet project, and he had great network diagrams of when they connected their hub at UCLA to only a handful of other nodes.  This was how small the original experiment was (and Cerf mea culpa’d several times about his mistaken choice of a 32 bit name space over a 128 bit name space a la IPV6).  That made this whole Interplanetary Internet thing seem a little bit less crazy to me, as the experiment simply involved uploading the new DTN (Disruption-Tolerant Networking) protocol software onto a few spaceborne platforms and conducting some dial tone experiments.

What I thought was very cool was that he was asked by DARPA to test DTN in a tactical battlefield environment in order to see whether “Disruption Tolerant Networking” might apply to an Earth-based context in which disruption was expected.  Indeed, according to Cerf, it performed very well, with many advantages over TCP/IP.  Apparently tests demonstrate that 10-15 times more data gets pushed through the network under DTN than with TCP/IP.  Cerf said something about getting DTN on the Android platform, so there might be an opportunity for a large-scale Earth-based test sometime soon.

I hope Cisco, F5, Juniper and the others are listening!

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