Interplanetary Internet about as useful as flying pigs says Vint Cerf

InterPlanetary Networking Special Interest Group gets a reality check


Boffins that want to see Internet protocols extend to outer space – the so-called “Interplanetary Internet” – need to prove they're offering something useful, according to one of the father-figures of the Earth-bound Internet.

Vint Cerf, who has taken an interest in beyond-Earth applications for the Internet protocol stack since the 1990s, told last week's InterPlanetary Networking SIG (IPNSIG) meeting that to get beyond a mere curiosity, the SIG needs to be useful.

“Our challenge, to the extent that we're interested in serious expansion of communications capability for space exploration, is to demonstrate its utility,” Cerf told the gathering.

“It's not that anyone thinks that you should just build this interplanetary thing and hope that somebody uses it,” he added.

One possibility, for example, is that spacecraft that support these kinds of protocols could, having fulfilled their primary mission, have a longer economically-useful life if they can then become nodes in the interplanetary backbone.

And there's no doubt that there'll be a lot more data being flung around in space: last year, for example, the success of NASA's LADEE broadband experiment showed that free space optics could cook along at hundreds of megabits a second without an atmosphere to get in the way.

But there are nearer-term payoffs to be had more nearby: Delay-Tolerant Networking (DTN) is something useful even on Earth. The Internet of Things, for example, provides plenty of use-cases in which a communication from a sensor has to follow an indirect, relayed path to the Internet and back.

El Reg would also note that the considerations of reliability, a small code base, network efficiency and security that the IPNSIG is considering also look on-topic for the “real world”.

The IPNSIG threw a gabfest last week, and presentations and videos from the event have now been posted here, including updates to the Interplanetary Overlay Network (ION) code suite, recent NASA experiments, and a DTN-enabled public key infrastructure demo from Boeing. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Minimal, systemd-free Alpine Linux releases version 3.16
    A widespread distro that many of its users don't even know they have

    Version 3.16.0 of Alpine Linux is out – one of the most significant of the many lightweight distros.

    Version 3.16.0 is worth a look, especially if you want to broaden your skills.

    Alpine is interesting because it's not just another me-too distro. It bucks a lot of the trends in modern Linux, and while it's not the easiest to set up, it's a great deal easier to get it working than it was a few releases ago.

    Continue reading
  • Verizon: Ransomware sees biggest jump in five years
    We're only here for DBIRs

    The cybersecurity landscape continues to expand and evolve rapidly, fueled in large part by the cat-and-mouse game between miscreants trying to get into corporate IT environments and those hired by enterprises and security vendors to keep them out.

    Despite all that, Verizon's annual security breach report is again showing that there are constants in the field, including that ransomware continues to be a fast-growing threat and that the "human element" still plays a central role in most security breaches, whether it's through social engineering, bad decisions, or similar.

    According to the US carrier's 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) released this week [PDF], ransomware accounted for 25 percent of the observed security incidents that occurred between November 1, 2020, and October 31, 2021, and was present in 70 percent of all malware infections. Ransomware outbreaks increased 13 percent year-over-year, a larger increase than the previous five years combined.

    Continue reading
  • Slack-for-engineers Mattermost on open source and data sovereignty
    Control and access are becoming a hot button for orgs

    Interview "It's our data, it's our intellectual property. Being able to migrate it out those systems is near impossible... It was a real frustration for us."

    These were the words of communication and collaboration platform Mattermost's founder and CTO, Corey Hulen, speaking to The Register about open source, sovereignty and audio bridges.

    "Some of the history of Mattermost is exactly that problem," says Hulen of the issue of closed source software. "We were using proprietary tools – we were not a collaboration platform before, we were a games company before – [and] we were extremely frustrated because we couldn't get our intellectual property out of those systems..."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022