IRIS Technology Could Enhance Military Communications
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Nov. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A space-tolerant router designed by Cisco, the leading supplier of networking equipment and network management for the Internet, flew into orbit today aboard a satellite of Intelsat, Ltd., the world's leading provider of fixed satellite services. The payload, on the Intelsat 14 satellite, is a demonstration of Internet Routing in Space (IRIS) for the U.S. military, which is expected to open up a number of commercial and military opportunities to improve communications connectivity around the globe.
The Department of Defense Joint Capabilities Technology Demonstration (JCTD) of IRIS will be managed by Cisco and Intelsat General Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Intelsat. The Cisco IRIS payload will convert to commercial use following the three-month technology demonstration, set to begin in January 2010. The IRIS team expects to show that the payload will directly route an incoming signal on one of the satellite's C- or Ku-band transponders to a number of ground receivers in either band while avoiding the time delay and cost of double-hopping the traffic through multiple teleports.
"We expect IRIS to connect the Internet with satellites in space for the warfighters who need seamless communication between ground-based networks and satellites used for communications," said Kay Sears, president of Intelsat General. "Once the capabilities of IRIS are demonstrated, there could be a great deal of interest in this technology from a wide range of end users, both inside and outside of government."
Cisco used the commercial Cisco IOS(R) Software for the on-board router, which is not unlike the routers used in Earth-based computer networks; however, it required radiation shielding for the harsh environment of space.
"Just as satellites transformed the global reach of communications and led to significant innovation, so too will the delivery of global IP-based communications services via satellite drive major cost efficiencies and flexibility to entities around the globe," said Steven Boutelle, vice president, Cisco Global Government Solutions Group. "IRIS has the potential to transform how government agencies and commercial organizations are able to buy and use IP-based network services to accomplish their missions."
The JCTD grant for the project from the DoD to Intelsat General is the first such funding ever awarded to a commercial satellite operator.
IRIS offers several distinct advantages over conventional satellite technology. IRIS can route data to multiple ground receivers in a single step, increasing transponder utilization. Because the payload regenerates the signal, its power is increased slightly, allowing a reduction in the size of sending and receiving terminals, particularly important for mobile applications.
Finally, the software on the Cisco router and onboard modem can be upgraded from the ground, which increases the flexibility of the system and the return on investment for the operator.
With IRIS, users will be able to experience a true mobile network, one that enables them to connect and communicate how, when and where they want, and that continuously adapts to their needs without reliance on a predefined, fixed infrastructure. Cisco intends to partner with satellite manufacturers, system integrators and end users to deliver services globally to points currently prohibitive to traditional ground-based networks.
The IRIS payload will support network services for voice, video and data communications, enabling government agencies, military units or allied forces to communicate with one another using Internet Protocol and existing ground equipment.
"IRIS is another example of how hosted payloads allow rapid demonstrations and introductions of powerful new space technologies," said Don Brown, vice president of Hosted Payloads at Intelsat General. "This project took less than three years from JCTD start to launch, showing that the government can evaluate a pivotal new technology in space within a very short period."
The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) will have overall responsibility for coordinating the demonstration of the IRIS technology among the government user community and for developing means of using the IRIS capability once the satellite is in space.
About Intelsat General Corp.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Intelsat General Corporation provides leading-edge communications solutions to commercial, government, and military customers through fixed and mobile satellite systems and associated terrestrial communications services. Intelsat General incorporates flexible and robust ground and space infrastructure and technical expertise to deliver reliable, quickly deployable and secure network solutions anywhere around the globe. Intelsat General is an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Intelsat, Ltd. www.intelsatgeneral.com.
Intelsat Safe Harbor Statement: Some of the statements in this news release constitute "forward-looking statements" that do not directly or exclusively relate to historical facts. The forward-looking statements made in this release reflect Intelsat's intentions, plans, expectations, assumptions and beliefs about future events and are subject to risks, including known and unknown risks. Detailed information about some of the known risks is included in Intelsat's annual report on Form 10-K for the year that ended 31 December 2008 and Intelsat's other periodic reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Because actual results could differ materially from Intelsat's intentions, plans, expectations, assumptions and beliefs about the future, you are urged to view all forward-looking statements contained in this news release with caution. Intelsat does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
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SOURCE Intelsat General Corp.