back to article Internet Society recommends development of Solar-System-scale routing framework

The Internet Society’s Interplanetary Networking Special Interest Group (IPNSIG) has called for the development of “a common, interoperable, autonomous and scalable routing framework within the Solar System Internet.” The SIG’s call was revealed in its September newsletter , which detailed a late meeting of the body’s …

  1. jake Silver badge

    UUCP still works quite nicely.

    Covers all their actual needs (not necessarily stated needs), and more ... runs on minimal equipment, can use Earth-bound networking schemes for transport as required, etc. etc.

    Sorted. No charge.

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: UUCP still works quite nicely.

      As used, basically, in Vernor Vinge's classic novel A Fire Upon the Deep to communicate the long way around the galaxy!

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: UUCP still works quite nicely.

        That more resembled Usenet, which can be transported over UUCP, but isn't the same thing.

        And of course, it's not like there's a short way around the galaxy ...

  2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Only 100,000 nodes for the whole solar system? It might seem enough now, but...

    1. sreynolds

      Is it April 1 already?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        IPv6 anyone?

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
        2. vogon00

          Re IPv6 anyone?

          My first thought too initially...but I suspect IPv6 would suffer from the same fundamental issue that the more traditional solar system and galactic space comms techniques haven't solved yet, despite years of effort from SETI - neighbour discovery doesn't appear to work.

    2. cookieMonster Silver badge

      Exactly, 64K and all that.

  3. Paul Crawford Silver badge


    The thing is space is BIG, and to get any decent radio or optical link you need to focus it really tightly. And that means to sender/recipient generally has to have directive antennas pointing at each other. So it is not just down to how you bounce data around, you also need mechanisms to make sure various nodes can align themselves for comms when needed, and hours later when a reply might be due.

    So they all need to be passing physical coordinates / propagation vectors as well so they have some sort of knowledge of this.

    1. claimed

      Re: Pointing

      I'm not sure that's true. That's one way to solve it, another might be having a list of predefined 'targets' that the nodes are either aligned with, or can align with, with timings. So node 1 knows it can talk to node 3000 for 14 seconds in 2 minutes, and afterwards it can talk to node 5 for 8 minutes.

      You can update those rules as you add nodes, but means you don't need to include telemetry in every payload.

      I suppose that's the idea with the spray and wait mentioned in the article, as you just pass the message on until you get a 'shut up' command. Doing so would mean not spending energy adjusting antenna, although you still waste it repeating your broadcasts so not sure what that would do to bandwidth!

      1. Paul Kinsler

        Re: you don't need to include telemetry in every payload.

        You might, however, want to give a node the choice between "I remain on station" and "I am just going to dodge this rock/comet/ufo/spacetime-eddy/etc; so my new trajectory will be $BLAH until I announce otherwise", or similar.

  4. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    X25 anyone?

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Yup. OSI (Open Space Initiative) protocols work better.

      I was briefly involved with some Interplanetary Internet stuff years ago, which mainly seemed an excuse to get Ciscos in Spaaaaace. Best part was chatting with some actual NASA engineers about the protocols already in use. Oddly enough, they were already rather effective and efficient, and so I wondered why we'd want to burden them with IP.

      Now we have 'Spray and Pray', and still don't seem to think that having a telecomms-style destination octet. 1.x.x.x.x(:x)= Earth, 10.x.x.. = Moon etc. But then most of the Internet's routing problems could've been improved by copying the way telecomms did numbering well over a century ago.

    2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      You might be joking, but in reality:

      It is an awful choice for data encoding, as bit errors cause a shift in frame position making error correction a practical nightmare. There are good reasons to use the CCSDS standards, but sadly for many cubsats they still go back to AX25.

      The gimp, as that is the best thing to do with X25 and derivatives =>

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You may laugh, but when I worked on X.25 some years ago one of the most recent updates to the standard was to allow latency and QoS values that worked for satellite comms.

    4. Bitsminer Silver badge

      SCPS, but it doesn't seem to have received much love lately.

      Web Page Under Construction

      The TCP proxy SCPS-TP is widely used for geosynchronous satellite comms. It is probably insufficient for Mars or Pluto. Or Sedna.

      Perhaps the UDP-based QUIC would do?

  5. bluesxman

    Sounds great...

    But how are you going to pwn n00bs on Counter Strike with that space lag?

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge

      Re: Sounds great...

      Obligatory XKCD -

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sounds great...

        Sounds like a job for Elon

  6. DJV Silver badge

    I bet the minute it all gets set and is working absolutely fine, the Vogons will build a bypass right through the middle and bugger it up completely!

    1. vogon00

      I'll save you the trip to the galactic planning office and state here and now that there are no plans to do that. Yet.

    2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      "No, it's not a backhoe, it's a black hole"...

      Prior art: maybe half of George O. Smith's "Venus Equilateral Relay Station" science fiction stories of 1942-1945, ahem!

      "Venus Equilateral was formed out of a nickel-iron asteroid that was moved into Venus' L4 point (following it in orbit). A a space station three miles long and one mile in diameter, it serves as a communications relay between Venus, Earth, and Mars whenever interference from the Sun prevents line-of-sight communication between them."

      But possibly we would manage with something smaller in size and population.

      Stories include technology problems, business problems, space pirates, and fun with matter replicators, and "Lost Art" which is about wireless power and set on Mars.

  7. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Solar system routing? I thought Copernicus had that sorted years ago.

  8. druck Silver badge


    The overall goal is to populate forwarding tables or routing tables (where appropriate) without human intervention and depart from the Earth-centric management scheme

    Space Border Gateway Protocol - what could go wrong?

  9. Sudosu Bronze badge

    So if you miss your communication target... really brings a whole new meaning to packet loss.

    Though I guess it could be recovered by another civilization, or even us if we get warp\fold\ftl\stargate\etc travel.

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