Cerf weaves interplanetary Net

Mark Kuharich (mark@is2inc.com)
Thu, 14 Oct 1999 12:37:39 -0700

Vint Cerf, co-developer of the TCP/IP protocol, said by 2008, six
satellites capable of beaming messages back to Earth will circle the
sun. Cerf has been working with NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena,
Calif., to extend the Internet deeper into space than the 22-mile
ceiling of radio wave-riding data packets. Future surfers may be able to
send instant messages from Mars or log on from Venus. Cerf is designing
a planetary communications system, starting with Mars, the next planet
away from Earth in the solar system. The technology he helped design in
1974 will be of no use in this new context, where data packets traveling
at light speed take a half hour to go from Mars to Earth. "TCP doesn't
work any more because of the delays," he said. A new set of protocols
are being constructed to deal with distance. "They are more like
store-and-forward e-mail," said Cerf, who is a senior vice president at
MCI WorldCom. The protocols, yet to be named, will be tested in 2001,
Cerf said. Cerf said there will be nearly 900 million users by 2006 on
the Internet - and that Net may extend all the way to Mars.

Mark Kuharich

Join my free e-mail newsletter called "the Software View" by sending
"the Software View" is archived at: