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02-081
For Release: November 25, 2002

Katherine K. Martin
Media Relations Office
216/433-2406
katherine.martin@grc.nasa.gov

Lori J. Rachul
Media Relations Office
216/433-8806
lori.j.rachul@grc.nasa.gov


Set and Forget Mobile Networking Demonstrated

A seamless and secure interoperability of Internet communications among moving vehicles was successfully demonstrated aboard the U.S. Coast Guard's Cutter Neah Bay on November 6. This new technology was the result of a two-year effort initiated by NASA's Glenn Research Center, Cleveland.

Glenn worked closely with Cisco Systems, Inc., San Jose, Calif. and Western DataCom, Inc., Westlake, Ohio, under Space Act Agreements to collaboratively develop the secure mobile networking technology into a new solution that will make access and operation of experiments in space as easy as if they were on Earth and connected to the terrestrial Internet.

The new technology enables communication through an encrypted, mobile network with instantaneous and continuous Internet connectivity. The demonstration featured seamless switching between shore-based and satellite-based Internet connections with transparent router reconfiguration.

Rear Admiral Ronald F. Silva, Commander, Ninth Coast Guard District, and Dr. Julian Earls, Glenn's deputy director, were on hand to introduce the presenters' explanations of the technology.

"The importance of this technology lies in its mobility, security and scalability," said Phil Paulsen, project manager in the Space Communications Office at Glenn. "These improvements translate into cost savings and increased efficiency, because seamless interoperability between space, air, sea, and ground-based systems leverages the huge investment already made in terrestrial network systems."

Use of existing technology and assets to transfer data via the Internet is expected to reduce the cost to operate satellites and support systems through reuse and sharing of infrastructure as well as a reduction in the human intervention needed to reconfigure network systems.

Jim Massa, vice president of Cisco Systems, Inc., Global Defense and Space Group, adds, "Teaming with NASA Glenn has allowed us to collaborate in the research and development of mobile networking solutions utilizing the mobile networking features in the Cisco IOS® software. These efforts provide all aspects of the government the ability to use networks in motion to achieve their mission goals and objectives. We are tremendously pleased with the results of our collective effort on the Neah Bay."

"NASA Glenn helped Western DataCom develop the needed encryption technology by providing engineers and networks for testing. This event has been a huge success for all parties involved and will surely improve the visibility of Cleveland's high tech community," added Phil Ardire, president and CEO of Western DataCom, Inc.

The demonstration was made possible with assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard District 9, Cleveland, the United States Army PEO C3-T, Ft. Monmouth, N.J., Lockheed Martin Management & Data Systems, King of Prussia, Pa., Globalstar, San Jose, Calif., Stallion Technologies, Soquel, Calif., and Sea Tel, Inc., Concord, Calif.

As part of NASA's Vision to improve life here on Earth, Glenn has been at the forefront of research into the use of Internet Protocols in space with its geostationary communications research platform, the Advanced Communication Technology Satellite, which was developed and is operated by Glenn. Further work has continued under Human Exploration and Development of Space and Earth Science Enterprise initiatives at NASA.

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