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Interplanetary Internet

Added on: March 12th, 2012 by Afsal Meerankutty No Comments

Increasingly, network applications must communicate with counterparts across disparate networking environments characterized by significantly different sets of physical and operational constraints; wide variations in transmission latency are particularly troublesome. The proposed Interplanetary Internet (IPN), which must encompass both terrestrial and interplanetary links, is an extreme case. An architecture based on a protocol that can operate successfully and reliably in multiple disparate environments would simplify the development and deployment of such applications. The Internet protocols are ill suited for this purpose. They are, in general, poorly suited to operation on paths in which some of the links operate intermittently or over extremely long propagation delays. The principle problem is reliable transport, but the operations of the Internet’s routing protocols would also raise troubling issues.

It is this analysis that leads us to propose architecture based on Internet-independent middleware: use exactly those protocols at all layers that are best suited to operation within each environment, but insert a new overlay network protocol between the applications and the locally optimized stacks. This new protocol layer, called the bundle layer, ties together the region-specific lower layers so that application programs can communicate across multiple regions.
The DTN architecture implements store-and-forward message switching.

A DTN is a network of regional networks, where a regional network is a network that is adapted to a particular communication region, wherein communication characteristics are relatively homogeneous. Thus, DTNs support interoperability of regional networks by accommodating long delays between and within regional networks, and by translating between regional communication characteristics.

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