Although satellites have been passively relaying IP traffic since the 1970s, the use of an orbiting satellite as an active part of the Internet is a more recent development, according to Wood.Link (via /.)
Traditionally, communication signals that come up to a satellite in either the C-band or the Ku-band, go down in the same band, he said. They require separate transponders that don't communicate with each other.
Internet routing technology being tested in the IRIS project will enable this communication by "decoding what comes up in the C-band or Ku-band and interconnecting the two," said Wood.
"You save on delays and capacity by not having to go back to the ground," said Wood. "And once you have smarter satellites, you can treat them as not completely separate but as part of your IP network and manage them as you do your IP networking assets on the ground. They become fully integrated with your terrestrial network, allowing you to take advantage of existing management tools and also decrease the number of ground stations."