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Vint Cerf Ponders Interplanetary Internet

TCP/IP co-developer and current Google evangelist Vint Cerf gave a wide-ranging talk in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday evening, in which he opined on consumer password management (it "sucks") and cloud computing (needs improved inter-cloud communication), and called for the creation of a public "cyber fire department" to help companies amid security crises.

But for Internet observers, the money portion of the speech might wouldn't have been out of place at a talk by the late astronomer Carl Sagan.

The fun part of the talk came when he moved to discussing his plans for "InterPlaNetary Internet." This seemingly science-fiction effort aims to solve a genuine problem: the point-to-point communication that has worked acceptably well for individual missions to other planets doesn't scale as we send more hardware Out There and expect more data back. A networked communications system would make more sense, but the Internet's protocols need to be adapted. Specifically, they can't handle the long latency of communication from here to Mars or beyond -- "The speed of light is too slow," he noted -- and they do need to have every packet of data authenticated, given the costs of a compromised system stuck 200 million miles away."

You can read the full story here, at Rob Pegoraro's Washington Post "Faster Forward" column.

The home page for the InterPlaNetary Internet SIG is here.

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