How fast is NASA’s WiFi?

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Throughout this article, we’ll be discussing how fast is NASA’s WiFi speed and also pointing out some other related aspects.

Since the rumors of NASA having a lightning-fast internet have resurfaced, many people are curious to learn about the actual connection speed of NASA’s Wi-Fi. Is it really 91 GBs per second, or is it just a rumor?

To answer this question and more, we have made a detailed guide that will disclose the truth about NASA’s internet speed. Also, you will get to know why they need an internet connection in space and what they do with such high-speed Wi-Fi.

How fast is NASA’s WiFi?

According to the most trusted sources, NASA’s Wi-Fi runs at an astounding speed of 91 gigabits per second. That means it is arround 13,000 times faster than the average internet speed of households which is about 20-25 Mpbs.

This lightning-fast speed was recorded by NASA in 2014, while they were conducting their Wi-Fi speed test.

How fast is NASA's WiFi 1

Gigabytes vs Gigabits – What’s the difference?

While a majority of us might be familiar with the terms “Megabytes” and “Gigabytes”, Gigabits is a relatively new and unique term. Therefore, many people often get confused between “Bytes” and “Bits”.

To get a better understanding of this term, let us first explain the relation between bit and byte:

A bit is the fundamental unit of data in a computer.  It has a single binary value of 0 or 1. Like a cell in the human body, it is the building block of data transmission.

On the other hand, 1 byte is made up of 8 bits, and it’s a larger unit used for data transfer and communication.

So:

  • 1 Byte = 8 Bits
  • 1 Bit = 0.125 Byte
  • 1 Megabit = 0.125 × 1,000,000 = 125,000 byte or 125 Kilobyte
  • 1 Gigabit = 125,000 × 1000 = 125,000,000 or 125 Megabyte
  • 91 Gigabit = 91 × 125,000,000 = 11.375 Gigabyte

Therefore, NASA’s internet connection has an incredible speed of 11.375 Gigabytes, not 91 Gigabytes.

How to see other computers on the network in Windows 10
How to see other computers on the network in Windows 10

How did NASA achieve this staggering internet speed?

In 2013, NASA’s internet made headlines with its data transmission rate of 622 megabits per second. They used laser communication and transferred data from its headquarters to a probe, which was at a distance of 380,000 Km in lunar orbit.

Since NASA always relied on radio frequency for space communication, using laser surfaces instead of radio waves was a breakthrough in their internet history.

So, how did NASA’s Wi-Fi go from 622 Mbps to 91 Gbps?

NASA doesn’t rely on a typical service provider for its internet access; instead, they use a different type of shadow network called “ESnet” (Energy Science Network).  They created this shadow network between two research centers during an experiment conducted in 2014.

The purpose of creating this network was to find out the maximum file transfer speed when the computers are at a great distance (2500 Km) from each other.

As a result of this experiment, they achieved a data transfer speed of 100 gigabits per second. And, this is how NASA got 13000 times faster internet speed than us. Furthermore, since this speed resulted from a specific experiment, it doesn’t mean NASA’s Wi-Fi is still working at the same speed.

If you are wondering you can access ESnet easily, remember you are not the only one who thought about it. Many hackers have attempted to access the network, and they have failed miserably. It is because this network is secured by a multitude of firewalls to keep the data safe from cybercriminals.

 

Global business network

Why does NASA need such high-speed internet access?

NASA needs fast internet access so that its employees can play games without lagging? Or do people at NASA need a high download speed so they can stream movies online in space without any delay?

The real reason why NASA needs a powerful internet network is that they need to complete all crucial tasks efficiently. Obviously, they can’t rely on a sluggish and unprotected network to transfer confidential data that needs to be delivered in the blink of an eye.

Therefore, they require secure and quick internet access to effectively manage all the important information and data.

Since more than 17000 people work at NASA, a regular internet speed of 25 Mbps is not enough for them. Furthermore, as NASA has ten headquarters around the globe, a slow network can hinder cross-country communication and result in delays in response and action.

So, these are the few reasons why NASA needs such a high-speed internet connection.

Wrap Up

Till now, you might be wondering that NASA has the fastest internet speed in the world. However, this is not true. In 2020, researchers in Japan and UK recorded a new internet speed of 178 terabits per second or 182,272 gigabits per second, which is about 17,800 times faster than NASA’s internet.

According to one of the lead researchers of this experiment, they are working on another technology that will utilize optical fiber bandwidth more efficiently and give a worldwide data transfer rate of 178 Tb/s. Hopefully, until then, NASA too would be able to use this blazing network for carrying out its future missions.