Military Satellite Bandwidth

Last week’s brief-lived excitement about “censorship” of YouTube, MySpace, and other popular websites from military networks generated lots of comments about the expense and shortage of satellite bandwidth, yet few hard, fast facts.

Going some ways towards addressing that shortcoming, please check out a recent DISA report on the use of commercial satellite communications by the military and government, available here (3.8MB PowerPoint file.) For our discussions, the pertinent bit is this:

Fixed Satellite Service COMSATCOM Spending in DOD

330 million per year, just for fixed satellite bandwidth (6.4GHz of the stuff, which I cannot for the life of me figure out how to convert to a bitrate, but a learned acquaintance tells me is an impressive-looking 409,600,000,000 bps, or an even more impressive-sounding 381 Gigabits per second. Which, if you’re not technologically inclined, is a lot of bandwidth – more than many countries have.)

As the slide notes, expenditures have levelled off – thanks to efforts by DISA detailed in the presentation – but the demand for bandwidth hasn’t. It’s a serious problem, no doubt, but keep in mind two things – fixed satellites are far from being the only source of bandwidth our military has available, and the military’s eggheads are already working on the problem.

Published in: Geekiness, General, Security | on May 23rd, 2007| Comments Off on Military Satellite Bandwidth

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