When the Space Shuttle program returns to flight this summer, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s Mission Command and Telemetry Network – recently upgraded by Nortel* [NYSE/TSX: NT] – will enable critical information and data to be shared between the Space Shuttle Discovery, the International Space Station, and NASA operations centers.
NASA’s critical data is transmitted across a U.S. and international network of Nortel backbone routers. To support the Space Shuttle, this network is operational 24 hours a day to ensure there is no interruption to the flow of vital information. The same network also supports the Mars Rover, the Hubble Telescope, and other NASA programs.
“Nortel PEC* Solutions* is expert at building highly reliable networks,” said Chuck Saffell, president, Nortel Federal Solutions. “It’s simply a part of our DNA. We are very proud to have the opportunity to apply our expertise to help support NASA’s return to shuttle flights. Our collaboration with NASA is another example of how Nortel is focused on securing and protecting the world’s most critical information.”
In addition to playing an important role in NASA’s Mission Network, Nortel PEC Solutions has also deployed a Nortel Mobility Solution at Kennedy Space Center, including a Nortel Wireless Mesh Network and an integrated operations support system (OSS) platform provided by Pronto Networks. More than 2,500 journalists expected at the launch will be able to use the network to report on the historic flight.
With this network, reporters on the ground at the six-acre NASA Press Site will have the flexibility to use their wireless-enabled laptops and handheld computing devices to seamlessly and securely access the Internet, e-mail, file sharing and other applications. Designed to deliver user mobility, the Wireless Mesh Network will provide reporters with secure and continuous access to the Internet while moving throughout the observation area, increasing productivity by allowing them to report on the story in real-time.
“Nortel’s Wireless Mesh Network solution will enable journalists from around the world to report on Space Shuttle Discovery’s historic Return to Flight mission,” said Joseph LaMarca, Jr., communications director for The Boeing* Company in Florida and a member of the Joint Industry Press Center team. “This innovative new technology is something that has been needed at the press site, and we’re very excited to be able to offer this to media from around the world thanks to Nortel’s support.”
"Nortel’s Wireless Mesh Network solution is ideal for this type of application because it offers broader portable coverage leveraging the cost-effectiveness of Wi-Fi. Using this solution can provide users with reliable and secure network access," said Lindsay Schroth, senior analyst, Yankee Group. "People need the ability to be connected anywhere at any time."
Nortel's Wireless Mesh Network solution uses wireless links to connect access points in large open areas to provide secure, seamless access to wireless broadband services. This solution is designed to allow organizations to install wireless local area networks (LANs) in areas where it is difficult or cost prohibitive to run cables.
Together with Nortel's mobility solution, Pronto Networks’ fully integrated OSS platform enabled the complete wireless network to ‘go live’ in just a matter of days, not weeks. Pronto Networks key capabilities for this deployment include user registration, secure authentication, subscriber management, flexible billing, customer portal customization, and remote network management. Pronto Networks is enabling all the back-office functionality for the wireless network and is hosting the service from its data center in San Jose, Calif.
The NASA Press Site is well suited to wireless mesh technology. Wireless mesh can also be used to provide high-speed communications in war zones, on military bases and university campuses, and at disaster sites, border crossings, airports, convention centers, indoor and outdoor sporting venues, and other public and private locations.
Wireless Mesh provides a strong foundation for Nortel's ‘Office Anywhere’ mobility solution for the Virtual Enterprise, designed to allow dispersed employees to collaborate as effectively as though they were in the same office, regardless of physical location. With new applications and solutions, Nortel makes it possible for workers to take their 'Office Anywhere' through reliable, secure mobile access to business applications wherever they are working.