Security Encyclopedia

Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN)

Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN) is a project of the US government’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to provide Wide Area Network (WAN) Internet access for the solar system, or reasonably so. 

NASA has embarked on this project to retire the antiquated means of communicating extraterrestrially and to answer the advanced communication needs arising from, for example, the International Space Station (ISS). Work performed today is providing the foundation for a Solar System Internet (SSI) that would serve the needs of advanced applications development and data transfer between and among earth, the ISS, and the needed relays. Specific challenges include the unique conditions present in space that cause disruptions, as well as long distances and how to make data travel consistently, fluidly, and intact. To resolve these hurdles, a system of relays that field, store and forward data methodically are being developed sp that the orbital Internet experience mirrors the terrestrial. 

DTN’s longform is sometimes written as Delay/Disruption Tolerant Networking (still, DTN) due to its goal of being resistant to the aforementioned deferments and interruptions. 


“NASA is leading a DTN project to build a wireless communications network that will provide a reliable internet connection between earth and the international space station. The development of this network will lead to the creation of the largest WAN, greater than the world wide web, and it will be so advanced as to account for all kinds of disruptions and delays inherent in the distance and unique conditions.”