IGF 2022 WS #491 The future of Interplanetary networks-A talk with Vint Cerf

Wednesday, 30th November, 2022 (10:50 UTC) - Wednesday, 30th November, 2022 (11:50 UTC)

Organizer 1: Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group
Organizer 2: Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Organizer 3: Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Organizer 4: Civil Society, Eastern European Group
Organizer 5: Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group

Speaker 1: Vinton CERF, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Veronica Piccolo, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Nicolas Fiumarelli, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 4: Mauricia Cindy Abdol Tshilunda, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization


Other - 60 Min
Format description: It will be a U roundtable but with one speaker - Vint Cerf - in the spotlight. The other seats will be occupied by youth leaders and youth audience. There will be an air of informality during the discussion to facilitate honest exchange of thoughts between Vint and youth.

Policy Question(s)

1. Innovation Potential of the Internet. Is a similar breakthrough in the context of digitalization, which took place when the Internet was created, still possible? 2. Potentiality of Interplanetary networks. What are the opportunities for the world with the Interplanetary networks and which problems that exist today may disappear with the further development of these new systems? In particular, will it solve the meaningful connectivity challenge that we face today for good? And if not Interplanetary networks, how do we ensure meaningful digital connectivity to every denizen of the Earth? 3. Challenges of Interplanetary networks. The most groundbreaking inventions in the history of mankind were born "out of nothing", while today’s innovation builds on top of previous ones and it requires international cooperation. When it comes to interplanetary networks what are the main difficulties to be overcome from a technical, geo-spatial and geo-political point of view?

Connection with previous Messages: Our session is inline with one of the key takeaways of IGF 2021, i.e. the need to incorporate more youth in mainstream discussions, as they are one of the key stakeholders and the future custodians of the Internet. We find it present in all the IGF 2021 messages.


4. Quality Education
8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
17. Partnerships for the Goals

Targets: This session unravels how Interplanetary networks have the potential to be the ultimate system to connect the unconnected, and therefore targets SDGs 4, 8, 9 and 17. SDGs 4, 8, and 9. Interplanetary networks do not yet exist but they may have the potential to provide Internet access in remote areas provided that a new delay and disruption tolerant protocol is developed and implemented. This requires huge investments in R&D in the ICT industry, staff upskilling, as well as the upscaling of undergraduate education and postgraduate research. In this session the co-developer of the TCP/IP protocol, Vint Cerf, and the younger generations will discuss possible ways forward to explore the social impact of this new solution and potential industrial implementations for a more equitable access to economic resources, decent jobs and quality education. SDG 17. Interplanetary networks require a truly global effort. This proposal is therefore aimed at exploring inter-continental collaborations, multi-stakeholder partnerships and cross-generational dialogues and engagement to facilitate the actualisation of such achievement.


The Internet is at a crossroad. With constant attempts towards changing the basic fabric of it, we need a new band of custodians who will step up to champion our shared Internet values. During such a time, it is important to have constant interactions between the experts and stalwarts of the field, and the next generation, i.e. the youth. This session will feature a conversation betweenVinton Cerf - co-developer of TCP/IP and Turing Award Winner (2004) - and young people about the future development of the Internet and the developments on Interplanetary Networking. As we know, we are entering a new space age, with a multitude of private players revolutionizing the playing field completely. Hence, we need to think ahead about the requirements such a development will bring. Delay and disruption tolerant networking is a push towards that. Apart from having a standardized communication protocol for Interplanetary networking, a delay and disruption tolerant protocol will connect the unconnected and make remote regions of the earth more accessible. The session will give ample floor to the youth to tell everyone what future they want for the Internet. They will have a chance to speak for themselves, their community, their country, on how they see the solutions to their problems could be solved with future developments of the Internet. The session will carry a lot of informality and will encourage out of box thinking.

Expected Outcomes

We expect the participants to leave with renewed optimism and an increased enthusiasm regarding bringing the change to have a better Internet by becoming the change. We would measure this by the number of participants who sign up to become a member of youth organizations in IG and pledge to actively participate in the projects within those organizations. We expect the participants to get a good introduction to delay and disruption tolerant networking and its potential in making Interplanetary Networking possible. We expect our participants to think out of box on its implementation in solving connectivity issues on Earth as well. We would publish a blog article of our session, and share the key points across all the Youth organizations in IG, namely the Internet Society Youth Standing Group (YSG) and the Youth Coalition on Internet Governance (YCIG).

Hybrid Format: We will have an onsite moderator directing the session and giving the floor to the speakers both on site and online. In the slots for opinions and questions from the public/audience, for each of the questions, the onsite moderator will be attentive to the physical queue and will ask the online moderator in the case of hands raised or written comments, in which case the questions will be allowed in a round-robin basis (that is, starting with the online hands and written chats, and then following the physical queue, and so on). The online moderator has the main task of maintaining the order of the raised hands and written chat, reading the questions and giving the floor to online audience speakers. That way we will achieve an equal foot between the online and on-site audience The session aims to facilitate a roundtable discussion where participants are able to ask questions and leave comments both online and onsite. For this purpose, the session will feature both online and onsite moderators who will have regular communication to keep the participants equally engaged. While the onsite moderator will hear the participants’ questions, physically attending the session, the online moderator will be keeping an eye on the questions and comments that are shared online and bring these into the discussion by communicating it to the onsite moderator. There will be a third party application for polling which could be accessed by both on-site and online participants. This way, the speakers and organizers will have the pulse of the audience in real time and it will shape the discussions moving forward.

Online Participation


Usage of IGF Official Tool.


Session Report (* deadline 26 October) - click on the ? symbol for instructions

Report Session 491: The future of Interplanetary networks

  • There’s a potential for the interplanetary network to solve the problems with the diverse internet network infrastructure on the ground. It is not only a topic related to how to transport data from Earth to the different planets but also how to communicate between them. This implies the development of new ways or forms of packaging the information and ensure will be transmitted fast and similar to what we do on Earth. 
  • The main developments started in 1998 with the Pathfinder project on Mars —(1997). The necessity of creating communication between Earth and Mars. 
  • What we need from there in 25 years (2023) is IPN to use TCP/IP as it works on Earth. 
  • The solution found is in the Bundle protocols to answer the constantly changing nature of the planets. Store data on the network. Transmit to the right planet, and then you try to figure out how to get there. Two-way process (28.5 kb/s direct to Earth radio link // Delated communication.)
  • For this some technical aspects are the ones to have into account: Hold, orbiters, deep impact space networks, transmit. Low latency → TCP/I, IBR-DTN // ION, the implementation of DTN and LEO, near-term terrestrial and cloud testing 
  • But is not everything about the technical aspect, there will be legal aspects to this and some of them are part of Artemis' accord on how jurisdiction would like in an extraplanetary context. Mission Artemis to the moon.
  • This can be considered as a possible beginning of the commercialization experience of the Internet beyond the LEO. Private operation on space. 
  • At this moment, Vint asked himself and invited the public to think about how we create new institutions in order to cooperate together in a way not threaten space in the same way as earth space.
  • Additional registry for IPN? No, it will be better an independent Internet on the other planets, with distinct and separate IP addresses for the lower cases we have on the moon and other planets. 
  • Solar relay to transmit no matter where you are in the internet solar system. Congestion Control: Storing models, store, and forward network. 
  • All standards in IPN are open, and usually reject things that have patents and restrictions on them. Open source as a way of driving innovation. 
  • Veronica addressed the problem of using commercial technology in order to develop a new one. How this could possibly translate into the future of IPN?
  • Nowadays, research is built on top of the previous ones, like in a pyramid. In order to scale the pyramid and place a new block on the top, you have to get the permission of each person who placed the block below and supports yours.
  • The problem is when the block is a patent, you have to pay handsomely to lay your block on top of it, and in the ICT industry, there’s a huge amount of patents.
  • Some patents get included in standards (SEP, standard essential patents).
    • Bottleneck, because all the market operators have to pay to implement that standard, and it gives the patent holder the power to foreclose the market and stifle innovation.
  • The reasons why a patent becomes a SEP.
  • Market-driven, 
  • the standardization process is not very transparent. When private companies join a Standard setting organization, they should be obliged to disclose their patents (to allow the SSO to find an alternative to proprietary technical norms), and, in case no alternative can be found, they should commit to grant FRAND royalties.
  • Not all the SSOs provide for mandatory disclosure, or they don’t provide penalties for violation.
  • The technical community has to keep into consideration these elements if they want the interplanetary networks to be developed on open standards.
  • A way to solve this could happen with a more gender balance in the development of the technologies related to IPN one example of the benefits of diversity is the development of federated learning made by a woman which consists of different AI models and gathers as one.
  • Leading to the conclusions,  one can be promoting alliances between commercial and others to reduce costs, some way of multistakelholderism with Government and private sector. 
  • How this development of IPN actually also is going to help possible extraterrestrial life, we found 
  •  Serve humanity and not governments.
  • LEO can possibly overcome shutdowns, and we say possibly because after the signals and all of that can be detected. 
  • Possible Takeaway: One is the legal and commercial aspect of the development and deployment of the technologies related to the Interplanetary Network (IPN) and how these regulations would happen in a way that actually what we do in space doesn’t become a thread as it happened and is happening now on Earth. Also, how these are going to allow easy collaboration between the private sector and the States with interest to design, develop, and implement these Technologies related to the creation of an or several IPN.
  • The other Takeaway is related to how these technologies can work as a way to solve problems of interconnection here on Earth and in Space, how the combination, implementation, and appliance of those could complement and work in a way that can guarantee basic human rights and a constant connection beyond cultural, political and other related sociological activity, these means get the technical standard that can work as much in the independence of human intervention but having embedded a humanity first perspective.