Get unlimited IEEE Spectrum access

Become an IEEE member and get exclusive access to more stories and resources, including our vast article archive and full PDF downloads
Get access to unlimited IEEE Spectrum content
Network with other technology professionals
Establish a professional profile
Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
Discover IEEE events and activities
Join and participate in discussions

Subspace Rebuilt the Internet for Real-Time Applications

The company uses "Internet weather" mapping, automatic rerouting, and dedicated fiber to speed up traffic

8 min read
Carl De Torres/StoryTK

The Internet was designed to move data worldwide, and to do so in spite of disruptions from natural disasters, nuclear attacks, or other catastrophes. At first the goal was just to increase the volume of data moving over networks. But with the rising importance of real-time applications like videoconferencing and online gaming, what now matters most is reducing latency—the time it takes to move data across the network.

By forcing vast numbers of people to work and socialize remotely, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has greatly increased the demand for time-sensitive applications. The challenges begin at one end of the network, where the data's sender is located, and continue along the route all the way to the user waiting to receive the data at the other end. When you pass data in real time along multiple routes among a number of separate points, delays and disruptions often ensue. This explains the dropped calls and interruptions in conference calls.

Keep Reading ↓ Show less