How fast is NASA Wi-Fi? You might be surprised

Home Wi-Fi speeds have improved a lot over the years. But how do they compare to NASA Wi-Fi? Here’s everything we know about it.

Nasa is one of the most technologically advanced organizations on the planet, and because of that, many people wonder how fast NASA Wi-Fi is. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has accomplished a parcel since its founding in 1958. It sent the first person to the Moon, landed several rovers on Mars and is responsible for space telescopes like Hubble and James Webb.

For any business/organization in such an advanced field, it is expected to have fast internet speeds to power all of its work. Everyone now relies on wired internet and Wi-Fi to get things done, whether it’s Zoom calls, downloading work documents or streaming movies. These daily tasks already require a fast internet connection, so one can only imagine the kind of Wi-Fi something like NASA needs.


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Turns out, NASA has ridiculously fast internet…sort of. In 2013 and 2014, NASA made headlines by achieving internet speeds of 91 Gbps, an incredibly fast data rate. In some settings, the average internet speed in the United States is between 12 and 25 Mbps. If someone is really lucky, they can get home internet speeds of up to 1 and 2 Gbps. With NASA hitting speeds of 91 Gbps, that means they’re able to watch Netflix and download games faster than anyone else, right? Not exactly.

No, NASA Wi-Fi speeds are not 91 Gbps

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This 91 Gbps number that is regularly thrown around is not tied to Wi-Fi networks in NASA buildings. Instead, it was carried out via a wired connection between NASA facilities in Denver and Maryland. NASA used a network called “ESnet” for this test, which bills itself as a “high performance unclassified network designed to support scientific research.” ESnet is funded by the US Department of Energy and allows organizations to transfer data to each other much faster than traditional Internet services. Think of it as a super-powerful internet provider exclusively for research organizations. NASA sends emails and chat messages over the same kind of internet as everyone else. But for the large and important files he needs to transfer, he can count on ESnet to share them as quickly as possible.

However, this only applies to wired connections. When it comes to NASA Wi-Fi, things are much less exciting. At the time of publication, it is physically impossible for modern Wi-Fi routers to handle speeds of 91 Gbps. Wi-Fi 6E – the fastest Wi-Fi standard currently available – peaks at 9.6 Gbps. Even if NASA and ESnet wanted to bring that 91 Gbps network to normal Wi-Fi, there’s no way they could. There may come a day when Wi-Fi is just as strong, but right now it’s not.

NASA almost certainly has the best possible internet for Wi-Fi networks in all of its buildings. But it’s important to remember that none of them operate at 91 Gbps. Wired connections on a government-funded network and standard Wi-Fi access are two very different things, even with an organization like Nasa.

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Source: Cable, ESnet

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