Going into outer space is hard. Freeze-dried food, bulky suits, stuff floating around all the time in zero-G conditions. Now, you can add another hardship: slow Internet connection speeds. As one astronaut on the International Space Station tweeted: “(It’s) worse than what dial-up was like.” Even if the tech involved is similar to what we see here on terra firma, the great distances between the network of satellites used by NASA and the Station itself conspire to slow everything down to a crawl.
Space received Internet access only five years ago, when it was decided that surfing the Web during down times could improve the quality of life on the astronauts living on the ISS. The link is plugged into the same channel that covers all other spacecraft operations, from telemetry to adjusting the Station’s thermostat. And the bandwidth isn’t bad, either: astronauts can upload or download large-format video files with no problem. It’s just very slow. Things may improve, however, as NASA is planning to switch to a laser-based method of Internet connectivity, which should speed things up.
So if you’re experiencing slow Wi-Fi, just know that some of the world’s finest have it even worse. But also know that there’s also something you can do about it: visit our website to learn how you can speed up Wi-Fi throughout your home.