I am sure while surfing social media you have come across several posts quoting this.

But is it real?

Is it true that NASA really has ‘’91GBPS’’ internet speed?

The answer is NO, the internet speed at NASA isn’t ‘’91GBPS’’. This post is a hoax.

So what is the truth?

That speed was achieved on a special connection between two research centre, SC13 in Denver and the NASA Goddard facility in Maryland, during a specific experiment. It’s obvious that for research purpose NASA doesn’t use broadband connection like common people. The experiment utilized a network, popularly known as shadow network, which allows site to site file transfer at up to 100 gigabits per second [not Gigabyte per second], for two sites connected via ESnet (Energy Science Network).

Bit vs Byte

Many people don’t understand or get confused by the terms Bit and Byte. Let’s understand the concept of a bit and a byte.

1 Byte = 8 Bits

1 Bit = (1/8) Byte

1 Bit = 0.125 Byte

1 Kilobit = 0.125×1000 Byte = 125 Byte

1 Megabit = 125×1000 Byte = 125 Kilobyte

1 Gigabit = 125×1000 Kilobyte= 125 Megabyte

91 Gigabit = 91×125 Megabyte = 11375 Megabyte = 11.375 Gigabyte

So, 91 Gigabit/s (91 Gbps) = 11.375 Gigabyte/s (GBps)

(The capital ‘B’ represents Byte and small ‘b’ represents Bit)

So the data speed for that specific experiment was 11.375 GBps. That too doesn’t mean NASA’s internet speed is the same.

So, now you know that the post is a hoax.

Now let’s understand the network NASA has been using

Organisations like Google, Microsoft, NASA use some special network for research purpose. NASA used a network called ESnet, which stands for Energy Science Network. It is described by some as a shadow network. ESnet also links researchers at national laboratories, universities and other research institutions which is operated by the U.S. Department of Energy. ESnet has two types of connection, 100Gb/s and 40 Gb/s. It is also linked with many European research facilities.

The Experiment That NASA Conducted!

In May 2014 NASA has conducted an experiment to find out the maximum speed of file transfer within different research facilities (NASA’s Goddard research centre at Maryland and SC13 in Denver) between two computers placed apart at a distance of appx. 2,500 km (1,553 miles). They have achieved 91Gb/s (Gigabits per second) speed. The experiment use ESnet which allows up to 100 Gb/s speed.