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SIGNAL Connections

New Products

February 16, 2010

Small Satellite Data Transceiver
Designed for embedded applications such as remote asset tracking, this small satellite data transceiver permits two-way communications to and from remote devices. The matchbox-sized Iridium 9602 transceiver can be remotely reprogrammed and adjusted to provide specific data updates. For more information, visit www.iridium.com.

 

All-Weather Enclosure and Backbone System
Communications and networking equipment in austere military and commercial facilities must be protected from the elements. The RuggedBackbone MX5000 is a military-standard hardened multiservice platform designed to operate across a wide temperature range and to support high-density routing and switching while being resistant to high levels of electromagnetic and radio-frequency interference. The MX500 can be housed in the RuggedEnclosure, a welded aluminum, hard-mount enclosure engineered to house networking and communications equipment and to enhance their resistance to shock, vibration, emissions, temperature and humidity. For more information, visit www.ruggedcom.com.

Homefront Help

February 16, 2010
SIGNAL Staff

Homefront Help is SIGNAL Connections’ effort to support U.S. service members, veterans and their families. The column highlights programs that offer resources and assistance to the military community ranging from care packages to benefits and everything in between. In that same spirit, Homefront Help presents opportunities for readers to donate time, offer resources and send words of thanks to those who sacrifice for freedom. Programs that provide services are listed in red. Opportunities for the public to reach out to service members are listed in blue. Each program description includes a link to the organization's Web site, when available.

Army Researchers Focus on Smart, Stealthy Antennas

February 16, 2010
by Henry S. Kenyon

If U.S. Army scientists have their way, future antennas for vehicles and dismounted infantry will be smaller and more nondescript and will feature greatly increased reception. Research is focusing on lightweight conformal antennas that can be built into soldiers’ uniforms and equipment as well as vehicle structures.

One of the major thrusts of the Army’s work is making antennas less obvious, says Dr. Steven Weiss, team leader of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory’s (ARL’s) antenna team. He notes that Army researchers also are examining new technologies such as metamaterials—engineered substances that do not have properties found in nature. For example, mounting antennas to conform to the side or the inside of a vehicle can affect their performance, but antennas made of metamaterials may counteract some of these effects.

The Army is interested in developing conformal antennas for ground vehicles. These could be used for communications or jamming improvised explosive devices. Because they are part of the vehicle’s structure, they lower its overall visual profile, making it more survivable on the battlefield. Antennas could be inconspicuously mounted onto vehicles in a number of ways: flush against the vehicle’s skin, incorporated into part of its structure such as a bumper, or conformed to the contours of the vehicle’s shape.

But developing conformal antennas for ground vehicles presents a variety of challenges. These issues include ground effects, such as radio interference, and size and weight issues for vehicles equipped with the antennas. 

New Products

January 15, 2010
SIGNAL Staff

Encryptor for High-Frequency Radios
This device is designed to support manpack radios and transceiver systems. The DV AES-256 Encryptor is engineered to improve the quality of voice communications in harsh and noisy environments. The encryptor can be programmed via a radio handset or the front panel of the transceiver. The device features 258-bit AES encryption, 128-bit CES encryption and frequency hopping keys. For more information, visit www.codanusinc.com.

Reinforced Weapons Cases

 
Warfighters and law enforcement personnel sometimes need to transport weapons and other long pieces of equipment without damaging them. The 1750 and 1720 weapons cases feature stainless steel hardware, double throw latches that can withstand up to 400 pounds of pull force, and four locking points that can accept standard or Transportation Security Administration-accepted locks. The cases’ rugged outer shells are made from a high-impact, heat- and chemical-resistant polymer. For more information, visit www.pelican.com.

Experimental Protocol May Speed Battlefield Bits and Bytes

January 15, 2010
by Henry S. Kenyon

Managing bandwidth over military computer networks is critical for modern combat operations. An experimental networking protocol may help get vital information to warfighters by tracking data and giving priority to specific users, such as a unit involved in a firefight.

The Military Networking Protocol (MNP) program is an effort by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop new techniques to improve cybersecurity, promote dynamic bandwidth allocation and create policy-based prioritization service levels at the individual and unit levels. To improve security, program engineers are working on router technologies that include strong authentication and self-configuration capabilities. Smart networks also would reduce the need for additional network support personnel and would lower life-cycle costs for managing the network.

One of the goals of the new protocol is the ability to track data across a network, from its origin to its end point. This is something that current computer systems cannot do, explains Dr. Timothy Gibson, DARPA’s MNP program manager. The program builds on a previous DARPA effort called Control Plane, which developed devices called flow routers that managed data traffic across computer networks, he adds.

Managing a variety of data flows provides administrators with a great degree of fine-tuned control over throughput and other aspects of the system. “Before, we couldn’t really manage flows,” Gibson observes. But if data flows can be managed, they can be tracked. He explains that placing identifiers into the data moving across a network also can provide full attribution down to the individual or unit level for each data stream.

Sponsored Products

January 15, 2010
SIGNAL Staff

CPI

 
CPI’s SuperLinear® TWTAs, including the 40 W Ka-band outdoor amplifier pictured, are designed for optimal operation at backoff power levels that are required in order to meet traditional international intermodulation specifications. This has resulted in a line of HPAs that is smaller, lighter and runs cooler than competing products.

Most traditional high power amplifiers (HPAs) are designed to run from small signal to saturated power. In practice however, the true usable power in a typical uplink application is limited by linearity requirements set by Intelsat and other satellite organizations. Thus, while power backoff of 3 to 7 dB is all that is ever required, one still needs the top end peak power to avoid clipping of the transmitted signal. This clipping results in Intermodulation products, spectral regrowth, and other non-linearities. Operating power must be limited to a maximum –3 dB from the maximum peak power for low bit-error rates when transmitting QPSK, QAM, CDMA, and OFDM signals.

Joint Army System Boasts Hybrid Network

January 15, 2010
By Amy Walker

Knowing the locations of friendly forces and enemy combatants can be the difference between life and death on the battlefield. The Joint Battle Command-Platform, or JBC-P, the second increment of the Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2), plots the participants of war for quick, precise identification. The JBC-P will employ both a celestial and terrestrial network to optimize bandwidth, efficiency and speed to adapt to various terrains and situations.

“JBC-P is one of the most relevant pieces of kit today,” Maj. Gen. Nickolas G. Justice, USA, the commanding general of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, says. He formerly served as the program executive officer for Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications Tactical (PEO C3T), where he was the JBC-P Milestone B decision authority. “We are a ground-based force and everything we do, we do in the context of a map,” he states.

Homefront Help

January 15, 2010
SIGNAL Staff

Homefront Help is SIGNAL Connections’ effort to support U.S. service members, veterans and their families. The column highlights programs that offer resources and assistance to the military community ranging from care packages to benefits and everything in between. In that same spirit, Homefront Help presents opportunities for readers to donate time, offer resources and send words of thanks to those who sacrifice for freedom. Programs that provide services are listed in red. Opportunities for the public to reach out to service members are listed in blue. Each program description includes a link to the organization's Web site, when available.

Military Moves Social Networking to Safety

January 15, 2010
by Rita Boland

The U.S. military has added a third feature to its knowledge management tool suite milSuite by imitating a popular social networking site behind the firewall. MilBook enables users to create personal accounts as well as public and private groups to facilitate networking and data sharing. The application diminishes stovepipes by connecting people working on similar projects and moves information that might have been posted on a commercial site open to the world into a more protected environment.

MilBook went live at the beginning of October 2009, joining its predecessors milWiki and milBlog. Information about the features’ users is linked through virtual business cards. When people sign into milWiki or milBook, the cards are created automatically as the platforms pull core data from users' Army Knowledge Online/Defense Knowledge Online (AKO/DKO) profiles. People can expand their milBook profiles by adding additional information not present in their other profiles. Visitors can click on the wiki authors' names and learn more about them from the virtual business card.

Justin Filler, the deputy director of MilTech Solutions, says that the ability to learn more about other users allows visitors to validate information they find as well as to access contact information. MilTech Solutions, the office that created and manages the tool suite, falls under Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications Tactical. The office works with a consortium of other organizations—mainly in the U.S. Army—to develop and provide the services.

New Products

December 15, 2009
SIGNAL Staff

Network Access Control Device

 
Protecting data networks from intrusion and malicious attacks is of vital importance as cyber attacks escalate. The Veri-NAC is designed to prevent network security breaches by only permitting authorized computers and devices onto a defined network. Installing the device does not require the loading of software agents on connected machines. For more information, visit www.blackbox.com.

Laser Thin-Film Scriber

 

The Octopus is designed to scribe thin-film materials such as photovoltaic cells. The device features 16 independently controlled fiber-delivery channels for scribing individual targets. For more information, visit www.eolite.com.

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