In spite of an outcry from the federal work force for heightened access to wireless networks, U.S. government spending that would extend the service into offices reached a five-year low of $820.2 million in fiscal year 2015, a decline of 21 percent from its peak three years earlier, according to market research firm Govini.
Homeland security researchers are defining the specifications for a central hub device that will protect, connect and inform the next generation of first responders and may be one step toward a miniature Internet of Things designed specifically for emergencies. The hub may be a personal cellphone that will provide a customizable feed of voice, video and data from an array of Internet of Things sensors, enhancing response efforts and ultimately saving lives.
The ability of warfighters to be mobile and nimble is not a luxury during combat operations. It is an absolute necessity. Staying ahead of the enemy or avoiding attack often means an entire command post must move, and quickly—a mammoth challenge if the command post relies on a wired communications network with cumbersome and costly cables and equipment.
Ensuring that deployed U.S. troops can communicate and exchange information is critical to the military’s missions. That said, there are numerous challenges in deploying the high-speed tactical networks that make this communication possible. How, for example, do you make sure these networks are available when needed? What is the best way to maintain data integrity? The accuracy of the data—such as troop location—is just as important as network availability.
Network security of course also is critical. Specifically with tactical Wi-Fi networks, it is crucial to ensure our military personnel are the only ones accessing the network and there is no exfiltration going on undetected.
Technology developers and commercial service providers are racing to exploit elements of the radio frequency spectrum with advances that could be at odds with each other. Increased consumer demand for wireless services is driving providers to develop new capabilities for their systems, and the emerging Internet of Things has hardware firms vying for standard-setting technologies that would define the marketplace for future generations.
Marines at U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific (MARFORPAC) are going wireless so they can keep perpetual track of valuable items and devices inside the command's facilities. In this issue of SIGNAL Magazine, Associate Editor Rachel Eisenhower's article, "Wireless System Tackles Tracking Challenge," explores how wireless, once seen as a security liability, has become a security asset for MARFORPAC. The wireless system also could transition out to the tactical world in the near future.
A free travel app for iPhone lets you locate Wi-Fi in more than 465,000 locations in 140 countries worldwide. The Wi-Fi Finder app from JiWire Incorporated can find free or paid Wi-Fi so you can stay connected on the road. Using the Global Positioning System function on your iPhone or iPod Touch, the finder will tell you where the closest Wi-Fi hotspot is and how to get there. You can narrow down the Wi-Fi locations by provider, such as Comcast, or by location type. Choose between restaurants, hotels and more and receive a phone number and directions to the area.