military communication systems have limited ability to support mobile,
distributed operations in remote geographic areas due to the small size of
networks and relatively short range of military radios. Today, military mobile
ad hoc networks (MANETs) are used to relay communications services beyond the
range of a single radio.
Current military communication
systems have limited ability to support mobile, distributed operations in remote
geographic areas due to the small size of networks and relatively short range of
military radios. Today, military mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs) are used to
relay communications services beyond the range of a single radio. However, when
MANETs grow, the traffic is divided into the number of users served by the
networks, and the service data rate delivered to an individual in a MANET drops
to a small fraction of the radio capability. The scaling limitations of a
MANET—typically 10s to 100s of users—are reached when the traffic that can be
delivered to an individual becomes unacceptably low. Much larger networks will
be needed as operations become more distributed and increased numbers of
autonomous sensors are deployed.
DARPA’s Fixed Wireless at a Distance
program seeks to enable pervasive, high-throughput military communications using
a mobility backbone infrastructure that provides unlimited scalability for
high-speed communication for warfighters.
The program envisions advanced
fixed military transmission facilities and capabilities placed in protected
areas, such as the confines of a forward operating base; on strategic
high-terrain features; atop structures of opportunity; or on aerostats. Signals
from these multiple, distributed sources are combined to reach a distant
“client” radio or radios.
This is similar to commercial infrastructure,
such as cellular base stations and WiFi access points, which also provide
infrastructure to improve pervasiveness of communication services. The key
differences between Fixed Wireless at a Distance and commercial architectures
are that this program seeks to maximize geographic coverage area rather than
population size, and the system must support mobility and expeditionary
activities where infrastructure cannot always be installed in advance of
Service delivery is expected to support three types
of client radio systems – enhanced range communication devices, legacy military
radio systems and commercial communications systems (such as 3G/4G cellular and
WiFi) for operations in the vicinity of the forward operating base.
program has been structured in three phases: Phase 1– Prototype Development;
Phase 2 – Technology Development; and Phase 3 – Demonstration System
Dr. Richard Ridgwayrichard.firstname.lastname@example.org