The US Army will soon be conducting a series of network developmental exercises and evaluations at Fort Bliss, TX and White Sands Missile Range that are intended to evaluate technologies and integrate programs into a larger tactical network for faster, more efficient communications.
A hindrance to staging complex exercises like this for operational testing of new net-centric technologies has historically been a severe scarcity of live radios. Expensive and rare at this stage of evolution, a significant quantity of functional radios is essential for testing performance in a large-scale (hundreds to perhaps thousands of devices) "system of systems" network.
Addressing this gap is a new software capability based on advanced network emulation technology that enables these kinds of pre-deployment, large-scale operational tests with few or without any real radios on hand. Developed by Scalable Network Technologies under a SBIR Phase 2.5 contract from JPEO JTRS, JNE (JTRS Network Emulator) is a new tool for testing and evaluating ad-hoc military communication networks in dynamic, highly realistic ways. Because JNE emulates the JTRS (and other) waveforms with complete realism, it can "virtually size-up" the network to a scale that is representative of the intensity and distribution of network traffic typical of battlefield deployments.
The JNE emulated network performs with all the complexity and realism of a real network - in real time, using a realistic traffic mix that would be generated by battle command applications. Because of the degree of fidelity, JNE can be integrated in live exercises using real hardware, real users, real applications, and connected to real networks.
Immediate payout from JNE includes accelerated development cycle time and cost-savings. Over the long run, rigorously tested system integration will result in robust and predictable network performance for the Soldier. Other uses that are part of the US Army and Joint Forces vision for JNE include advances in warfighter training, as well as testing and analysis of emerging software defined radio and network-centric systems.
According to the Army's vice chief of staff, Gen. Peter Chiarelli, "The network is now the Army's highest modernization priority. Having every Soldier plugged into the tactical network and giving them means to access and distribute information would give the Army a tremendous advantage (over our adversaries)."
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