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Raytheon BBN Technologies' WNaN next generation network software selected for NIE 13.1 experiment
by Staff Writers
Cambridge, MA (SPX) Nov 07, 2012


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The U.S. Army has selected the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Wireless Network after Next (WNaN) radios to support the Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) 13.1 experiment at Fort Bliss. The WNaN team consists of DARPA; Raytheon BBN Technologies, which provides the applications, networking and integration capabilities for this next generation platform; and Cobham Sensor Systems LLC, which provides innovative, low cost hardware.

BBN Technologies is a wholly owned subsidiary of Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN).

The WNaN radio provides a robust mobile ad hoc network with dynamic spectrum access, disruption tolerant networking, and multiple cooperative transceivers on a compact, hand-held platform.

These innovative networking technologies allow WNaN radios to operate in dense signal environments without dropping calls, facilitate mission command through the ability to easily set up as many as 128 call groups, and maintain situational awareness even when communications are interrupted. Because the WNaN software is delivered on low cost, commercially available components, WNaN radios can enable soldiers at every operational level to have a reliable communications device.

"Dynamic spectrum access" senses which spectrum is in use and automatically shifts to the best available frequency.

"Disruption tolerance" allows the network to continue to advance message traffic toward its intended destination even when there are outages or interruptions, and then delivers the message when the necessary path becomes available. Traditional IP networks simply drop the message packets whenever there is no complete path to the destination.

"Multiple transceivers" mean that the network can scale in density or size and operate efficiently over multiple channels.

The WNaN system participated in NIE 12.1 as a System Under Evaluation following a series of demonstrations where WNaN surpassed scalability requirements by successfully transmitting voice and data traffic across 102 nodes in a tactical environment.

"We have tested the WNaN network extensively, and WNaN performance exceeds the demands of today's Army," said Dr. Jason Redi, senior director of engineering and WNaN principal investigator for Raytheon BBN Technologies.

In coordination with DARPA, the U.S. Army purchased 125 Version 4 (next generation) WNaN radios in support of the NIE 13.1 experiment. The version 4 radio dramatically reduces size, weight and power requirements compared with the earlier version used at NIE 12.1, and it increases battery life to more than 10 hours.

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