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ISSN 1416-300X Volume
6, Issue 1,2&3 March 2003
AUSTRALIAN ARMY RESURRECTS DON10 FOR
TODAY'S C4ISR APPLICATIONS
by Major Ian Thomas of Australian Army and Mr Alec Umansky of
Defence Communications Industry Pty Ltd
A portable three-channel (P3) communications system, which provides
voice and data over copper cables, has proved integral to achieving a
complete solution for out of barracks logistics and as a platform for
diverse C4I applications.
An Australian company, Defence Communications Industry Pty Ltd, in
collaboration with Australian Army Signallers and the Army Standard Defence
Supply System (SDSS) project team, developed the
P3. The Australian Defence Force (ADF) had a need to develop a solution
that allowed its Land Local Area Network (LAN) Communications to be
extended to field deployed logistics units. The resulting deployment of
SDSS supported by a stand-alone version of SDSS called FLMS (Field
Logistics Management System) provides seamless 'in and out of barracks'
The extension of LAN communications was made possible with the use
of P3 and having been operationally proven by ADF is now included in its
new standard for field deployed communications.
P3 offers great flexibility with up to 8Mbit/s of bandwidth on each
of its three independent transmission channels using the medium of plain or
reinforced (WD1T 'DON10') copper cable. Each channel can be configured as
Master or Slave to effectively manage the bandwidth in multiples of 8 Mbit/s over distances of up to 5Kms and beyond when
configured as a repeater.
Another important issue addressed by ADF was the need to provide
redundant links (backup) for downed fibre optic networks - a regular
occurrence in the field. Signallers can easily and cheaply repair copper
cable, in sharp contrast to fibre optic cable, resulting in significant
cost savings with no loss of capability. Furthermore, P3 provides
integrated telephony; analogue voice and VoIP;
supports video conferencing, is scalable and robust yet remains easy to
use. DMT modulation inherent in DSL technology means that P3 can withstand
operation in a noisy environment and adverse climatic conditions.
Similarly, the British Army is seeking to improve the manner in
which it delivers its out of barracks logistics and supply support. A
recent successful trial by UNICOM OOB (Out Of Barracks) proved the P3's
viability in a specific local environment. Importantly, P3's bandwidth and
telephony capability were seen by the trial team as an important advantage
in a wider Army tactical communications usage.
The Canadian Army is trialling the product for an innovative 'Fire
Control' application where the device provides data as well as voice
command extensions from a ballistics computer to individual gun positions.
Again, the use of copper as the main communications medium is not only
significantly cheaper but enhances functionality by providing seamless back
up links by utlising spare P3 transmission
the issue of secure networks, a high level of data integrity is achieved
through P3's inherent DMT modulation technology. This transmission
technology distributes data over 300 individual frequency carriers. During
initialisation, each of the carriers is tested for its integrity and only
those carriers that are not affected by interferences are activated. During
this time, data packets are scrambled across active carriers. The effective
result of the data transmission can be equated with that of a 'one time
pad' - a unique transmission as data scrambling parameters exist between
two directly connected P3s only. The greater the number of users on any
given data link, the greater the scrambling effect. No external device
would be capable of "listening in" to the setting up of the
transmission parameters process, as the technology provides for two
terminal devices only during the line initialisation. In the event of a
copper line being cut, the transmission stops. Similarly, should an
external 'listening' device be introduced, the initialised transmission
parameters will alter and interrupt transmission.
Apart from Tactical C4I extensions, P3 can be used in variety of
applications. It can function in a stand-alone mode with its own
rechargeable power source, as well as being operated remotely. LAN
interfaces allow connectivity of video cameras, sensors and other telemetry
monitoring devices. Immediate applications are: rapid restoration of
communications in road tunnels, when main network links are downed and as a
viable backup to fibre optic networks. With independent voice telephony
which operates even when no data links are established, the system provides
an ideal disaster recovery communications tool for use by Emergency
Services agencies worldwide.
technology offers significant benefits over fibre-optic systems for cost
effective, scaleable, rugged yet soldier friendly communications in the
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