Mesh Networking in the Tactical Environment Using White Space Technolog
Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States
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The transition of the military from wars within two known and established theaters to a focus on a dynamic and hastily occupied combat environment necessitates the need for a similarly dynamic and adaptable communications backbone. Traditionally, Army units have relied on either FM communications over short distances or expensive radios to communicate over long distances. FM communications often require retransmission to extend their reach while expensive radio systems often rely on other resources such as satellites. The analog-to-digital television conversion saw the birth of white space spectral technology, which dynamically allocates unutilized spectral space within the television broadcast range to transmit data. This research explores the use of white space spectral technology in the creation of a dynamically established communications infrastructure for the purpose of repeating communications originating from numerous existing platforms in the tactical environment. A comparative analysis was conducted between an implementation of this technology, the Carlson Rural Connect, and similar solutions, specifically, a variant of the Harris 117G, currently available within the military in order to explore the merit of this technology for use as a communications relay in the tactical environment. The results obtained in these experiments demonstrate the potential use of white space technology as a repeater in the tactical environment. Though this potential exists, this technology requires time, a dedicated development effort, and additional testing and experimentation before it is refined enough for use in military operations.