Network-Centric Applications and Tactical Networks
OFFICE OF NAVAL RESEARCH ARLINGTON VA
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The focus of the paper is required interaction of Command and Control C2 applications and the tactical network on which they effectively operate. Command and control applications will always require communications capabilities. There are numerous examples of command and control applications that have been developed without adequate attention to the realities of tactical networks. The results of various tests and experimental efforts where tactical networks were characterized in operationally realistic environments are provided within the discussion. Connectivity, latency, and throughput related data is presented to make a case that tactical communications cannot now, and will never likely, achieve wired communications capabilities. In fact, these environments perform significantly below the levels achievable on a wired network. As such, C2 applications must accommodate the anticipated performance characteristics associated with tactical networks in order to meet the required C2 capabilities, current and emerging, of the war fighters. Since these applications are dependant on the tactical communications, the development process must address the integration of these applications into the total operational architecture. Integration implies not only the sharing of common resources but also the resolution of compatibility issues, such as those discussed in this paper. Integration is not easily or inexpensively achieved after the fact, therefore must be addressed early in the application design process. Performance characteristics for the networks tested in the referenced efforts are provided as extrapolations to the anticipated tactical networks of the future. The relevant C2 test bed configurations are also discussed enabling C2 application development in wired environments, while simulating reasonable tactical network connectivity.
- Command, Control and Communications Systems