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Archive for the ‘Comms’ Category

SOFIC 18 – Guardian Ruggedized Attach Patch for HEL-STAR 6

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

CORE Survival has introduced the Guardian Ruggedized Attach Patch, created by Agilite for their HEL-STAR 6 strobe light.

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Offered in Helmet Cover, MOLLE and Attach Parch versions, the Guardian holds the HEL-STAR 6 in place, yet offers full access to all functionality. Additionally, the Guardian reduces damage to the light by side impacts by 400%. Available in Tan and Black.

Invisio Unveils V10 Control Unit At SOFIC

Monday, May 21st, 2018

INVISIO offers cutting-edge personal communication and hearing protection systems that enable professionals to operate and communicate safely and clearly in noisy and mission critical environments.

The INVISIO systems are based on simplicity, modularity and flexibility to fit the communication needs for the modern soldier. The products include advanced control units, headsets and Intercoms all fully interchangeable and able to interface to a wide range of communication devices.

Introducing INVISIO V10 Control Unit

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Our range of control units allow for communication on multiple talk-groups on a single radio, as well as multiple audio inputs to enable full compatibility with modern team and combat net radios. The all-new INVISIO V10 launched at SOFIC is a lightweight, rugged, single-com PTT designed for soldiers with a single radio. It features a large exchangeable PTT button, is 20 meters submersible and fully compatible with INVISIO soldier systems. Combined with the INVISIO X5 in-ear headset the INVISIO V10 provides industry leading hearing protection, clear communication and situational awareness.

The INVISIO Intercom bridges the gap between the mounted and dismounted soldier, making it possible for multiple users and radios to connect simultaneously using their existing soldier system. The soldier can access all vehicle communications directly from their INVISIO control unit, so there is no need to disconnect or connect other equipment when entering/exiting a vehicle.

Seamless plug and play integration between control units, intercoms, headsets and interface cables is key to the versatility of the INVISIO system. All systems feature INVISIO IntelliCable™, a unique identification that allows for easy deployment and enables all equipment to be interchangeable across current and future INVISIO systems.

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INVISIO is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark and INVISIO Communications Inc. is located and operates within the US.

Come meet us on the Waterfront Boardwalk at SOFIC! Yacht name “Team Galati” located at the dock area at Harbor Island just across the water from Tampa Convention Center.

invisio.com

goTenna Pro – A New Solution For Tactical Partner-Force Comms

Friday, May 18th, 2018

I was an early adopter of goTenna, having participated in their crowdfunding campaign. When I saw the new goTenna Pro At SHOT Show in TSSi’s Booth, I was immediately excited about the possibilities it offers due to its integration with USSOCOM’s Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAK) and a a wide variety of commercial personal cellular devices such as smart phones. These three components combine to provide a new practical solution for partner force communications interoperability.

Chest mounted ATAK
The challenge of establishing secure interoperable communications with partner/coalition forces has been a problem since the advent of wireless communications over a hundred years ago.

The historical intractability of this problem has been rooted in the fact that it is not just one issue that needs to be solved, but a whole host of interweaving problems push and pull against each other in a tangled mess that has never truly been solved.

Fundamentally the barriers to truly operational interoperable communications systems are rooted in security, training/logistics, and budget disparities that come into play when dissimilar forces have to work together.

To illustrate the example, lets take a generic unnamed Type-1 secure tactical radio from US. Should an American force need to interoperate with a friendly partner force, they would be completely unable to for the following reasons:

1. Due to security policy restrictions (ITAR and more), US forces simply cannot provide the radio outside of their direct US command, no matter how trusted they may be.

2. These kinds of radios are complex and require hands-on training and experience to operate, and in an expeditionary environment its entirely possible, if not likely, that the partner would have no idea how to use the radio, even if it could be handed over to them.

3. The waveform run on these radios is usually restricted or highly technical to set up as well, making connection to a different radio system over the air impossible or disallowed.

4. These radios, at least the most advanced mesh networking ones, cost at least $15,000 a unit, and there is little chance any command is going to let a $15K piece of equipment get handed out to an outside party – even if they were allowed to do so.

Attempts to solve these issues have circled just about every possible path, from trying to make interoperable waveforms (never truly pulled off), or simply turning to commercial solutions like LTE or WiFi to try to bring in outside partners and then segregate them on the backend with digital firewalls – again not unlike a traditional internet model.

This turning to consumer products has actually worked well however, but the limits of LTE and WiFi are well known for any program office. They are an affordable, mature, and deployable technology when operating against a highly disadvantaged enemy, as were the most recent combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, but against any kind of peer or near-peer adversary, the thought of relying on LTE and WiFi on the battlefield isn’t considered realistic by anyone.  Therein the continued need for advanced standalone digital tactical radios, particularly cognitive mesh networking radios that can flexibly combat the countermeasures to be expected from a technologically advanced adversary.

But these radios are precisely the ones that offer the largest barrier to any kind of realistic partner-force interoperability, or at least, they use to be. There is a new interesting player in the field that, perhaps coincidentally, is also a cross-over from the consumer/commercial market, goTenna.

A small Brooklyn-based startup, goTenna started 5 years ago as a consumer radio system designed for hikers and skiers to keep in touch with each other with their smartphones while out doing activities in remote environments where there was no cell service.  They designed a unique radio system which thanks to its unique focus on just communicating short bursts of data for texting and location tracking (they explicitly do not try to support energy and spectrum hungry transmissions like video which bloat other systems), resulted in providing a robust long-distance secure digital data transfer in a form factor that was radically smaller, lighter, and perhaps most importantly, radically less costly than any other legacy radio system.

goTenna Pro mounted to PALS webbing
In 2016 USSOCOM’s Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAK) program took notice of this little REI and Amazon.com product, and used their SDK to integrate it into their battle management application. The integration was not able to support all the features in ATAK, but the funny coincidence was that the consumer use case closely mirrored the most important features within ATAK, specifically:

• Blue force tracking (for consumers, find my friends)

• Cursor on target (for consumers, map pins)

• Command/control via chat (no difference, text messaging)

Those three simple features could all be supported within goTenna’s short bursts of data, and thus provided support the overwhelming bulk of ATAK’s core situational awareness and command/control features in an off-grid secure digital radio network, but now within a bearer that was radically smaller, unrestricted, and perhaps most importantly only a few hundred dollars.

This combination of the ATAK platform and the goTenna consumer product provided an answer to the elusive partner force communications problem, and that answer boiled down to an almost comically simple solution, “Just hand the radios out to partners.”

That was it.

Instead of trying to establish interoperable coalition communications with complex RF waveform synchronization or convoluted data security firewalls the answer ended up being “interoperability through ubiquity” as goTenna likes to call it.

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After removing the security policy restrictions (all goTenna security is run at the app level, not hardware, and thus have no ITAR or export controls), if one can cut the cost of secure mesh-networking radio system to only $499, the cost of their new upgraded goTenna Pro version, then simply carrying a stock of spare radios for handing out to partners on the fly when you need them to work with you is a practical and immediately deployable solution.

At that price point, if the partner were to break, steal, or otherwise do something you don’t want them to do to your radio, the cost of loss is negligible and you can just move on. Not something one could say when spending $15,000 or more a radio.

As an added bonus, all these communications on the goTenna/ATAK network also automatically bridge and backhaul back over any other data networks either within another tactical radio system (or Wifi, LTE, etc), or all the way back to the TAK server – offering a very interesting ability to mix and match different radio systems in powerful hub-and-spoke type architectures that can leverage goTenna’s small size, cost, and unrestricted status to expand the tactical edge in a meaningful and practically accessible manner.

Considering the increasing prominence of partner/indigenous force interoperation in today’s modern proxied conflicts, the criticality of finding a way to solve the interoperability issue is of utmost importance, and this model of using ATAK and goTenna for both blue force and green force communications has proven itself in Iraq, Afghanistan, and more locations of on-going conflict.

goTenna can accurately be called, at least for now, the world’s first and only hyper-low cost narrowband tactical mesh networking radio, which is something to be really thought about.  It is not every day that entirely new classes of radios are invented, it happens perhaps every 20 or 30 years, but when it does happen, these innovations present a powerful opportunity to radically change up legacy thinking about what might be possible at the tactical communications edge. Although it is still early, we are already starting to see how things might change as many major program offices around the world begin to turn their eye towards the example set by the SOF community already.

Be sure to check them out at SOFIC, in booth #1535, in the main hallway.

Get A Demonstration of FalCom from TEA Headsets and GN Hearing At SOFIC

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

TEA Headsets (SOFIC Booth #1602) has partnered with GN Hearing, Inc. and their new Advanced Hearing Protection Division to provide users with the latest in state-of-the-art communications and hearing protection.

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FalCom – Advanced Communications
TEA and GN have developed an in-ear advanced communication system, called FalCom, based off three main factors: comfort, clarity, and protection. If the system is comfortable, the user is less likely to not wear his or her hearing protection. Once again, if the incoming audio is clear and concise while maintaining his or her situational awareness and simultaneously protecting their hearing, they are less likely to not wear the system. When Servicemembers deployed during combat operations after 9-11, the only thing available was either foam ear plugs or old analog ear muff style headsets. Since very few outside of SOCOM even had hearing protection or limited access to it, Servicemembers went without hearing protection in order to survive. This prompted the development of the FalCom system for current, future SOCOM and DoD programs.

Situational Awareness and 3-D Audio

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Another key feature of the FalCom system is its 3-D (Programmable 4D-Q3) audio spacial awareness feature. This allows the user to hear incoming audio from different directions in the ear buds. Therefore, instead of receiving audio from left-right or both sides the user will be able to hear sounds coming from left rear, right rear or the front. This greatly enhances the user’s ability to easily distinguish a higher priority channel over a lower priority channel.

Plug and Play Beyond Today

Together, all these features combine to make the new FalCom an easy to use, “Plug and Play” system providing unmatched comfort, situational awareness, and hearing protection. On today’s asymmetric battlefield, the old adage, shoot-move-and communicate is more important than ever. The ability to hear clear and concise radio communications is critical therefore industry-leading hearing protection is a force multiplier greatly enhancing the potential for mission success and more importantly increasing the protection of our greatest asset, those who serve the nation.

STOP BY THE TEA BOOTH #1602 AT SOFIC FOR A LIVE DEMO

MPU5 networking radio and Embedded Module achieve FIPS 140-2 security validation

Monday, May 14th, 2018

Government users can connect the MPU5 to the Federal Enterprise Network

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NEW YORK, N.Y. – May 9, 2018 – Persistent Systems, LLC (“Persistent”) announced today that it has received a Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) 140-2 security validation from the National Institute of Standards and Technology for its MPU5 networking radio and Embedded Module products. Government agencies that require this information security validation will now be able to make wider use of Persistent products.

The MPU5 runs the Wave Relay® mobile ad-hoc networking (MANET) routing protocol, allowing users to transmit and relay voice, video, text, and sensor data in a true peer-to-peer fashion. The Embedded Module delivers similar capabilities in a smaller model made for integrating into unmanned systems and sensors.
“We offer a self-forming, self-healing, scalable MANET that is robust and dynamic and can operate in austere and challenging environments that would normally disrupt other communication systems,” said Eric Stern, Director of Engineering at Persistent Systems. “This makes the MPU5 and Embedded Module very attractive for government users.”

Customers in the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and elsewhere already use the MPU5 in daily operations. However, to connect to federal enterprise networks, many agencies require a FIPS 140-2 validation, a standard for hardware and software cryptography that ensures devices can protect the security and integrity of sensitive data.

To get validated for FIPS 140-2, the MPU5 and Embedded Module were put through the Cryptographic Module Validation Program (CMVP), which are the security requirements for cryptographic modules. The CMVP is a joint initiative between the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the United States and the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) in Canada. Persistent has been putting its MANET radios through FIPS 140-2 validation since 2010, and the MPU5 and Embedded Module’s validation continues Persistent’s commitment to security.

“Our customers utilize our products on operations and events which are critical to national security,” said Stern. “Therefore, we design our MANET systems from inception to meet the federal cryptographic standards of the United States of America and Canada. Security is always our priority.”

A list of wireless networking products that are FIPS 140-2 validated can be found on the National Institute of Standards and Technology:

csrc.nist.gov/Projects/Cryptographic-Module-Validation-Program/Validated-Modules

Government customers should ensure that wireless networking products are on this list prior to purchase.

The latest MPU5 firmware can be obtained by Persistent customers from the product support portal.

Please visit www.persistentsystems.com to learn more.

Persistent Systems Successfully Demonstrates Flat 320-Radio MPU5 Network

Monday, April 30th, 2018

Mobile ad hoc networking solution delivers reliable comms, situational awareness, under rough conditions.

NEW YORK, N.Y. Persistent Systems, LLC (“Persistent”) announced today that it successfully demonstrated that its MPU5 smart radio could scale up to an unprecedented 320-node mobile ad hoc network (MANET) at a military operation urban training facility, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

The MPU5 runs the Wave Relay® MANET routing protocol, allowing the radio to transmit and relay secure voice, video, text, and sensor data in a robust, peer-to-peer fashion—all without external communications infrastructure. It’s a capability that the U.S. Army has been looking for with its Brigade Combat Teams.

“The Army wants a MANET that can scale up to 250 mobile radios in a flat, layer-2 network,” said Herbert Rubens, founder and CEO of Persistent Systems. “However, such a network would exceed the capability of most other solutions currently available.”

By contrast, Persistent’s Wave Relay® was designed to achieve extremely high levels of scalability without any limitation on the number of nodes or routing hops permitted in the network. And the Fort Bragg demonstration—in which, 320 MPU5 radios, spread across 37 multi-story buildings including basement levels, communicated successfully on a single RF channel—proved this capability.

“Let’s be clear: A flat MANET network of this size has never been demonstrated by any other organization,” Rubens said. “We not only proved that it is possible to scale up to a 320-node, flat, layer-2 network, but that it works, and it works well.”

During the demonstration, the MPU5:

• Tethered with Samsung Galaxy S7 phones, reported their GPS locations, to provide situational awareness in both ATAK and WinTAK;

• Connected a video camera on a Polaris DAGOR lightweight tactical vehicle, streamed more than 2 Mbps of multicast video over the network; and

• Used its Radio over IP (RoIP) capability to tether multiple legacy land mobile radios into the network, allowing dismounts to speak on Tactical Satellite while carrying only an MPU5 and the Persistent Dual PTT Device.

The load on the network was representative of an extremely large team running voice, video, and situational awareness. Yet despite the load on the network, the MANET still had additional capacity to spare.

“Persistent has a reputation for advancing the state-of-the-art in scalable MANET technology,” Rubens said. “And we have proven that the MPU5 can deliver a tactical MANET network that scales beyond the Army’s requirements.”

New 5 GHz ISM radio module from Persistent Systems offers MPU5 radio users increased performance, throughput

Monday, April 9th, 2018

Persistent Systems, LLC (“Persistent”) today announced the release of its Upper C-Band module for the MPU5 mobile ad hoc networking (MANET) radio, which transmits and relays voice, video, text, and sensor data in a robust, peer-to-peer fashion.

The new 5.1 to 5.9 GHz radio module, which is certified for unlicensed use in the Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) Band, will enable MPU5 users, both in the United States and around the world, to leverage the MANET for a variety of commercial applications, including:

• Live event video streaming,

• Facility security,

• Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) networking,

• Machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, and

• Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operations.

“To meet the needs of commercial operators, we already offer a FCC certified 2.4 GHz ISM (S-Band) module for the MPU5,” said Adrien Robenhymer, VP of Business Development for Persistent Systems. “Now, the Upper C-Band extends that capability into the 5 GHz ISM band, which is significantly less crowded than 2.4 GHz ISM, enabling higher performance around the world.”

Persistent Systems is a leader in providing communication systems for unmanned vehicles in the defense market. With its new Upper C-Band module, it is now well-positioned to extend its product offerings deeper into the commercial markets.

“We see a huge opportunity to expand the MPU5’s presence further into the commercial sector,” Robenhymer said. “MANET can provide a huge benefit to commercial customers in the growing M2M market, especially as agricultural and mining applications for unmanned vehicles have been expanding.”

He adds that Persistent is currently in talks with several large industrial vehicle manufacturers, which have been looking for precisely those sorts of solutions.

Certified under FCC Part 15 for unlicensed use in ISM Band, the Upper C-Band radio module provides 1W of average transmit power, the maximum permitted in the ISM band. The module also has Japan Type Certification under Article 2, Paragraph 1, Item 72 Category: RB (Unmanned Mobile Image Transmission System).

Defense customers have also shown interest in the module as it provides the ability to operate in an unlicensed band, simplifying spectrum coordination. It also allows Defense customers to blend in unnoticed in large cities where 5 GHz commercial operation is quite common. Defense, International, and Licensed customers are also able to take advantage of the radio modules 4W average transmission power, where permitted. This enables extremely long range and high throughput in the 5 GHz band.

Persistent remains committed to the modular radio architecture of the MPU5 and this Upper C-Band module is the fourth frequency module offering for the MPU5 Smart Radio. Customers can be confident when purchasing MPU5 systems, that they can operate the systems legally and effectively around the world. As spectrum relations continue to evolve around the world, that their MPU5 systems can easily be moved to new frequency bands. Both frequency modularity and upgradeability are important characteristics to our customers.

“We are ready to accept orders for the 5 GHz ISM radio module,” Robenhymer said.

www.persistentsystems.com

ADS Ft Bragg Warfighter Expo – Safariland Liberator HP

Saturday, March 31st, 2018

Safariland showed me their new Liberator HP which offers human speech isolation and Near Field Communications (NFC) wireless firmware updatable signal processors. What means to you is protection from impulse/gunfire noise and high decibel constant background audio, while advanced sound localization provides maximum situational awareness and sound detection.

Based on their Liberator IV and V headsets, the Liberator HP utilizes the same Glass polymer injection- molded Earcups and electronic hearing protection. In fact, it can be converted to either a single or dual comms headset. Better yet, it runs for up to 400 hours on either a single AAA or single CR123A battery.

Offered in Black or Coyote with over-the-headband.

www.safariland.com