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Network Communications Networking The Military Wireless Networking Technology

DARPA Begins Work On 100Gbps Wireless Tech With 120-mile Range 83

MrSeb writes "DARPA has begun development of a wireless communications link that is capable of 100 gigabits per second over a range of 200 kilometers (124mi). Officially dubbed '100 Gb/s RF Backbone' (or 100G for short), the program will provide the U.S. military with networks that are around 50 times faster than its current wireless links. In essence, DARPA wants to give deployed soldiers the same kind of connectivity as a high-bandwidth, low-latency fiber-optic network. In the case of Afghanistan, for example, the U.S. might have a high-speed fiber link to Turkey — but the remaining 1,000 miles to Afghanistan most likely consists of low-bandwidth, high-latency links. It's difficult (and potentially insecure) to control UAVs or send/receive intelligence over these networks, and so the U.S. military instead builds its own wireless network using Common Data Link. CDL maxes out at around 250Mbps, so 100Gbps would be quite a speed boost. DARPA clearly states that the 100G program is for US military use — but it's hard to ignore the repercussions it might have on commercial networks, too. 100Gbps wireless backhaul links between cell towers, rather than costly and cumbersome fiber links, would make it much easier and cheaper to roll out additional mobile coverage. Likewise, 100Gbps wireless links might be the ideal way to provide backhaul links to rural communities that are still stuck with dial-up internet access. Who knows, we might even one day have 100Gbps wireless links to our ISP."
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DARPA Begins Work On 100Gbps Wireless Tech With 120-mile Range

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  • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Monday December 17, 2012 @01:10PM (#42315079)

    It should be doable, providing two conditions are allowed:
    1. The equipment may be ridiculously expensive (No problem: Around half the US government's budget goes to defence).
    2. It'll need to be such high (analog) bandwidth, it'll not comply with any spectrum or power regulations, anywhere (No problem: If you're invading a country, you don't need to be overly concerned with obeying local laws, and even occupiers get some leeway).

  • 120 mile range? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Monday December 17, 2012 @01:21PM (#42315193)

    How? Is it airborne or something? You are not going to get any straight line reception at that range due to curvature of the earth, even in the plains.

  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Monday December 17, 2012 @01:24PM (#42315215) Journal

    And if you manage high-bandwidth 125-mi range, the next step is obvious - a constellation of LEO (200-500mi altitude) satellites serving as a nearly-untouchable* backbone for the theater-WAN.

    *ok not for peer-level opponents, but I'm pretty certain that a peer-level conflict
    a) will not be based on UAVs for long (my biggest concern about UAV-dependence of our forces), and
    b) will be over one way or another pretty fast if it's not going to turn SO nasty that any conventional force tech will be nearly irrelevant anyway (the not-so-comforting corollary that would invalidate my concerns above)

  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Monday December 17, 2012 @01:49PM (#42315423)

    1. The equipment may be ridiculously expensive (No problem: Around half the US government's budget goes to defence).

    Dude, 30 years ago the idea of a hard drive with a "gigabyte" of capacity was something ridiculously expensive, taking up football-field sized buildings, and everyone thought it'd be a really dumb idea anyway; Tape would be better for storage. Now I can get 64GB of storage to fit on my index finger and it's only a fingernail's thickness. The argument of "it'll be ridiculously expensive" dies over a long enough time span.

    It'll need to be such high (analog) bandwidth, it'll not comply with any spectrum or power regulations, anywhere.

    Ding! We have a winner. Though, not for the exact reason you're thinking. It could in fact work, and even within certain power requirements. But it'll never get regulatory approval, and it has nothing to do with technical requirements, but the fact that (at least if we're talking about the United States) the people in charge are paid large amounts of money to maintain the status quo. Remember that price fixing scandal for digital TV when the FCC fucked up the transition so badly Congress had to intercede... three times? Yeah... what ever happened to them? Oh right... the FCC made billions, the corporations made billions... the taxpayers lost many billions, and... oh right: They were fined, uhh.. less than a penny on the dollar against their profits.

    Every attempt to give the general public access to high speed digital communications for cheap has been blown out of the water faster than you can say "Republican in a bathroom stall at an airport."

  • by Browzer ( 17971 ) on Monday December 17, 2012 @02:11PM (#42315689)

    This is actually a DARPA help wanted ad. And from description of the project sounds like a good job opportunity for some slashdoters.

    here is the ad:
    http://www.darpa.mil/NewsEvents/Releases/2012/12/14.aspx [darpa.mil]

    and here is the proposers' day conference:
    https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=e21984e31d49c3780966a53983daa4f6&tab=core&tabmode=list&= [fbo.gov]

"Though a program be but three lines long, someday it will have to be maintained." -- The Tao of Programming