Demonstrating this capability in an air environment is expensive, time-consuming and complicated, so Cassidian developed a ground-based demonstration. The company put Mobile IP Nodes in five Mini Cooper automobiles and drove them around a communications “black spot” in the Brecon Beacons mountains in Wales. Two more nodes were placed in the test area—one fixed, the other on a train.
Data-transfer routes and network strength information were recorded, along with GPS coordinates for all platforms. These were compiled in 3-D animation, with strong links shown as green lines connecting nodes, weaker links in yellow and the weakest in red. Links change color and direction as the network selects the optimum means of delivering pre-assigned priorities.
“We had wet trees, high-sided mountains, a lake with a big curve and water reflections,” Clayton says. “It was a difficult environment. What we saw was that the links all changed and used the train, because that was the best route to get data through.”
The same capability was demonstrated in real time at the Defense Vehicle Dynamics show in Millbrook, England, in June, with nodes installed on Iveco trucks and the links changing as the vehicles drove around test tracks. Potential user scenarios included emergency response, particularly in bandwidth-constrained environments, as well as aviation and ground-based military use.
“We are talking to Iveco about military and non-military uses, because there is no other nodal network that works like this,” says Baldwin.