Do you copy? Establishing and maintaining broadband connectivity in remote and hostile areas

Competitive Projects

Up to $1.2M in phased development funding to propel technology forward

The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces (DND/CAF) are seeking innovative solutions that will provide the ability to establish and maintain broadband connectivity in remote and hostile areas in an electromagnetic (EM) degraded or denied environment to support mission-critical communications.

What IDEaS Provides

Funding of up to $200,000 will be provided for innovative solutions to help advance this challenge over a performance period of up to 6 months. There is a potential opportunity for further funding of up to $1 million for a performance period of up to a year should the solution be found successful and promising by DND/CAF.

What Innovators Bring

Solutions that demonstrate the ability to establish and maintain broadband connectivity in remote and hostile areas in an EM degraded or denied environment, as well as the ability to implement a prioritized information exchange.


Results

Project title Innovator Amount Stage
Enhancing 5G and Beyond Infrastructure for Secure, Flexible, and Smart Military Communications Queen’s University $229,954.00 1a
Machine Learning-Based Cognitive Radio for Reliable Connectivity in Remote, Hostile and EM Degraded Areas TrackGen Solutions Inc. $477,611.20 1a

Challenge

Background and Context

Military personnel grapple with the complexities of establishing and maintaining Radio Frequency (RF) broadband connectivity in remote, hostile and communications-denied environment. Mission-critical communications need to remain fully operational even when nodes are lost or radio frequencies jammed. Operators at every level of command need an autonomously-enabled way to share critical C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers (C4) Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR)) information in an EM degraded or denied environment. Soldiers need to be able to work through the denial of service; they need to know the best Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs) to use in those circumstances, and they need to be able to plan with the best network topologies depending on missions and number of users.

Operations will typically generate a standardized or modified information exchange overlay (which information needs to flow from point A to point B) and a communication plan (which equipment deployment will enable that flow of information) with multiple layers (Primary Alternate Contingency and Emergency (PACE) plan). The CAF need to be able to implement a prioritized information exchange, customizable by type of operations, phase of operations, nodes, and applications.

Shifting between those PACE layers should occur in an automated fashion or via manual TTPs using any and all communication paths available so information reaches its destination in an effective manner. Innovative approaches are required that not only leverage new technological advances in equipment and network topology, but also advances from the standpoint of frequency management. The CAF also need to optimize their processes while using mesh networks when faced with an EM degraded or denied environment.

Mission-critical communications involve a variety of links including but not limited to voice communications: from ops centers, forward observation locations, to reach back locations, and between ground forces and data stream coming from ISR assets.

Priority of re-establishing connectivity would depend on the stages of the mission and immediate requirements. Prioritized entities could vary but would include: ground forces (who needs what, in which order?), ISR sensors data stream (Tactical Data Links), tactical operational centres, reach back to North America (Satellite communications (SATCOM), high-frequency (HF)), etc.

A crude analogy would be the implementation of multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) and quality of service (QOS) on Internet protocol (IP)-based WAN.

Essential Outcomes

Proposed solutions must demonstrate:

  • The ability to establish and maintain broadband connectivity in remote and hostile areas in an EM degraded or denied environment; and
  • The ability to implement a prioritized information exchange.

Desired Outcomes

Proposed solutions should include capabilities such as, but not limited to, the following:

  • The ability to optimize the communications suites using automation to provide freedom of maneuvers in the EM;
  • The ability to learn and implement re-factoring strategies / re-analyses of the processes;
  • Modulation of the connectivity based on rapidly changing EM level of denial;
  • Minimal reduction (up to 5%) in bandwidth;
  • Ability to be implemented in all platforms (vehicles, airborne i.e. drones, soldier systems);
  • Ability to be implemented on both existing and upcoming RF equipment (commercial off the shelf (COTS) - not looking for new communication equipment);
  • An agnostic approach (open by design, interoperable across the systems);
  • Resilient connectivity (no less than 99% availability) from various scale of groupings (i.e. ranging from a Task Force to reconnaissance teams) and considering the following variables: What data is needed? From which platform or organization will the data/information come from? Where does it need to go? Who needs to access?;
  • Flexibility and adaptability to rapidly changing situations;
  • Ability to conceal communication by not creating a higher signal-to-noise ratio.

Supplemental Information

Solutions should consider International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) or Control Goods restrictions.

Canada will not provide government furnished property (GFP), including but not limited to materiel, equipment, access, information, and personnel to enable the Contractor to conduct the work during Component 1a.

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