Wireless communication in the defense industry has evolved considerably since the old days of walkietalkies. Today, battlefield communication is based on different technologies enabling communication on multiple bands while concurrently offering enhanced security through encryption. Although not yet widely used for this application, Software Defined Radio (SDR) has the capabilities to provide not only enhanced communication, but other essential wireless features as well.
Military radio communications are no longer just used for voice and data. Combat radios available on the market today offer a wide range of background functionality and can be operated as network control devices and communications repeaters. Software Defined Radios provide leading edge capabilities that ensure communications and wireless superiority on the battlefield. These flexible radio platforms can function as secure point to point communications nodes, wireless access points that provide internet connectivity to handheld devices on the battlefield, radio signals intelligence, and even electronic warfare capabilities.
Defence operators are able to use these capabilities to scan and capture entire channels, detect and analyze signal sources, and even interrupt suspect communications and signals when required. As a result, SDR has entered the realm of communication, signals intelligence, and electronic warfare where units need to maintain the frontline electronic surveillance and interdiction capabilities required to defeat improvised explosive devices and develop countermeasures. Software Defined Radio systems play an essential role within the existing unit operating procedures that are critical to informing intelligence and the effective application of resources.
Software Defined Radio, or SDR, is a radio where some or all of the physical layer functions are software defined. In other words, SDR makes radio functionality available in software. SDRs allow users to configure a single hardware platform to communicate (transmit and/or receive) on multiple frequency ranges for multiple purposes. Though this technology has long been used amongst developed military forces, recent market changes have started to allow for these capabilities to be deployed across the broader community – allowing other countries to share in the benefit of seeing traditionally independent devices – each with a specific purpose – be replaced with a single SDR platform capable of concurrently hosting many different applications.
On the battlefield, SDR can connect aircraft, vehicles, and soldiers allowing identification of allied forces, thus offering increased situational awareness. This is driven by the ability of SDRs to not only form entirely new protocols and transmission schemes, but more importantly, to seamlessly work with existing wireless schemes, without requiring costly infrastructure changes. More critically, SDR technology provides an effective method to upgrade system capabilities within the software itself.
This enables the system’s lifecycle to be extended while users adapt to new threats and challenges.
Historically, SDR did not enjoy this flexibility – traditional systems were limited by computing power and silicon technology. However, advances in modern computer and semiconductor technology, including field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), digital signal processors (DSP), and modern processing units, have finally allowed the promise of this technology to be fully realized. Current technology provides greater performance, while consuming less power and at a lower cost. in the face of opposition. Modern warfare has only served to highlight the importance of communication, relying on the rapid and secure transmission of information to effectively further strategic objectives. By providing a mechanism that abstracts many of the traditionally error prone mechanics of cryptographic key selection and loading or frequency selection, SDR is able to provide operators with the ability to easily, and securely, communicate voice and data within hostile environments.
Per Vices Crimson SDR
When comparing various SDR products, the Per Vices Corporation stands out as a clear market leader. Its Crimson Software Defined Radio platform provides greater capabilities when compared to other comparable SDR products that are available on the global market today. The Per Vices Crimson provides an ideal wireless platform that has exceptional data transfer capabilities. While other SDRs are usually limited by the speed of their backhaul, generally USB (<480Mbps) or gigabit Ethernet (<1000Mbps), Crimson uses two 10GBASE-R SFP+ to provide a stable backhaul of up to 20,000Mbps to ensure maximum throughput performance at very low latencies for use in critical, high traffic, backhaul applications.
Equipped with 4 independent receivers and transmitters, Crimson can also concurrently operate a radio network controller as well as monitor radio communications or spectrum use, all while preserving a point-to-point link.. The platform further supports expansion, which can include real-time visualization, automatic characterization of signal sources, or distributed networks capable of effectively sharing relevant information between frontline units in a decentralized manner that extends calculated intelligence functions.
This only serves to reinforce the company’s philosophy of building radio and tactical intelligence products that are able to transparently communicate with any wireless signal, while enabling operators to address the self-organizational capabilities in a modern communications infrastructure.