October 14, 2004

Battlefield 'Net IX

In past editions of this series I hypothesized that it would become incredibly important to get a robust network up in order to enhance communications with locals so that information flow could be quick and relatively risk free. Cheap simputer style multilingual machines would speak the local language and not require literacy in order to access information on curfews, job availability, Internet connectivity, and give the ability to provide intelligence reports without having to risk physically going to US troops. Simputers are already being worked on in India but the networking backbone looked to be a more difficult problem.

I thought that the idea of such information nodes would take awhile to 'catch fire' inside the Pentagon but apparently, they're not only not that far away, they're getting deployed as part of a more conventional battlefield network backbone that carries combat information between US troops called SuperCrumbs which are hardened 802.11b nodes, a component of a larger system called Pathfinder. [Note: I'm linking to Google cache copies so the links will expire]

The only thing really left on this story is the technical specs of the Supercrumb (if they aren't classified) and I have a message into the people who are building the things to find that out. Ideally, they would have power generation systems on board (solar cells most likely) that could keep them live without maintenance but even if batteries have to get changed, if it's infrequently enough, it would still be worth it.

Posted by TMLutas at October 14, 2004 01:56 PM