Advanced Wireless Networking
We specialize in advanced algorithms for ad-hoc & mesh wireless networks that operate in challenging radio environments. For instance, networks hosting a mixture of fixed and mobile devices; networks with low-power radio devices; dense and dynamic networks with vast amounts of entering and exiting devices. The following descriptions provide more details to our solutions in this area:
Viral Networking with GrapeVine
Mobile Ad-hoc Network (MANET) routing is typically deployed to handle the network dynamics and maintain end-to-end routes between devices in the network. However, since end-to-end routes will be very short lived, or in some cases never even be possible, due to the austere network environment, a MANET routing protocol will face difficulties in maintaining valid routes. Our solution, denoted GrapeVine, adapts to this dynamic environment by regarding all devices in the network as potential forwarders of data. Moreover, information distributed in a limited network (group) setting is often intended for more than one destination. In fact, Situational Awareness (SA) oriented applications depend on reliable ways to distribute information to all devices in the network. GrapeVine utilizes the inherent broadcast property of the wireless media and further enhances performance by applying a novel, very efficient, rate-less erasure code protocol on data forwarded through the network. Data is exchanged opportunistically between GrapeVine devices during “encounters”, giving a viral behavior to data propagation through the network. Robustness is achieved through a feedback-based transmission mechanism, where receiver devices request data of interest from neighboring devices based on announcements. Messages are encrypted end-to-end so the integrity of the messages is maintained when messages are decoded in intermediate devices without authority to access the clear-text message. Each GrapeVine device stores network-wide data associated with different applications, leveraging the capacity and price point of solid-state memory development.
MaXentric has developed a Mesh based Distributed Data Storage Facility, denoted MeshDisc, based on a robust and delay tolerant information dissemination system designed for wireless mesh networks. MeshDisc distributes data stored on a mobile user device to a set of other peer-devices in the mesh network. This makes it harder for an adversary to gain access to the stored data via one or a few captured mesh devices. MeshDisc utilizes a combination of encryption, secret sharing and data redundancy coding algorithms to protect the distributed data in dynamic wireless mesh networks. The redundancy coding and network transport component of MeshDisc utilize GrapeVine, which provides robust network connectivity also for intermittently connected wireless networks (e.g. tactical wireless ad-hoc networks). GrapeVine includes opportunistic ad-hoc routing protocols alongside the network coding mechanism.
Maintaining superior tactical initiative on the modern battlefield is increasingly becoming a matter of rapidly achieving, and sustaining, situational awareness among the participating forces by means of accurate and controlled mission information sharing. Furthermore, the technically advanced equipment of today’s warfighter provides a decisive tactical advantage but often requires support of data networks to operate efficiently. Hence, access to shared mission information among users and equipment, anytime, anywhere throughout the battle space, in a robust and timely manner is the ultimate goal in a network centric warfare paradigm. However, current networking approaches do not utilize the full potential of current, and future, network equipment capabilities by being limited by architectural boundaries rather than physical limits of the wireless, or wired, resources. Moreover, in the austere environment of wireless tactical networks, data is still accessed in a traditional way, requiring uninterrupted end-to-end connections potentially over several intermittently connected or high loss wireless links. The result is an inflexible network where teams of users cannot be formed dynamically without inherent attachments to the underlying network infrastructure and where shared access to mission data is brittle at best. Our networking solution, denoted TeamNet, addresses these issues with the following approach:
- Users and networked equipment associated with a mission are grouped together in teams, which can be reconfigured in a flexible and agile manner (join, leave etc.). Ad-hoc formation of teams enables fast adaptation to tactical realities and facilitates rapid but orderly changes in command structures while chain of command is kept intact.
- Data associated with a mission (video, voice, maps etc.) is securely shared and exchanged among mission team members according to team policies (including data encryption).
- The physical network infrastructure is abstracted with a data centric overlay network, denoted GrapeVine, which provides a shared information environment particularly designed for situational awareness applications. Information dissemination among team members are performed using a novel rate-less erasure coding algorithm.
- Applications are communicating with local data storage in the network devices rather than using a network programming approach, which significantly improves robustness in wireless networks with intermittent link connectivity.
- TeamNet supports differentiated services extending over large networks, comprising a mixture of ad-hoc and infrastructure based wired/wireless networks. GrapeVine Cloud entities in the backend infrastructure, interconnects TeamNet nodes over legacy IP networks.