BBN Technologies snares DARPA research deal

BBN Technologies won a new round of funding to continue building a system to send and receive data reliably, even when stable end-to-end paths do not exist.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded the company an $8.7 million contract under its Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN) program. BBN of Cambridge, Mass., received the funding after successfully designing and simulating the network architecture in the first phase of the program.

The military's network needs are becoming more complex than traditional TCP/IP networks can handle, said Tad Elmer, president and CEO of BBN Technologies.

"The DTN we simulated delivered 100 percent of the transmitted data under the worst-case network disruptions, where the end-to-end TCP/IP approach broke down completely and delivered no data at all," he said.

Typical TCP/IP networks rely on stable end-to-end connectivity. In the Defense Department's wireless tactical networks, connectivity is often disrupted by factors such as terrain, weather, jamming and movement or destruction of the nodes. This makes it impossible to determine a path and halt the flow of message traffic.

Under the program's second phase, BBN will create a robust prototype and demonstrate its capabilities.

The system BBN will build will provide disruption-tolerant, content-based access to information. For example, if a user wants to see a map of Baghdad that is no longer available via a network connection to a map server, an accessible node that had previously stored the desired map could fulfill the request.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Washington Technology.

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