POP Goes the Internet

The Army overcame significant technical challenges to provide Internet service over the narrowbandwidth tactical command and control networks supporting the Bosnian peacekeeping mission. The digital field switches and tactical satellites used by the Army's Tactical Packet Network (TPN) were desig

The Army overcame significant technical challenges to provide Internet service over the narrow-bandwidth tactical command and control networks supporting the Bosnian peace-keeping mission.

The digital field switches and tactical satellites used by the Army's Tactical Packet Network (TPN) were designed to handle classified data and did not easily lend themselves to providing unclassified Internet connectivity.

The 5th Signal Command first started developing a system to send unclassified data over TPN two years ago, when the command supported U.S. forces engaged in a relief mission to Rwanda. TPN gear has a 56 kilobit/sec unclassified channel next to the secret network, but the command had to devise a way to separate unclassified and classified data.

The solution was to use a Motorola Network Encryption System (NES) and firewalled routers that separate the traffic. The Motorola gear was originally designed to send classified data over an unclassified network. "We're essentially using NES backwards," said Bruce Funk, 5th Signal's civilian network manager for the project. "We're using it to send unclassified data over a classified network."

The command developed a package around the Motorola gear to provide unclassified connectivity to users in the field, and it developed the Deployable Automated Support Host (DASH) van, currently fielded at Kaposvar, Hungary, to support data users there.

The DASH van allows users from the 1st Personnel Command to tap into stateside databases. The users employ tactical modems hooked up through an NES, a series of Cisco Systems Inc. routers and an AT&T 3B2 minicomputer installed in the van.

However, the DASH van, mounted on a 5-ton truck, did not meet the requirements for an easily deployable system, Funk said. So the command started working on what has become the standard field data package for V Corps: the point of presence (POP) router.

The standard POP package includes an NES, a Cisco 4000 router with eight serial and one Ethernet ports, a Cisco 515 16-port terminal server and a Hewlett-Packard Co. 900/750 workstation that acts as an electronic-mail host.

This POP package also comes with 16 tactical terminal adapter modems so users can hook their PCs into the tactical telephone system. Once installed at the forward operating bases (FOBs) in Bosnia, users can run field wire up to two miles to hook their PCs into the system.

5th Signal also developed a "mini-POP" for areas with a smaller group of data users, such as Zagreb and Sarajevo. This package consists of a Cisco 2501 router with one Ethernet port, two serial ports and Cisco 516 term servers.

The POP router does have its limitations, Funk said. The majority of users connect to the system through a Mobile Subscriber Equipment small extension node switch, which provides only 16 kilobit/sec of unclassified bandwidth. "Interactive response can vary from very good to frustratingly slow, due to a combination of encryption/decryption delay, 16 kilobit/sec links and multiple hops," Funk said.

Despite these limitations, users in the field have embraced the POP package, with the 22nd Signal Command installing POP packages to provide connectivity to Combat Service Support users at 17 FOBs wanting to tap into the Standard Army Management Information System (Stamis). Users at the other seven FOBs will string field wire to the nearest POP.

Maj. Brian Hamilton, engineering integration officer for 22nd Signal, said dial-up capability was an absolute essential for Stamis users "because Stamis will only work through a serial port. It won't work on a LAN because it was designed for office users who could just dial into a database."

Hamilton added that providing connectivity to logistics systems from the FOBs was key to meeting the "move data, not people" mandate of V Corps commanders. "If you don't have the pipes for the logistics systems, it means you have to take a disk out of the PC, get in a Humvee, form a convoy [a minimum of four vehicles is required] and drive down the road.... This system keeps the troops off the road."

Funk said Internet connections provided by the POP routers also make a big difference for troops and family morale. "This means troops can now communicate with family members who have Internet accounts or accounts on systems like CompuServe or America Online," he said.

Lt. Gen. Otto Guenther, the Army's director of information systems for command, control, computers and communications, endorses the use of these tactical links for morale purposes but cautions, "People have to be careful. When you realize how thin the bandwidth is, it would not take a lot of traffic to clog up one of those circuits."

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.