STANDARDS & PROTOCOLS
DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS STANDARDS & PROTOCOLS
To get diverse pieces of civilian or military communication equipment talking reliably to each other on the battlefield, especially when hostile forces may actively be trying to prevent that from happening or the connection is vulnerable for any other reason, communications protocol standards must be carefully selected and rigorously enforced.
Protocols suitable for everyday business use, such as SSH or HTTPS, are often unsuitable for government or military communication systems or for lightweight devices (such as Internet-of-Things – ‘IoT’ - sensors) operating on heterogeneous networks. Carefully selecting the standard to suit the application, and ensuring that all equipment connected to the network is compatible with the standard, is critical for both robustness and security.
DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS STANDARDS & PROTOCOLS KEY ATTRIBUTES
Standards themselves must be carefully worded so that implementations developed by different companies are fully interoperable. This can only be ensured by rigorous testing and revision where necessary. Exsel Electronics has been intimately involved in this process for a number of specialist Digital Communication Protocols Standards, ensuring security, robustness and interoperability under the most demanding conditions.
Frequently the best way to test a protocol and to ensure that third-party equipment adheres to it is by setting up a simulation, based on a reference implementation. Exsel Electronics is skilled at providing such implementations and simulations, allowing equipment to be rigorously tested in a safe environment before being deployed into the field.
This digital communication technology ensures security in the exchange of messages in or between computing systems.
Lean Services (LS) – developed originally by 2iC Limited and selected by the MoD as the basis for the LOSA COIL battlefield communications protocol, Lean Services is a very lightweight architecture suitable for passing many types of data over networks that may suffer from low bandwidth, high latency or frequent drop-outs. A particular strength of this communication system is its ability to re-form connections rapidly if the physical connection fails and to resume transmission with no loss of data.
C4I – developed jointly by Exsel Electronics and the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), this is a specialised security protocol used for connecting electronic systems on legacy (non-GVA) military vehicles.
DDS – this is an open-source standard maintained by the Object Management Group, and is used by the MoD’s Generic Vehicle Architecture (GVA) as the main channel for communication between vehicle-mounted equipment. Exsel Electronics is familiar with the standard, and has developed a DDS-to-Lean-Services adapter which conveys data between the DDS intra-vehicle network and the LOSA COIL inter-vehicle network.