Communication Systems - Projects
Fraunhofer Institute for Communication, Information Processing and Ergonomics FKIE
- © Fraunhofer FKIE
Software Defined Radio – Key Technology for Network Enabled Capabilities (NEC)
If the Bundeswehr are to carry out their assignments in an efficient and target-driven manner, they need a broad range of skills. One essential skill is that of “command capability” and so the “Network Enabled Capabilities” (NEC, in German: NetOpFü) were developed to improve the deployment of the armed forces. The concept of the Network Enabled Capabilities allows all relevant persons, positions and formations, along with sensors and effectors, to connect with each other by means of a communication and information network that encompasses all command levels and is interoperable and common to all armed forces. A new generation of radios based on the “Software Defined Radio” (SDR) is now being developed for its key role in NEC. It is called “Network Capable Radio Equipment for Combined Armed Forces” (SVFuA). The SVFuA currently under development incorporates the basic pre-requisites necessary to close the capability gap in the area of highly mobile, interoperable, flexible and reliable networking. The SVFuA provides a modular, scalable, programmable and reconfigurable mobile radio platform onto which radio communication processes can be loaded in the form of “waveform applications” (WFA). WFAs of this kind can be adapted or exchanged according to the needs and requirements of the situation in hand.
Creating portability and interoperability in international missions
In order to harmonize the interface between WFAs and hardware platforms, as well as between the commissioning, configuration and control of both the platform and the waveform, the “Software Communications Architecture” (SCA) has been specified within the American “Joint Tactical Radio System” (JTRS). The leading NATO partners have targeted conformity with the SCA specification and see it as a goal worth achieving for their national SDR programs. It is particularly relevant in relation to the portability and operability of waveforms in international missions. The SDR working group within the “Communication Systems” department (KOM) has been active for many years as an independent technical adviser to the German Federal Ministry of Defense (BMVg), the German Federal Office for Information Management & Information Technology (IT-AmtBw) and the Bundeswehr Technical Center for Information Technology in Greding (WTD81) working on projects in the SDR domain. It also contributes technical and conceptual ideas and solutions in other selected areas including expert support relating to the development of SVFuA. Moreover, the SDR working group represents the interests of the government on a large number of international working groups at European and NATO level. In order to maintain and improve assessment skills and advisory competence, research activities are carried out in the following topics:
Waveform – Development environment
Waveform applications for SDRs must be portable, interoperable and at the same time energy efficient. Concepts for developing waveforms that fulfill these requirements are essential to the success of the SDR technology.
Modern military waveforms
To fulfill all of the operational requirements identified by NATO at least two types of waveforms are necessary although there is, as yet, no NATO-wide standard. A narrow band waveform (NBWF) is intended to remedy deficiencies in areas such as network-capability or the parallel operation of data and voice processes. In addition, there is the networking waveform (WNW) which is intended to offer user data rates that can deal with the volume of data traffic generated by Network Enabled Capabilities.
A cognitive radio has the ability to learn and can adapt itself to its transmission environment. It will be used especially to utilize the scarce resources of the frequency spectrum more efficiently. The suitability of cognitive radio for military purposes will be analyzed.