LOS ANGELES, CA – A breakthrough technology was recently introduced that will help solve one of the most pressing problems facing government and society today – the inability of local, county, state and federal agency personnel to communicate with each other during states of emergency.
“Software virtual networks” (SVNs) can now be built that enable engineers to evaluate new components and technologies rapidly and at much lower cost than previously possible. Scalable Network Technologies, a Los Angeles-based provider of highly sophisticated software and technical services for wireless network development, developed this new technology, which will be launched under the brand name EXataTM in the fourth quarter of 2008.
The Problem of Specialized Networks
Today, every government agency that depends on mobile communications to fulfill its mission, operates with its own private network with unique specifications for equipment and transmission signals. The benefit of this approach has always been rock-solid reliability and interference-free field communications. The downside: these networks present a major obstacle to cross-agency, first-responder coordination, particularly during widespread emergencies, like 9-11 or Hurricane Katrina, that quickly overload the public telecommunications network.
Government agencies at all levels are now making interoperability – connecting specialized networks in a way that will enable the agencies to break down communication barriers – a top priority.
One of the first large-scale projects to address interoperability was the High-Speed Data Communications System Project in Pinellas County, Florida. The mission of this project is to develop a new high-speed wireless network to augment the existing public safety wireless voice and data system. A nationwide initiative, Project National Shield, is being led by the Defense Department in collaboration with industry, other government agencies and academia across political jurisdictions to develop a national interoperable system-of-systems framework.
In both of these initiatives, the development, testing and deployment of solutions to the interoperability challenge involve the use of “testbeds,” small-scale prototype networks built with prototype hardware. Testbeds are costly and time consuming to deploy, so they are typically used at the end of the development cycle to prove the efficacy of the technology.
Software Virtual Networks Replace Costly Testbeds
EXata uses a technology called true emulation to create SVNs, exact digital or “virtual” duplicates of live physical components in complex networks. Any hardware, software or human user connected to this emulated network is not able to tell the difference between a real network component and its emulated replacement.
EXata breaks new ground in speed and fidelity compared to competitive simulation and emulation systems. The underlying computer code, known as the kernel, is built with patented computationally efficient code that dramatically increases speed and accuracy on any computing platform. EXata is the only emulation system that can use advanced parallel processing to digitally represent every layer in the wireless communications protocol “stack.”
Interoperability Solved – Better and Faster
Network emulation with EXata, as a replacement for costly testbeds, provides network developers with two substantial benefits. First, emulation enables engineers to test and evaluate potential interoperation solutions much earlier in the design process, at a fraction of the cost of physical testbeds. Emulation reduces cost by minimizing prototype iterations through the development cycle. It also eliminates the need to acquire large physical spaces within which to construct testbeds; you can’t test routing protocols or connectivity issues if all the radios are in the same room.
Second, EXata produces better predictability of actual performance because of engineers can test solutions against all potential environmental effects. As a result, many more potential solutions can be evaluated and more problems can be solved with fewer technical compromises.
Network emulation with EXata will lead to faster and better solutions to the pressing need for first responder coordination, resulting in faster rescue and relief deployment and reduced loss of life. That’s technology from which we will all benefit.
About Scalable Network Technologies
Scalable Network Technologies is the leader in parallel processing technology for network performance evaluation. The company develops and supports high-fidelity evaluation software tools used for predicting the performance of computing and communications networks and network devices. SNT has created a new category of evaluation tools for today’s sophisticated networks that meets the demand for real-time, real-network performance testing. Widely recognized for its flagship product, QualNet, the company’s customers include major aerospace and defense contractors, the US Department of Defense, mobile network operators, as well as research agencies and universities.