Raytheon BBN Technologies-built Version 4 Wireless Network after Next (WNaN) radios have been selected by the US Army for evaluations during the forthcoming network integration evaluation (NIE) 13.1 exercise at Fort Bliss in Texas and New Mexico, US.

The army has acquired 125 radios, which feature reduced size, weight and power requirements, as well as enhanced battery life when compared with the previous variant that participated during NIE 12.1 experiment as a system under evaluation in October/November 2011.

"We have tested the WNaN network extensively, and WNaN performance exceeds the demands of today’s army."

Raytheon BBN Technologies engineering senior director and WNaN principal investigator Dr Jason Redi said: "We have tested the WNaN network extensively, and WNaN performance exceeds the demands of today’s army."

Developed as part the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) WnaN programme, the radios are designed to offer an extensive mobile ad hoc network with dynamic spectrum access, disruption tolerant networking and multiple cooperative transceivers on a handheld platform.

The networking technologies enable the radio to function efficiently even in dense signal environments without dropping calls, they allow mission command by establishing up to 128 call groups, and also maintain situational awareness in instances of interrupted communications.

More specifically, dynamic spectrum access will help the radio to shift towards the best available frequency by sensing the spectrum in use, while disruption tolerance will facilitate message progress towards intended destinations during break-ups and its delivery upon availability of necessary paths.

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Multiple transceivers and traditional IP networks will enable the network to operate over multiple channels and drop message packets in scenarios lacking complete paths to the destination respectively.

Manufactured using low-cost, commercially available components, the radios have been designed to serve as a reliable communication device for deployed troops at every operational level.

Prior to NIE 12.1, the radios have also successfully demonstrated their ability to transmit voice and data traffic across 102 nodes in simulated tactical environment during a series of demonstrations.