Content-Based Mobile Edge Networking

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= DARPA reinvents peer-to-peer for battlefield with tactical “torrents”.



Sean Gallagher:

'The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently conducted a field test of a technology that could make it possible for troops on the ground to share intelligence and reconnaissance data over local wireless and radio networks without having to be tethered to a server. Called the Content-Based Mobile Edge Networking (CBMEM) program, DARPA's effort is combining mobile ad-hoc networking with a peer-to-peer technology that replicates images, documents, and other media across a range of devices—without all of the overhead of the Department of Defense's existing intelligence-sharing network.

In the short term, the technology being developed by the CBMEM program could find its way into the field in Afghanistan or on missions where the military needs to share data without phoning home over its global network, including humanitarian operations in response to disasters that have knocked out key communications infrastructure. But the technology could also benefit first responders and relief agencies and could create the basis for data sharing between organizations because it can be deployed on commercial smartphones.

In late August, DARPA conducted the test of Phase I of CBMEN at Fort AP Hill in Virginia. The software developed by the program was loaded onto Android smartphones with cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity, as well as on UHF- and L-band- capable Rifleman Radios based on the Joint Tactical Radio System standard. Rifleman Radios are relatively lightweight, wearable radios that allow simultaneous voice and data transmission and can be jacked into computers and biometric data collection devices via standard interfaces such as USB and serial connections.

The CBMEN software is in some ways like peer-to-peer file sharing software, except that it pushes content out to other devices on the network rather than simply serving up responses to download requests. Each device acts as a server, broadcasting availability of its content over Wi-Fi, cellular, or radio networks and then synchronizing with other CBMEN-equipped devices as they discover and join the network. As a result, all the content within the cloud of devices gets passed to each new member device without their users having to take any action." (