Tactical Network Emulation

by Posted on June 23, 2018

Current Army’s heterogeneous network is divided into two layers; i.e. Upper Tactical Internet and Lower Tactical Internet. Upper Tactical Internet is deployed at Company and above level with WIN-T (Warfighter Information Network-Tactical) waveforms and Lower Tactical Internet is deployed at Company and below level with MNVR (Mid-tier Networking Vehicular Radio) waveforms.  In order to accurately model and integrate the physical layer of Army’s tactical network, EMANE (Extendable Mobile Ad-hoc Network Emulator) is a best viable option for emulation testbed implementation. EMANE is an open source project sponsored by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) under the OSD Network Communication Capability Program (NCCP) and in cooperation with the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) High Performance Computing Mobile Network Modeling Institute (HPC MNMI) effort.

Network Emulation

The EMANE framework allows software and systems engineers to execute real-time multi node test scenarios using multi-processor commodity hardware. Larger more complex scenarios are executed across multiple servers interconnected over network using EMANE’s distributed emulation capability. EMANE is used by industry, academia and the DoD to enable a wide range of experimentation. Experimentation topics include routing architecture design, cyber research, C2 application testing, etc. EMANE framework also provides pluggable environment for implementing any give type of software defined radio technology. Along with physical layer modeling, it is also important to implement accurate routing architecture into emulation testbed. Open source based Quagga router using linux containers is the best option to integrate routing layer with physical layer in emulation testbed. Linux containers are process groups isolated from the rest of the system to some degree (lightweight virtualization). Linux containers takes a completely different approach then system virtualization. A container (optionally) uses a network namespace – an isolated network stack containing its own interfaces, routing tables, neighbor table, netfilter rules, etc. Containers in the emulation allow multiple ciphertext and plaintext routers to co-exist in the same operating system instance.