DARPA discounts ad-hoc network

Researchers at the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) believes a military mobile ad-hoc network (MANET) that lets 1,000-5,000 nodes connect simultaneously and securely is pretty much impossible.

Researchers have unsuccessfully used internet-based concepts in attempts to try to build MANET for the last 20 years.

Now, according to Network World, DARPA thinks they can only scale to around 50 nodes before network services become ineffective and is asking for new ideas to break MANET limitations.

In a statement, DARPA said while the internet created some far-reaching technical advances it can’t cope with the requirements of MANET.

It said that MANET will not happen using existing protocols and concepts and someone is going to have to come up with something truly revolutionary to build one.

It is still an important technological goal. A MANET of a thousand nodes could support an entire battalion without the need for manual network setup, management and maintenance that comes from ‘switchboard’-era communications.

This would give troops robust services such as real-time video imagery, enhanced situational awareness and other services that we have not yet imagined.

So DARPA thinks the only way to get it, is to scrap internet developments and go back to the drawing board.

DARPA says it intends to discuss the MANET concepts at a Novel Methods for Information Sharing in Large-Scale Mobile Ad-hoc Networks Symposium in August. It might be a good idea to have a Powerpoint with your ideas by then.