Ubiquitous communications will be the next era in the evolving communications revolution. From the human perspective, access to information will be instantaneous and provide a revolution in services available to both the consumer and the warfighter. Services will be from the mundane - anytime, anywhere access to any movie ever made - to the vital - reliable and immediate access to the analyzed real-time video from the multi-spectral sensors scanning for snipers in the next block. In the former example, the services rely on a fixed infrastructure of networking devices housed in controlled environments and coupled to fixed terrestrial fiber backbones - in the latter, the services are derived from an agile and highly mobile ad-hoc backbone established in a matter of minutes by size, weight, and power-constrained platforms. This network must mitigate significant changes in the transmission media caused by millisecond-scale atmospheric temperature variations, the deployment of smoke, or the drifting of a cloud. It must mitigate against structural obscurations, jet wash, or incapacitation of a node. To maintain vital connectivity, the mobile backbone must be predictive and self-healing on both near-real-time and real-time time scales. The nodes of this network must be reconfigurable to mitigate intentional and environmental jammers, block attackers, and alleviate interoperability concerns caused by changing standards. The nodes must support multi-access of disparate waveform and protocols.
A number of high-speed, wireless, wideband data links have been developed for military applications. Modern network oriented RF systems require network interfaces for flexibility in battlefield applications. Multiple sensor payload data streams can be integrated with voice or other applications using appropriate network interface units. These high speed RF modules are very flexible and can be fielded in either manned or Unmanned Aircraft Vehicles. Downlinks from these vehicles can be integrated with various antenna configurations or through satellite links.