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Cooperating in crises

Smooth cooperation is an important factor in the efficient international management of crises, not only because it simplifies work on the ground but also because it helps prevent problems spreading. One ­difficulty holding back such cooperation up until now, however, has been the unsuitability of existing ­telecommunications systems to dealing with these challenges – which is where Deployable COTS ­Network technology comes in.
Ascom (Finland) Oy

Communications play a vital role in managing crises. Unfortunately, the command and control systems intended for national defence forces, as well as those used by telecom operators, are typically ill-suited to the needs of crisis management, particularly multinational initiatives.

Deployable COTS Network solutions are highly scalable and transportable, and can be tailored to the specifics of local conditions and local standards with a minimum of effort.

Seeing this obvious gap in the market, Ascom – together with the Finnish Defence Forces and a group of business partners – has developed a new technology: Deployable COTS Network technology.

This has been designed from the outset to deliver the same information – whether data, images, or voice – to all those involved in dealing with either international or national crises and natural catastrophes.

The same information can be provided to and shared by partners in different parts of the world, even in areas lacking regular data communications connections. Information can be easily integrated with a broad spectrum of devices and systems where this is needed, as well.

A total communications solution

As crises and catastrophes occur unexpectedly, almost by definition, this puts a lot of pressure on political decision-makers and others to identify and/or order the appropriate communications tools, at least if they want to get things moving quickly. With the help of Deployable COTS Network technology, solutions can be implemented rapidly and reliably.

Ascom acts as a Deployable COTS Network integrator and service provider, and is responsible for a project from start to a finish: carrying out surveys, providing consultation, planning implementation, coordinating the delivery and assembly of systems, commissioning them, and providing maintenance.

In comparison to other solutions, those provided by Ascom offer numerous advantages.

Central to these is the fact that Deployable COTS Network systems can be configured and integrated very easily with any devices and subsystems that follow international standards, whether traditional or modern – such as landline phones, mobile phones, HF radio terminals, faxes, and personal computers.­ This can simplify and speed up commissioning systems in the field dramatically.

Deployable COTS Network solutions are also highly scalable and transportable, and can be tailored to the specifics of local conditions and local standards with a minimum of effort.

Deployable COTS Network technology has been developed to meet a broad range of requirements.

Access node

The Ascom Access Node forms the basis for mission-critical communication infrastructures for international military operations, peace-keeping troops, and crisis management teams.

It serves as a compact, high-capacity voice and data communications node, based on proven hardware and software components, and established industry and governmental standards.

Access Nodes can be interconnected securely to form highly-scalable communications networks for transmitting voice, data, and video over copper, fibre, or existing fixed line and wireless networks and infrastructures. As an all-IP solution, the Ascom Access Node enables users to take full advantage of powerful QoS, traffic prioritisation, and security features for all network traffic.

Ascom Access Nodes are easy to set up and manage, and can be deployed in a wide range of operational environments. Access Nodes come standard with all the network interfaces and functional features needed to build modern voice and data communications infrastructures rapidly, easily, and flexibly – and can be customised to include additional interfaces and features where these are needed.

Deployable COTS Networks

Availability

  • Capable of meeting a broad range of requirements, built around the principle of interoperability at all levels.

Sustainability

  • Solutions can be supplemented and secured very flexibly, and maintained to ensure compatibility with all relevant standards.

Survivability

  • A modular structure provides excellent survivability, as access networks can be dispersed over a large area, avoiding the creation of vulnerable critical nodes.

Security

  • Solutions comply with national security solutions and offer a secure interface.

Flexibility

  • Systems are equally well-suited to both national and international needs. Modular structures and control mechanisms guarantee flexibly.

Interoperability and standardisation

  • Based on the use of standardised products that offer ITU-T and NATO interoperability. The 10-foot NATO standard shelter makes the system easy to transport.
> Hanna Nurmi
(Published in High Technology Finland )