Mobile Tactical Forces: Experiments on Multi-broker Messaging Middleware in a Coalition Setting

Manso, Marco
Guerra, Barbara
Freire, Fernando
Jansen, Norman
Chan, Kevin
Toth, Andrew
Bloebaum, Trude Hafsøe
Johnsen, Frank T.
Manso, Marco; Guerra, Barbara; Freire, Fernando; Jansen, Norman; Chan, Kevin; Toth, Andrew; Bloebaum, Trude Hafsøe; Johnsen, Frank T.. Mobile Tactical Forces: Experiments on Multi-broker Messaging Middleware in a Coalition Setting. International Command and Control Research and Technology Symposium (ICCRTS) proceedings 2019
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The environment in which tactical forces operate is characterized by disconnected intermittent connectivity and limited bandwidth (DIL). This environment significantly constrains the application of widely used technologies. These characteristics require that technology and standards need to be carefully selected and that appropriate profiles are set. The NATO IST-150 research group is tackling this challenge by analysing standards and technologies appropriate for tactical networks, obtaining promising results with the Message Queue Telemetry Transport (MQTT). As a result of the NATO IST-150 activities, this paper presents the application and evaluation of MQTT technologies in the context of a three nation coalition setting (i.e., federated-based setup) – specifically NOR (Norway), Portugal (PRT) and the United States of America (USA) – supporting information exchange between brokers, while preserving the Nations’ ownership (and control) over its resources. Using a simplified version of the Blue Force Tracking (BTF) service, the experiment demonstrates the MQTT ability to propagate messages across the whole coalition. Moreover, the experiment results show a high-reliability and low latency in delivering messages (including between coalition brokers). The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) places a high priority in achieving technical interoperability between Allied forces, including at the tactical edge, in which IST-150 findings and recommendations will provide valuable inputs.
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