3rd Signal Brigade: conquers voice, data and video – 2003 TechNet International
Michael Leon Windon
The 57th Signal Battalion, 3d Signal Brigade whose motto is “We Conquer Space” was selected to be a key player in this year’s TechNet International hosted by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association. The 57th Signal Battalion working in conjunction with the Defense Information Systems Agency, the Signal Center’s Battle Command Battle Labs, and the Joint Communications Support Element showcased the potential to support network centric communications using the convergence of voice, data, and video services over a single IP data network. This 3-day convention is one of DoD’s largest industry focused events demonstrating their ability through innovation and initiative to meet the growing command, control, communications, computer and intelligence needs of our military. The focus of this year’s TechNet was “Exploiting Emerging Technologies in Support of the Global War on Terrorism”.
One such emerging technology that is essential to meet many of today’s C4I requirements is based on the convergence of voice, data and video networks.
The 57th Signal Battalion not only demonstrated the potential of this convergence but “conquered space” by dynamically allocating bandwidth over its multiple satellite links to Fort Gordon, Fort Belvoir and Tampa, Fla. using this technology. These links included commercial Ku-band using an AN/USC-60 provided by L3 communications, a Defense Satellite Communications System X-Band using an AN/TSC 93B, and a military strategic, tactical and relay extremely high frequency link using secure mobile anti-jam reliable tactical terminals. An on-site Computer Information Systems Company wireless access point provided wireless connectivity to a tactical voice-enabled personal digital assistant and a mini video-enabled Sony notebook.
Users at Fort Hood were able to seamlessly participate in voice and video calls to Fort Gordon, Ga. and Tampa, Fla. The 57th Signal Battalion also utilized General Dynamic’s Vantage node. The Vantage along with a CISCO call manager is a voice over Internet protocol software private branch exchange that performs gatekeeper functions for VoIP telephones and also provides a gateway interface to our mobile subscriber equipment. In its current configuration the Vantage can support both plain old telephones (using CISCO VG-248s or commercial T1 channel banks) and VoIP phones over our existing local area networks. “The Vantage brings commercial office features such as voicemail, conference calling and call transferring to the field,” says PFC Benjamin A. Naiper, a Vantage operator from D Company, 57th Signal Battalion.
LTC Barry Hensley, commander of the 57th Signal Battalion, also stated “This proof of concept was a major success as it clearly demonstrated the potential of network convergence in support of the warfigher. Everything over IP does have its challenges from configuration management to quality of service; however, we have the expertise and determination to conquer.”
AFCEA–Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association
BCBL–battle commands battle labs
C4I–command, control, communications, computers and intelligence
CISCO–Computer Information Systems Company
DCSC–defense satellite communication system
DISA–Defense Information Systems Agency
EHF–extremely high frequency
JCSE–Joint Communications Support Element
MILSTAR–military strategic, tactical and relay
MSE–mobile subscriber equipment
PBX–private branch exchange
PDA–personal digital assistant
SMART-T–secure mobile anti-jam reliable tactical terminals
VoIP–voice over Internet protocol
1LT Windon joined the National Guard in 1996 at the age of 17 under the split option program. He attended basic training during the summer of 1997, also his junior year in high school. After graduating as distinguish honor graduate from basic training on August 18, 1997; returned home to finish his senior year of high school in 1998 and entered college.
Windon joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps at Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas in 1999. He gained experience working for the campus computer department which was a outsourced computer hardware and limited networking job. He later worked for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Facilities” Division as a network technician.
He is a gradate of Sam Houston State University where he received his ROTC commission as an United States Army Signal officer. Duty assignments include: the small extension node platoon leader, D Company, 57th Signal Battalion and assistant S3 for the 57th Signal Battalion.
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