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Winning Infrastructure -  The Case for Network Centric Warfare / Oren Barkai, ECI Telecom

Oren Barkai, Senior System Architect, Government & Defense Solutions, ECI Telecom, concludes the discussion of modern NCW infrastructure approaches

The purpose of the Network Centric Warfare (NCW) doctrine is to translate information supremacy into strategic fighting advantages. Today, an army's ability to share information is crucial to a successful military agenda, leading governments to deploy NCW-based communication infrastructure as an integral part of their military strength.

ECI Telecom, a global provider of networking infrastructure, is a vendor with vast experience with building communications infrastructure for defense forces and overall expertise in the telecom field. This has placed the company in an optimal position to develop advanced NCW infrastructure, offering an architecture that relies on best practice technologies, in a layered manner, including:

  • Physical layer - deploying fiber optics and high capacity microwave radios between bases
  • Transmission layer - provisioning optical and electrical transmission for high-bandwidth applications
  • IP layer - creating a unified network infrastructure
  • Applications - supporting voice over IP (VoIP), data, video and radio applications
  • Information security measures - encryptors and other means of network protection defending the infrastructure from both outside as well as inside threats.
  • Integrated management system - connecting all management systems and providing an integrated total picture of network status and performance

A layered approach assures that if a technology phases out or has to be replaced, it will not require the full substitution of the infrastructure, but rather only one of its layers. Additionally, it also allows for increased redundancy, as the system engineering does not rely on inherent equipment features but rather on a multi layer “shock absorbing” design. As part of this layered solution, defense forces prefer to use multi-service platforms to increase efficiency and reduce maintenance impact.

If we take, for example an air-defense scenario in which an UAV (Unmanned Airborne Vehicle) or radar system detects an unidentified aircraft crossing the border, split-second decisions must be made to bring it down or allow it safe passage. These decisions rest on the transmission of UAV video feeds to “the right locations” - including to the homes and offices of top commanders (using information security measures to protect the information flow).

The network must react both on the mobile domain (allocating bandwidth from the UAV connection to the access site for mobile forces), as well as within the stationary network (enforcing QoS policies to prioritize the real time video).

Another instance of the effectiveness of this network can be seen when defense forces move rapidly from routine operations to actual times of war in which troops may receive orders to be positioned at different locations and shifting battle scenarios require HQ to move quickly from one zone to another. The network can either enable the fast changes in service allocation, or may even have a pre-planned scenario that will run on the integrated network management, thereby making resources available at the click of a mouse, more efficiently and effectively than before.


While it is not well recognized, the role infrastructure plays in gaining network enabled capabilities is critical. ECI Telecom, with its focus on NCW infrastructure, has brought about a paradigm shift in the concept of building network-enabled capabilities. Based on its experience with defense forces around the world, ECI Telecom has not only developed leading technological solutions, but its overall approach to building NCW architecture guarantees a high-level of expertise necessary for the provision of optimal infrastructure. The foundation of this architecture rests not only on ECI platforms, but also on third-party best-of-breed interoperable products that come together to form an ideal NCW infrastructure solution.