Communication Through Evolving Times

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We discuss the following topics in this blog:

  1. Needs of modern warfare.
  2. How are Networks Handling the Proliferation of Data?
  3. What are the Keys to Enabling a Supreme Digital Communications Network?

In addition to these topics, we shall also be answering the following FAQs:

  1. What is WiFi?
  2. What is an Optical Fibre Cable?

Evolving Battlefields

Modern warfare has evolved. Information is the new arsenal. Tasked with securing the vastness of the blue waters, the onus falls on naval communication networks to be infallible, secure and advanced in all conceivable ways. For years, the Indian Navy has been attempting a consolidated network that enables unhindered yet secure communication among its various assets and bases. So what does it take to establish such a network?

How are Networks Handling the Proliferation of Data?

With a proliferation of data, networks are swarming with endpoints and data processing points that are scattered across the landscape. The absence of a consolidated infrastructure leads to an asymmetry of data. This asymmetry further introduces a concern of network management which further results in decentralised controls, high operating costs and inefficient skill development.

Large-scale networks have become susceptible to attacks from various sources. Threats from multiple dimensions usually result from gaining backdoor access to the network by exposing loopholes. These loopholes hold serious potential to compromise the sensitive data that flows through the network. Another related concern is the protection of data that is staged and processed in the data centres that serve various critical purposes. In the absence of proper safeguards against cyber-threats, these massive data centres become vulnerable to exploitation.

A key tenet of any large network is the speed with which data access is enabled. Users no longer take kindly to buffering. The ultrafast digital age necessitates the presence of 100% available networks that enable high speed data access in order to deliver the desired quality of service.  

What are the Keys to Enabling a Supreme Digital Communications Network?

While the challenges have been known for some time, capable technologies have popped up from time to time. Yet, the Indian naval networks have been looking for the elusive ingredient(s) that could potentially usher in a new era of communications, one that is impervious to acts of disruption and malice. Here are the top 3 considerations that could hold the key to enabling a supreme digital communications network for the Indian Navy:

  • Ecosystem mind-set: As they say ‘Charity begins at home’, an absolutely essential keg of successful projects is the right mind-set that is zoned in on cracking problems holistically. The perks of an ecosystem mind-set allow organisations to be result-oriented while paving the way for selecting appropriate plans, partners & technologies and thereby, making informed decisions.
  • Trusted partners: In order to deliver large-scale projects such as a digitally supreme Naval Communications network (NCN), it is imperative that the right partners are selected. This may sound fairly simple but reality has a different story to tell. It begins with choosing partners – carefully, diligently and consciously – who can expand your access to a wider trusted partner-base from an end to end standpoint. With a proliferation of partners servicing similar client needs, they must then be vetted thoroughly according to the goals of the project. Only then can any progress be made towards flawless execution.
  • Ability to orchestrate multiple moving parts toward a common goal: With mind-set and partner ecosystem in place, any organisation that takes up large projects must have/develop the ability to exercise control via seamless interactions, proper alignment of roles & responsibilities and harnessing the feeling of one team – one goal among the diverse set of partners that work towards achieving the desired goals of the project.


What is WiFi?

Put simply, WiFi is a technology that uses radio waves to create a wireless network through which devices like mobile phones, computers, printers, etc., connect to the internet. A wireless router is needed to establish a WiFi hotspot that people in its vicinity may use to access internet services. You’re sure to have encountered such a WiFi hotspot in houses, offices, restaurants, etc.

To get a little more technical, WiFi works by enabling a Wireless Local Area Network or WLAN that allows devices connected to it to exchange signals with the internet via a router. The frequencies of these signals are either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bandwidths. These frequencies are much higher than those transmitted to or by radios, mobile phones, and televisions since WiFi signals need to carry significantly higher amounts of data. The networking standards are variants of 802.11, of which there are several (802.11a, 802.11b, 801.11g, etc.).

What is an Optical Fibre Cable?

An optical fibre cable is a cable type that has a few to hundreds of optical fibres bundled together within a protective plastic coating. They help carry digital data in the form of light pulses across large distances at faster speeds. For this, they need to be installed or deployed either underground or aerially. Standalone fibres cannot be buried or hanged so fibres are bunched together as cables for the transmission of data.

This is done to protect the fibre from stress, moisture, temperature changes and other externalities. There are three main components of a optical fibre cable, core (It carries the light and is made of pure silicon dioxide (SiO2) with dopants such as germania, phosphorous pentoxide, or alumina to raise the refractive index; Typical glass cores range from as small as 3.7um up to 200um), Cladding (Cladding surrounds the core and has a lower refractive index than the core, it is also made from the same material as the core; 1% refractive index difference is maintained between the core and cladding; Two commonly used diameters are 125µm and 140µm) and Coating (Protective layer that absorbs shocks, physical damage and moisture; The outside diameter of the coating is typically either 250µm or 500µm; Commonly used material for coatings are acrylate,Silicone, carbon, and polyimide).

An optical fibre cable is made up of the following components: Optical fibres – ranging from one to many. Buffer tubes (with different settings), for protection and cushioning of the fibre. Water protection in the tubes – wet or dry. A central strength member (CSM) is the backbone of all cables. Armoured tapes for stranding to bunch the buffer tubes and strength members together. Sheathing or final covering to provide further protection.

The five main reasons that make this technology innovation disruptive are fast communication speed, infinite bandwidth & capacity, low interference, high tensile strength and secure communication. The major usescases of optical fibre cables include intenet connectivity, computer networking, surgery & dentistry, automotive industry, telephony, lighting & decorations, mechanical inspections, cable television, military applications and space.

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