Network Realism in Training Environments

Bringing Network Realism to the Training Environment

Networks are a critical component in modern warfare and their impact on the war fighter’s effectiveness cannot be overstated. And here we are not just talking about their criticality in frontline combat situations but also for logistics and wider intelligence gathering. Therefore, it is vital to include the network environment in your simulation or training set up.
Today’s armed forces have access to an unprecedented array of communications pathways- SATcom networks, MANET (Mobile Ad-hoc Networks), Tactical Data Links, Radio, Military Broadband etc. all helping to deliver ever-increasing quantities of data and intelligence. That is until atmospheric conditions, local terrain, demand from competing sources, or the enemy, all play their part in slowing down or interrupting access to mission-critical data.

Understanding and Coping with Poor Networks

In our civilian world we have grown used to instant access to data and, on those occasions when we encounter slow application response times, it is quite remarkable how quickly we become frustrated, anxious or even angry. Now, just imagine applying these same restrictions into a real-life, already stressful combat situation and see how personnel react. They will blame the kit; they will blame themselves; they will blame those higher up the chain of command. Rational thought processing will diminish and panic could ensue.And the reason for doing this is because, during training they were not subjected to scenarios where the network conditionsimpact data transmission and device performance. This might lead them to believe that something is wrong (when it could just be normal) and therefore impede effective decision making.

However, just as a flight simulator can be used to train pilots how to react in emergency situations, until their responses almost become second nature, if we incorporate a dynamic,evolving yet controllable network environment into the training platform, we can help our war fighters to prepare themselves for the realities and challenges their communications and data delivery systems may present them in a real conflict situation and provide strategies to minimize stress levels and mistakes.

A ‘Flight Simulator’ for Networks

Calnex NE-ONE Network Emulators, with their ability to simulate and manipulate network conditions and environments, can be easily incorporated into your simulation or training platform to deliver the realism you need to provide the most real-world training experience possible.

All combinations of land/air/sea/space topologies can be simulated with this technology, together with meshed or partially meshed and convoy networks. This includes SATCOM hops, DSL/Mobile network connections, SD-WAN and international WAN environments to create an accurate working model of real-world, international, multi-domain networks, all available and under your complete control within your training environment.

Different network impairments such as restricted bandwidth, latency, data packet loss, packet reordering and data packet erroring and more can all be introduced into the training environment to simulate atmospheric conditions, local terrain or enemy jamming. And, with the growing use of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellations it is possible to familiarize the war fighter with behavior of this technology as well.

Deployment in Cyber Ranges

Another use for this type of technology is in the Cyber Range, where applications and devices can be subjected to various cyber attacks, and defenders can try to defend against these. As these can originate from any location worldwide, through any available method, it’s vital to simulate the correct network conditions, otherwise whether attacking or defending, the operator may believe that something is not working correctly simply due to cyber range network conditions not matching the real-world conditions.

Delivering a truly holistic training experience

Advances in computer graphics and the introduction of immersive Virtual Reality technologies, have helped the modern training simulator get incredibly close to being like the real thing, making it a vital resource for any military organization. However, we believe that to deliver a truly holistic training experience, the network environment must be factored in as we owe it to our war fighters to ensure they are fully prepared to operate in the desired disadvantaged and disrupted network conditions likely to be encountered in-theater.

Want to Find Out More?

If you would like to understand more about how to add Network Realism to the Training Environment, we would be happy to arrange an online demonstration.

Alternatively, if you’re heading to I/ITSEC 2023, drop by our booth, #3365 opposite the US Air Force Research Laboratory booth.