DTC Communications’ (DTC) Phase 4 MANET (Mobile Ad Hoc Networking) mesh radio has been selected by BAE Systems as the communications system for the company’s latest unmanned surface vessel (USV), an unmanned RHIB that has been procured by the Royal Navy under its Navy X autonomy and lethality accelerator programme.
The Phase 4 radio utilizes DTC’s MeshUltra Tactical COFDM waveform, which has been designed to excel even in the presence of heavy multipath and interference. MeshUltra employs over 800 carriers in contrast to the 52 carriers of Wi-Fi, allowing for a lower symbol rate on each carrier and therefore much better resistance to long range multipath reflections.
The MeshUltra COFDM waveform is MIMO-capable and extremely spectrally efficient, particularly when compared with radios utilizing constant amplitude modulations. DTC can offer up to 5.6 Mbps in a narrow 1.25MHz channel – over ten times the throughput of some industry solutions in “like for like” bandwidths. This means that DTC can offer PLI update rates, low latency voice and video in channels where these solutions could only offer slow update PLI.
Most MANET Mesh radios employ a “contention based” channel access mechanism called CSMA (Carrier Sensed Multiple Access) in which radios with data to send wait until they can see a clear channel before transmitting. CSMA networks are subject to self-interference due to “contention.” This leads to multiple retries, significantly reducing real world network capacity and very variable latency. DTC’s MeshUltra utilizes a token-based managed channel access mechanism in which only a radio holding the channel access token can transmit. This completely removes self-interference and allows DTC networks to operate extremely efficiently – and with low and predictable latency – even at very high utilization.
Mike Woods, Chief Technologist at BAE Maritime Systems, commented: “DTC’s performance during recent live trials proved to us that their COFDM based Mesh waveform is the most qualified product for our system and for future integration in the P24 Navy X program. In addition to the performance of DTC’s technology, their engineers provide in-depth knowledge of our domain and mission and work collaboratively with the BAE Systems Program team.”
Neil McSparron, CTO at DTC, stated: “We value our partnership with BAE Maritime Systems and find it rewarding to see the performance DTC achieved.”