Although the importance of communications and networking technology is significant in many aspects of modern life, nowhere is this more so than in the defence realm.
Literally everything in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) is networked, from its airborne surveillance platforms to frigates, submarines, land vehicles and soldiers. Everything, and everyone, must be able to interact rapidly, effectively and securely at all times, or operations could be severely compromised and lives placed in jeopardy.
Complicating matters, this technology simply never stands still. What was world-leading yesterday could easily fall dangerously behind international benchmarks tomorrow.
Researchers at the University of Adelaide’s Centre for Defence Communications and Information Networking (CDCIN) have been helping the ADF address this issue for the better part of three decades; and according to CDCIN Director Associate Professor Bruce Northcote, it’s a challenge they thrive on.
“We specialise in translating world-leading research in network and communications engineering into the defence environment, to better enable our forces to carry out their missions,” says Bruce.
“Our work merges the disciplines of engineering, mathematics and computer science, and provides a wide range of critically important challenges. So it’s very satisfying when everything comes together and new insights and opportunities are realised.”
The CDCIN predominantly assists in both optimising the performance of existing ADF systems, and exploring, assessing and developing new concepts and approaches, helping the Department of Defence ensure peak quality of output from its investments.
“Advances in software and policy-defined networking are constantly presenting significant opportunities to further enhance performance of defence communications systems—particularly their agility and security.”
Recently, however, the research centre has also been playing a key role in enhancing military personnel training.
“We’re working with the ADF on innovative ways to provide our soldiers with an extremely realistic operational communications and networking experience in their training environments,” says Bruce.
“Ultimately, our goal is to enable Defence personnel to securely communicate whenever, wherever and however they need to support their many types of missions.”