9 October 2001

Defence Net Integrated - The Australian IT

Braintree Communications has created software and hardware for the integration of the Australian Defence Force's communications network.

The tiny Brisbane-based company, with just 15 staff, was approached by Ericsson, which is supporting Boeing in the ADF contract.

The objective of the project is to consolidate the separate communications networks of the ADF, including Navy, Air Force and Army.

Last year Boeing awarded Ericsson a contract worth more than $9 million dollars to assist in the upgrade of the ADF's communications system.

Braintree was then contracted by Ericsson to provide a customised multi-channel synchronous terminal server. The company completed its part in the ongoing project before the end of June this year, in just nine weeks. Braintree Chief Operating Officer Peter Hall said the company developed a data conversion protocol and conversion equipment while Ericsson did the voice communication.

"We created a device that would go between the encryption boxes and the high frequency transmitters," Mr Hall said.

He said the upgrade would allow seamless integration of diverse high frequency radio communication equipment used by Australian military personnel.

"We have developed a new way of transporting communications over domestic networks that no-one can hack into because you have to have the encryption device to decrypt it for the other end," Mr Hall said.

He said the contract was worth less than $1 million to Braintree, but was a critical part of the overall project.

"We are obligated to support the technology for a long time into the future and my understanding is that there will be additional devices required," Mr Hall said.

He said the challenge was to convert complex, unstructured signals to be delivered over a range of contemporary networks.

"This needed to be achieved without access to the original data configuration."

As part of the solution, the server allows up to eight synchronous devices (terminals) to be connected to a local area network. It also supports unformatted data, which is not found in other synchronous terminal servers.

It also has the ability for multi-channelling to simultaneously broadcast the same information to multiple synchronous ports. The product supports remote management and remote uploading of new operating software.


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