DOD Gains Asset Visibility Using Mesh Network

July 9, 2009
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.—In one of the largest deployments of secure wireless mesh network asset tracking ever attempted, ARINC Incorporated and its partner Impeva Labs have successfully demonstrated continuous real-time visibility of more than 900 electronic asset tags, distributed across a test site of half a square kilometer (0.2 square miles) in a large mesh network.

The successful test of the ARINC/Impeva Labs asset tracking solution, known as Next Generation Wireless Communications (NGWC) for Logistics Applications, was conducted at Moffett Field in California for the U.S. Army Logistics Innovation Agency (LIA). Unlike other asset tracking solutions, the ARINC/Impeva Labs NGWC system provides continuous visibility of assets anywhere on earth without the need for ground infrastructure. Self-powered NGWC asset tags or “nodes” communicate electronically to self-assemble into a local mesh network. The network collects and transmits data on the condition and position of all assets over secure, long range DoD networks.

Multiple self-assembling NGWC configurations were deployed during the recent tests at Moffett Field. Most notably, a “large mesh” network with 930 nodes simulated asset storage at a large military depot, or on board a ship. A second “long linear chain” network was also tested, with 54 nodes stretching half a mile. This configuration simulated the transportation of assets by railroad or truck convoy.

The large mesh testing at Moffett Field demonstrated satisfaction of several key project requirements and milestones,” said Dave Evans of LMI Government Consulting, a company evaluating NGWC development for LIA. “The new NGWC mesh technology will provide fully secure asset visibility to the DoD over a much wider range of business processes than current technologies.”

“Many key operational features of the NGWC system were successfully proven during our Moffett Field tests,” stated Monty Montero, vice president, Defense Systems Engineering for ARINC. “With our partner Impeva Labs, we showed that hundreds of NGWC asset tags can self-assemble into a functioning ‘ad hoc’ network, all without programming or human intervention. We also verified the self-healing capability of the NGWC mesh, and its ability to expand automatically when more nodes are added. In addition, we verified that the mesh can determine least-cost data routing, and go silent on command.”

“The successful tests at Moffett Field concluded the required third phase ‘Design Spiral’ for the NGWC system,” said Tony Moroyan, president and CEO of Impeva Labs. “In a previous design spiral in the third quarter of 2008, the Army Logistics Innovation Agency deployed NGWC to track a global shipment of materiel transported by rail, truck and container ship.” ARINC expects to conduct a fourth design spiral later in 2009, with expanded testing of a larger mesh network covering several square miles.