Defence technology and security firm QinetiQ, formerly the research lab of the UK’s Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, has selected Riverbed’s Steelhead appliances to boost communications performance for the Royal Navy.
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The project is part of the Ministry of Defence’s applied research programme, which will feed into number of related network-enabling projects, including the Defence Information Infrastructure initiative, which will consolidate MoD information systems.
The navy uses a mix of satellite, UHF (both wide and narrow band) and HF bearers for its operational data communications, but has found that performance can be poorer than a civilian dial-up internet connection. The navy wanted its existing command support systems to operate seamlessly with all its ships around the world, using any potential network bearer.
Siôn Evans, senior network and systems consultant at QuinetiQ, said a three and a half week sea trial had shown the Riverbed appliance produced “at least a 3.5 times average performance improvement across all Royal Navy Command Support System applications in seven ships”.
Used with the specialist tactical picture application C2PC “the improvements were up to 44 times”, Evans said.