Integrated Planning of Tactical, Test Support, and Tactical Engagement Networks (IPT3N)
Cellular networks, especially those used in the test and training domain, are often required to satisfy stringent performance requirements of coverage and throughput, while meeting resource constraints. These networks often operate in an environment where interference from transmissions in other networks operating in the same or neighboring areas may cause conflicts. To ensure that the network can reliably provide the service required of it, such conflicts must be identified and mitigated prior to deployment.
Integrated Planning of Tactical, Test Support, and Tactical Engagement Networks (IPT3N) is a network planning capability being developed under a project funded by the Science & Technology (S&T) Program of the Test Resource Management Center (TRMC). The primary objective of IPT3N is to aid in the planning of range networks, including those used in Operational Tests (OTs) or training events. OTs are expensive and cannot be rerun easily. Hence, it is critical that the laydown of the range network, typically referred to as the Test Support Network (TSN), that is used to collect relevant metrics on the operation of the Networked System Under Test (NSUT) be such that that it can reliably provide the required communication services for the Exercise Controller (ExCon).
Existing network planning tools are limited in their capabilities. Current tools that use coverage maps only account for received signal strength at the physical layer from a specific network but do not consider the dynamic impact on the application layer traffic volume and Quality of Service (QoS). Similarly, the existing software tools for determining cell tower or access point placement are insufficient as they typically handle range and capacity issues separately.
To address these gaps, SCALABLE is developing IPT3N to provide a capability for planning, optimizing, and visualizing cellular networks used on test and training ranges. IPT3N is a simulation-based framework that provides a suite of semi-automated tools to reduce the complexity of network planning for test and training ranges, thereby reducing costs and increasing realism of the Operational Test and Training events.
IPT3N employs simulation and optimization techniques to provide a planning capability that can propose an optimized network layout (base station locations) and network configuration (e.g., antenna height, slot allocation/transmission schedules) that can provide the required coverage and network capacity. The recommendations are based on the terrain and other features of the geographical area where the network is to be deployed and mobility patterns of the communication devices in the NSUT or network. IPT3N can also assess the energy requirements of the various components to determine whether the battery/energy resources are adequate for the required duration (e.g., the duration of a test or training event).
For a successful test or training event, the access points or towers of the TSN must be located such that they can meet the preceding requirements. On most ranges, towers are an expensive asset to deploy and monitor during the test, and as such they must be managed optimally: using more towers than needed will drive up the cost of the event, and having insufficient coverage may raise concerns on the validity of the data collected during the test. The primary goal of IPT3N is to provide an automated capability for planning and optimizing range network laydowns to meet specified coverage, bandwidth, and power consumption requirements.
Adaptive Planning for Test and Training Networks
Planning and optimizing range network laydowns to meet specified coverage, bandwidth, and power consumption requirements using Integrated Planning of Tactical, Test Support, and Tactical Engagement Network (IPT3N).
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