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This article describes a design approach adopted in developing networking capabilities for NATO's next generation narrowband waveform tactical radios. Providing improved link spectral efficiencies and maintaining long communication range, these new radios enable an opportunity to utilize mult-hop networking features that have been developed for mobile ad hoc networks during the past decade. The challenge, however, is to select and devise networking solutions of predictable and robust performance. For this purpose, a network-science- based approach is taken to first capture and understand the fundamental network properties exhibited when connecting tactical radios. This application of an empirical foundation has proven effective in discovering the dynamic network topological behavior and connectivity attributes. The results illustrate critical implications on the network protocol design and provide important guidance on selecting required networking solutions.
Date of Publication: February 2012