Electronic Weapons: The Bridge


January 4, 2011: The Internet has solved another major communications problem, indirectly. It all began when the problems using civilian communications devices (cell phones and walkie-talkies) on military (or police) networks grew more acute since September 11, 2001. Counter-terrorism efforts depend a lot on different organizations being able to quickly communicate with each other. Then came smart phones, which over the last five years have become cheaper, more powerful and more popular.

The solution is one that made the Internet possible; software that connects two different networks (in this case an encrypted and password protected  military or government one, and a more accessible cell phone system.) Aside from the basic conversion chores (frequencies and data formats), the conversion software also handles encryption. The Internet was made possible by such a system (TCP/IP, or Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol). Cheaper and more powerful microelectronics make it possible to handle the heftier workload needed to support linking cell phones with military communications.

A primary driver behind developing this "translation layer" software is the rapid evolution of the cell phone and the inability of the ponderous military equipment development system to keep up.


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