The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently awarded Raytheon BBN Technologies $12.2 million under the Edge-Directed Cyber Technologies for Reliable Mission Communication (EdgeCT) program to research optimized information flow for military operations over wide area networks.
The goal of the EdgeCT program is to ensure mission-critical communications are less susceptible to potential network failures resulting from both cyber-attacks and common network errors. The EdgeCT program uses a new approach to achieve enhanced reliability by focusing on adding new capabilities to the communications devices at the edges of the network, rather than to the network itself.
"Recovering from network attacks or working around misconfigurations can disrupt traffic for hours," said Greg Lauer, EdgeCT principal investigator at Raytheon BBN. "Our aim on the EdgeCT program is to minimize that disruption to minutes or less. Our approach does not require control or direct observation of the wide area network and so it can be easily deployed in end user enclaves."
To accomplish this, the Raytheon BBN-led team seeks to develop an intrinsically robust overlay network, interconnecting users through secure connections. Through these connections, the software could continuously monitor events in the larger network and their effect on traffic flow. The overlay network may also exchange information between nodes in each user group about network conditions and then dynamically configure the way the network handles application traffic to maximize performance so that critical communications are transmitted as quickly as possible.