Telemetry-over- IP (TMoIP)
Customer: A Major U.S. Military Test Range
Project: Point-To-Point PCM Conversion to IP Networking
Challenges: Competitive Field, Mission and Safety Critical Requirements
Our customer needed to convert their entire range telemetry data distribution system over from point-to-point PCM communication links to a network-based Telemetry-over-IP (TMoIP) transport. Since range telemetry is used for mission-critical range safety data processing, it was essential that this next-generation TMoIP infrastructure provide the same level of reliability as the dedicated PCM point-to-point transport.
It quickly became clear that a thorough equipment evaluation could not be accomplished by just reviewing vendor data sheets. In-depth, hands-on testing would be required. The military branch operating the range selected an integration company to provision a full test lab. This lab included communication equipment that mimicked the actual network and communications infrastructure on the test range. The integrator then arranged for sample sets of TMoIP devices from NetAcquire and other leading equipment providers in the industry.
As the lab took shape, all of the candidate TMoIP devices were installed, connected to PCM data sources and bit-error-rate testers, and provisioned to use simulated range network routers.
Comparing Competitive Vendors
Testing focused first on the ability of each vendor’s equipment to meet a detailed list of mandatory range operations specifications, including the critical forward-looking requirement to fully-support IPv6 networking. Further testing ensured the equipment operated reliably in non-ideal, real-world networking conditions. Final deployment expected to include hundreds of telemetry circuits, so testing was performed to measure ease-of-use when simulating operation in complex topologies with large numbers of channels.
Due to the mission and safety-critical nature of telemetry communications on the range, the legacy range equipment employed two fully redundant parallel equipment strings: the “A String” and “B String”. The replacement TMoIP design also used two independent strings of equipment, but in a further nod to mission-critical reliability, each string used TMoIP equipment provided by separate vendors.
NetAcquire supported the evaluation with equipment, software, and TMoIP expertise. The equipment evaluation effort lasted more than 12 months. TMoIP products from vendors deemed “not-acceptable” were eliminated from consideration due to either product limitations or reliability/ease-of-use issues.
Another key requirement emerged during the equipment evaluation. The legacy PCM equipment and cabling used a hard-to-find, very expensive, connector system known as Triax. The adapters needed to convert the Triax connectors to more common connectors like BNC are also costly. NetAcquire TMoIP products provide flexible cable connection options with Quick Connect Panels (QCPs) that provide customer requested site-specific inter-connect configurations. NetAcquire proposed creating a Triax QCP that offered high-density Triax panel connectors, thus preserving the existing cabling infrastructure without requiring an expensive conversion or re-wiring.
After all of the contractor evaluations were completed, NetAcquire was selected as the preferred TMoIP equipment provider for the primary “A String” side of the telemetry data distribution network. In addition, an advanced network management capability was developed that leveraged the SNMPv3 protocol to provide end-to-end TMoIP configuration and management for range operations The customer praised the NetAcquire product and engineering team for responsiveness and flexibility.