At Fort Drum, New York, the U.S. Army operates a training centre dedicated to simulating military conflicts for U.S. troops in urban areas. Units such as the 10th Mountain Division use the Military Operations in Urbanised Terrain (MOUT) Site to simulate urban battlefield tactics complete with smoke effects, smells of war, mobile targets, explosions, and other battlefield effects. Fort Drum's application required bringing video/audio content from the MOUT site's many cameras back to a central command centre over distances up to 40 kilometres.
The U.S. Army and their team managing MOUT decided to work with SIGCOM, a systems integration company specialising in video, security, data, and telecommunications projects. It was SIGCOM's responsibility to install and support much of the project including an elaborate fibre optic cabling infrastructure supporting the audio, video, control systems, and the recording solutions capturing the video content from each exercise. There were a number of challenges they faced:
- Video/Audio connectivity - their first need involved finding a way of moving video and audio content from different sources around a campus of over 167 square miles. From their central command site senior personnel needed to observe the live video/audio feeds for both observation and command/control.
- Large amounts of information - secondly, how could Fort Drum bring back more than 200 cameras and not completely fill up all of their network resources? Something had to be done to maximise the use of their fibre.
- Safer working conditions - finally and perhaps most importantly, Fort Drum and SIGCOM needed to balance creating a safe work environment with the need to monitor and maintain the system in case of fibre breaks or equipment failure. This constant monitoring requirement presented hazardous conditions to anyone on the site particularly when training exercises were going on.
Model 9152D equipment transports eight channels of composite video up to 40 Km over one single-mode optical fibre with a 10 MHz bandwidth. The Model DPX-200 units add two-channel high-fidelity (20 kHz bandwidth) stereo sound capability to each video channel.
The first challenge for Fort Drum and SIGCOM was handled by the decision to use fibre cable as the backbone of their network. Using mixtures of multimode and single mode fibre they were able to create a series of unbroken, contiguous communication links over distances up to 40 kilometres.
|A simulated battlefield|
By selecting Siqura as their vendor for video/audio transmission equipment, Fort Drum, with the help of SIGCOM, maximised the use of their fibre by multiplexing large amounts of information on a single strand. Using the Siqura 9000 Series, they were able to multiplex up to eight (8) video channels and sixteen (16) audio channels over a single fibre. This ability to multiplex was the key to maximising the use of Fort Drum's existing fibre infrastructure; by moving multiple channels over a single link, large portions of their fibre plant went unused making it available for future applications.
The Siqura 9000 Series also made it possible to support Fort Drum's requirement for maximising safety. Using their Network Management Software (NMS), Fort Drum had the ability to perform complete system diagnostic routines from the safety of their central command centre. The NMS shows the operator the power level of each optical carrier as well as the operating characteristics of all cards in the system, enabling him to trace a fault to a specific camera, fibre segment, or other component.
The high quality of TKH Security Solutions USA's equipment was only part of why SIGCOM made this supplier recommendation. Prior experience with Siqura as their vendor on a number of similar applications was also a factor. Derek Nelsen, Senior Engineer for of SIGCOM, writes: "In addition to the technical capabilities of the Siqura's gear, I feel comfortable with its proven performance and quality."