Solutions Military Solutions

Delivering On-base Broadband Services without Costly Fiber Deployments


The importance of deploying effective communications technology infrastructure on military bases carries an exceptional level of importance. This is well understood and embraced throughout the military and results in state of the art and mission critical systems being deployed broadly. The expense of these systems coupled with the funding challenges that are facing every branch of the military results in some deployed communications facing severe limitations. Data communications between on-base facilities is an example where 1990s solutions are being maintained while affordable options with dramatic performance improvements exist.

An apparently simple solution to this challenge would be to aggressively deploy fiber on every base. Unfortunately, this approach is entirely impractical. The cost of the approach coupled with challenges on many bases in being allowed to trench for new fiber links requires more practical alternatives. Further, in many cases the throughput requirements do not require the Gigabit-or more capacity fiber provides. What is needed is the ability to consistently deliver 10-100 Mbps for a multitude of control and monitoring applications. In a large number of bases, the communication infrastructure for these applications is based on the PairGain Campus solution (circa 1990). Over the years the PairGain solution was rebranded as ADC and then ultimately sold to TE Connectivity which is now in the process of discontinuing the solution.

Fortunately Positron Access has a solution that leverages the existing copper infrastructure while delivering 25X performance over what is possible with the old Campus products.


military diagram

The AK525 and AK355 both leverage patented DMT+MIMO technology that provides a number of performance and reliability enhancements over other Ethernet bonded copper solutions. Of key importance for military deployments is the solution’s ability to automatically rebalance the per-pair bandwidth allocation should pairs in the bundle fail. Performance impacts in this scenario are imperceptible.

Application and Deployment Experience

There is a wide range of applications where the Positron Access solutions can replace data communication systems still using the PairGain Campus products. The subset of applications listed here represents both existing deployments and projects in process.

  • Fire Station Data Communications – 45 Mbps symmetric service deployment between the central data center and the remote fire station
  • Remote Water Treatment Facilities – 40 to 100 Mbps Asymmetric service being provided between the central data center and three separate water treatment facilities
  • Guard Stations – 30 Mbps symmetric service being provided to card readers and remote surveillance requirements
  • Smart Grid – Symmetric Ethernet service being provided to reach network nodes that can’t be reached by fiber

The on-base IT teams are increasingly concerned by the performance limitations and compatibility issues being discovered as newer communication equipment are added to the network and are turning to Positron Access Solutions for state-ofthe-art replacement of the antiquated Campus solution while preserving the existing copper infrastructure. This approach not only helps to contain costs, it saves a lot of time that would otherwise be required to properly plan and engineer a fiber build-out. The migration from the Campus products to the Positron Access AK525 or AK355 platforms can be done in days if not hours.

Key Drivers for Replacement

Each deployment instance has its own set of motivations but there is a common set of factors that are driving the replacement of the PairGain Campus product and new installations of the Positron Access solutions.

  • Performance – As highlighted previously significant (25X) throughput improvement can be achieved over the same copper infrastructure.
  • Reliability – The Campus deployments are very old and are beginning to fail without replacement systems available. Without an aggressive sparing strategy in place facilities can be stranded with no data communication options if the Campus systems fail.
  • Incompatibility – Compatibility issues with newer Ethernet switches and other devices are being uncovered impacting new projects, further aggravating the need for a better solution.