Roke Manor Research has launched Battlefield Connect, a portable wireless broadband base station which creates a private communications network for military tactical deployments, whilst significantly enhancing spectrum use.

The Battlefield Connect evaluation system is claimed to be the world's first portable 3G base station to have a range of up to 40 km, more than 40,000 times the area covered by other similar devices. This extends the communications range where no local infrastructure exists on military deployments, such as peace keeping, special operations and assistance to population roles.

By providing a self contained dedicated 3G network, Battlefield Connect achieves efficient spectrum access, supporting high bandwidth communications such as streaming video from UAVs or imagery and biometric exchange, as well as simultaneous voice communications, Internet access and texting. It is also fully interoperable with the existing military command infrastructure.

The system is rapidly deployable. Once the base station is switched on, mobile phones with the private network’s SIM card work immediately. This is an extremely cost effective and lightweight solution as no specialist handset is required, negating the need for training and reducing the soldier weight burden. The system is also the first to support full mobility at speeds of up to 120 km/h, allowing effective communications between both static users, fast moving ground vehicles and UAVs.

James Fisher, Business Development Manager at Roke, said, "Spectrum overload is a constant issue for the military. This is particularly so in a coalition environment which makes spectrum use even more challenging as the airwaves are extremely busy. Battlefield Connect allows an increased amount of high bandwidth information to be channeled through the spectrum without overloading it.

"3G technology is already widely used in the commercial world, meaning that the expensive research and design has already been done. By using these ready-made components to develop Battlefield Connect, we have created a cost effective and resilient solution that will significantly improve the chain of command during a military tactical deployment."