Sunday, July 16, 2006

BBN Develops Ultra Low Power Ad Hoc, Wireless Network

BBN Technologies announced a milestone achievement in phase two of a wireless networking program funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The goal of the program, Connectionless Networks, is to develop a low-power, multi-hop wireless network that will allow many people to communicate reliably in areas where there is no communications infrastructure.

In collaboration with the Army Research Lab, BBN has demonstrated a 20-node prototype network that delivers the same performance, in terms of data rate and delay, as traditional wireless networks, but uses 100 times less power.

BBN said dramatically reduced power consumption enables the use of smaller, lighter, longer-lasting and less expensive batteries.

The prototype network runs on standard batteries that are identical to those used in everyday consumer devices such as portable radios or flashlights. BBN has maximized the efficiency of these standard batteries by developing networking and communications protocols that adapt to changing conditions in the network and adjust to changing data transmission requirements to use the available power efficiently. These more efficient protocols allow remote sensors to transmit important information for longer durations and allow users to carry fewer batteries and replace them less frequently during missions.

  • In February 2006, BN Technologies announced a breakthrough in the development of a quantum cryptography network. Quantum cryptography is an approach to securing communications based on certain phenomena of quantum physics -- using single photons of light to distribute keys to encrypt and decrypt messages. Quantum cryptography is focused on the physics of information. The process of sending and storing information is always carried out by physical means, for example photons in optical fibers or electrons in electrical current. Eavesdropping can be viewed as measurements on a physical object -- in this case the carrier of the information. Using quantum phenomena allows for the design and implementation of a communication system which can always detect eavesdropping.

  • In February 2004, two prominent venture capital firms acquired the legendary BBN development labs from Verizon. General Catalyst Partners, a private equity firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Accel Partners, a venture capital firm based in Palo Alto, California, said the deal would allow BBN to continue its legacy of innovation and technology leadership. Financial terms were not disclosed.

  • BBN was founded in 1948 by MIT professors Richard Bolt and Leo Beranek, along with Robert Newman, with a vision of starting a small, acoustical consulting firm. The company is best know for its pioneering work with the ARPANET (the forerunner of today's Internet) in 1969. It is also credited with the first implementation of packet switching (1969), the first router (1976), and the first network e-mail (1971), which established the @ sign as an icon for the digital age. BBN is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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