How do you improve connectivity to any location in the world?

Remote locations, extremes of temperature, harsh environments and space at a premium - it’s all in a day’s work for the Armed Forces.

Wherever the Armed Forces are located, that’s exactly where they need connectivity. So the challenge is to provide connectivity in a deployed environment whether that’s at sea, or on desert land. It’s to ensure the flow of information to a submarine or battleship where every centimetre of space counts.

It’s about resilient connectivity that can endure the shocks and vibrations of the front line. It’s connectivity that can cope with temperatures that soar in the day and freeze at night. It’s connectivity wherever and whenever - and nothing less will do.

The solution is in the planning

However innovative the technology, problems are best solved through strong partnership and experience on the ground.

Within the ATLAS Consortium, many of the staff are ex-military or have worked in military environments - and this knowledge and experience are used to great advantage. Liaising with Defence personnel, they can plan the most effective solutions, combining their expertise with the practical reality on the ground. This level of understanding and flexibility means standard installation models can be tailored for each unique situation and provide the best service.

For deployed forces in fast moving situations where there is no base camp, ATLAS developed a mini data centre (Type S nodes) with its own power supply. This gives them access to DII through specially designed laptops which can withstand rough treatment and harsh conditions - like hot and humid conditions or sandy environments. Likewise, all the DII hardware used for rollout in offices and bases in the UK was redesigned to make it smaller, more resilient and fit for use on board a vessel.

Connectivity right where it’s needed...

On the front line

For the Armed Forces, Type S nodes are effectively a data centre in a box. Built by ATLAS, they are finished by the MOD prior to deployment and shipped to the front line in flight cases where they are ready for operational use within minutes. All the hardware used by the troops has been adapted to suit these demanding environments - the laptops have specially designed ruggedised cases for example, and along with the screens and keyboards, everything is designed to withstand shocks, dirt and extreme temperatures.

On board

With space at a premium on board navy vessels, special, smaller printers were commissioned and as they were non-standard, the ATLAS team found a way to incorporate them into DII. Terminals were redesigned to make them more durable and a fixing system for the PC, screen and keyboard was developed so that a terminal was effectively protected from the environment in the smallest possible space. Server racks were also redesigned so they could be fitted flush to a wall and fixed into place.

Logging on

In response to the challenge to shorten the length of time it takes to log onto DII, there was a Service Level Agreement for log in times as part of the contract with the ATLAS Consortium. In Gibraltar and Cyprus, where the pre DII logon was ten minutes, ATLAS has now brought this down to just a few seconds.

By the right people

Often a situation will call for careful handling and understanding - and an appreciation of the differing laws and customs within a culture. In Canada, for example, employment law stipulated the use of Canadian nationals to implement DII, yet the MOD’s security requirements meant UK nationals must be used to support programme implementation. The solution – to use dual nationality staff which met both Canadian and UK requirements, and ensured local knowledge and expertise were used to support the delivery of DII.