Network Digital Twins to Support All Defense Domains

Unlock the power of network emulation with EXata JNE to design, test, analyze, and assess tactical battlefield communications and networks' cyber resilience. Military personnel and defense contractors can quickly and cost-effectively plan battlefield network architectures and mission scenarios in a high-fidelity, LVC multidomain modeling and simulation environment.

Ideal for military planning, testing, and training operations by enabling the simulation of large-scale military communications networks under various conditions. Connecting physical radios with multiple simulated radios through EXata JNE realistically simulates large tactical radio networks consisting of both physical and simulated components. EXata JNE runs accurate battlefield simulation communications across all domains: land, sea, air, space, and cyber.

5G IoT Based Environment Monitoring System Demonstration

In this video, see how a remote island and urban area are interconnected via a 5G Mobile Telecommunications Network, bolstered by a constellation of LEO satellites and a stationary air orbit satellite. The network then extends from Los Angeles to control centers in New York and Las Vegas, showcasing two distinct areas utilizing different 5G core technologies for space-to-ground communication and outdoor ray tracing in urban environments.

Chart of software interactions for network emulation in multi-domain battlefield communications

Multidomain Battlefield Communications Models

Tactical battlefield communications span multiple protocols and applications; from SRW to WIN-T, Blue Force Tracker to ANW2. Connecting through Satellite Communication networks (SATCOM) to Mobile User Object Systems (MUOS) is all part of a multidomain environment. Simulating that environment is no small task.

Our Joint Network Emulator library contains these waveforms and more, including Bandwidth Efficient Common Data Link (BE-CDL) and emerging waveforms such as Barrage Relay Networks. You can find Link 11 and Link 16 in our Military Radios Library. Interoperating with constructive simulation tools such as OneSAF, VR-Forces, AFSIM and NGTS is a seamless effort with the JNE library.

Mission CLONE

Mission CLONE (Cyber Live-Virtual-Constructive (LVC) Operational Network Environment) helps assess and improve cyber resilience of Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) missions. JADC2 relies on a geographically dispersed, connected network of sensors, platforms, and weapon systems operating in harsh and contested environments to achieve mission success.

Mission CLONE provides the following innovative capabilities:

  • Integration of cyber and kinetic domains, without modifications
  • Wireless and tactical waveforms and their specific vulnerabilities
  • Integration with Cyber-Physical Systems and simulations (e.g., submarine control systems)
  • Integration of non-IP communications (e.g. 1553 bus)
  • Launch attacks against the network and connected weapon and C2 subsystems
  • Small hardware footprint to support in-theatre use
  • Include known and zero-day vulnerabilities
  • Assess in parallel: Command and staff to modify operations and complete the mission, and Network defenders to detect and react to threats as they occur
Diagram showing network emulation for mission planning and scenario design
Diagram representing EXata network emulation

Architecture and EXata Network Modeling for Versatile Emulation

Both the JNE library architecture and EXata software enable highly scalable LVC multidomain modeling and simulation making battlefield network architecture planning simplified and affordable. Users can run radio systems such as Wideband Network Waveform (WNW) and Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW) on live radios, along with their respective emulations within JNE.

At the same time, live network managers can operate emulated networks the same way they can with physical networks. JNE can effectively and accurately help develop a network digital twin to emulate many potentially difficult environments such as mountainous areas, cities, and mixed land and air deployments, along with other scenarios for mission success.

Extend the Capabilities of Your EXata Network Emulation SN100JNEA


What is Multidomain in networking?

Multidomain networking refers to the networking architecture and strategies involving integrating and coordinating multiple separate and possibly heterogeneous network domains. A network domain typically represents a portion of a network that is administratively controlled and may have its own set of policies, protocols, and management. In a multi-domain networking environment, these domains work together to provide end-to-end connectivity and services.

Here is an example of Multidomain modeling from seabed to space:

Keysight’s Network Digital Twin, EXata, provides the ability to model and simulate both Commercial and Tactical Networks in both real-time or faster than real-time. This is a discrete event simulation toolkit that considers all the inherent physics-based properties that will affect how the network (either wired or wireless) behaves. Properties such as routing protocols, firewalls, topology of the network, topography (terrain data), background traffic, mobility, distance between nodes, building structures, weather, and even cyber threats, will all affect packet delivery. Our high-fidelity protocol models, such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, 5G, and coming soon, 6G on the commercial side or Link16, Blue Force Tracker, and many others on the tactical side, allow users to build simulations that help provide answers to challenging questions as to how the network will perform under a variety of conditions. Interoperating with constructive simulations such as OneSAF, AFSIM, VR-Forces, Command PE, NGTS, and several others provides a true communication overlay for Wargaming scenarios. Integrating with third-party tools such as Ansys/AGI’s STK (System Tool Kit) provides the best of breed between complimenting product capabilities. And lastly, integration with other Keysight products, such as Keysight System Design (formerly known as SystemVue) and Keysight PROPSIM, provides added fidelity where the customer needs or wants it. Keysight EXata provides an end-to-end simulation and emulation capability for various use cases.

Why is emulation important?

Network emulation is important for several reasons and plays a crucial role in developing, testing, and optimizing networks, applications, and services. Some key reasons why network emulation is important include creating a realistic testing environment, predicting system behavior, optimizing performance, providing quality assurance, developing new applications, and testing the security of networks under various scenarios, including cyberattacks. Network emulation can help organizations avoid the costs of deploying and maintaining physical test environments replicating real-world network conditions. This is particularly relevant for large-scale or complex network architectures. It also contributes to applications and services' overall reliability, performance, and security in diverse and dynamic network environments.

How does network emulation differ from simulation?

Network emulation and simulation are related concepts, but they differ in their approaches and purposes. Both are used in networking to replicate certain aspects of real-world networks for testing, analysis, and development purposes. Network emulation aims to replicate the behavior of a real network using actual devices, while network simulation involves modeling network behavior through software without necessarily using real hardware. The choice between emulation and simulation depends on the specific goals of the testing or analysis and the trade-offs between realism, flexibility, and resource requirements.

What is WAN emulation?

WAN emulation refers to replicating the characteristics and conditions of a Wide Area Network (WAN) in a controlled environment for testing and evaluation purposes. WANs are networks covering a broad geographic area, often spanning cities, countries, or even continents. Emulating a WAN is essential for simulating real-world network conditions and understanding how a system or application performs in such environments. Key aspects of WAN emulation include quality of service, latency, bandwidth limitations, packet loss, jitter, link errors, and network congestion. WAN emulation is commonly used in various scenarios, including application testing, network equipment testing, VoIP testing, and cloud service evaluation.

What are network digital twins?

A network digital twin refers to a computer simulation model of the communication network, its operating environment, and its application traffic. The digital twin can be used to study the behavior of its physical counterpart under a diverse set of operating conditions, including cyber attacks, in a low-cost and zero-risk environment. However, to do so effectively, the digital twin must have sufficient fidelity to accurately reflect the network dynamics that can cause networks to behave unpredictably. The network dynamics are typically created by the interplay among the communication protocol, device configurations, network topology, application traffic, the physical environment, and any cyber threats. Thus, the digital twin must reflect each of the preceding components. In addition, live hardware and software applications can be seamlessly interfaced with, or integrated into, a network digital twin that executes in real-time. These real-time network digital twins can then be used to improve management, performance, and cyber resilience of networks in all domains, from commercial enterprise IoT to military networked systems operating from seabed to space. Learn more about digital twins in our white paper: Automated Creation of Network Digital Twins.

What are the key parameters to emulate in a network?

When performing network emulation, various parameters can be adjusted to simulate different aspects of real-world network conditions. The choice of parameters depends on the specific goals of the testing or analysis. Here are some key parameters commonly emulated in a network: latency, bandwidth, packet loss, jitter, network traffic and congestion, topology, cyber resilience, weather, terrain, and mobility. Adjusting these parameters allows network engineers, developers, and IT professionals to create a controlled environment that closely mimics real-world network scenarios. This enables thorough testing and optimization of applications and systems under diverse and challenging conditions. Given the complexity of most networks, creating a digital twin that accurately represents the topology, configuration, and traffic of an existing physical network can be challenging. Keysight Technologies has developed an ecosystem of tools to assist the user in automatically creating network digital twins as well as modifying, executing, visualizing, and analyzing their performance.

What types of networks can be emulated?

Network emulation is a versatile approach that can be applied to various types of networks to replicate their behavior for testing, analysis, and development purposes. The types of networks that can be emulated include but are not limited to: Wide Area Networks (WANs), Local Area Networks (LANs), Wireless Networks, Satellite Networks, Cellular Networks, 5G/6G Networks, Cloud Networks, Software-Defined Networks (SDNs), Internet of Things (IoT) Networks, Enterprise Networks and Mixed and Hybrid Networks. The ability to emulate a wide range of networks is a strength of network emulation, as it allows developers, network engineers, and IT professionals to assess and optimize the performance of applications and systems in diverse and complex network environments. The specific requirements for emulation will vary depending on the characteristics and features of the target network.

What challenges are associated with network emulation?

While network emulation is a powerful tool for testing and analyzing systems in realistic network conditions, it comes with its own challenges. Some common challenges associated with network emulation can include complexity in size and scale and achieving a high level of accuracy. Dynamic environments with rapid conditions such as terrain, weather, and mobility pose additional challenges for emulating physical layer conditions. Integration with existing systems, hardware, and software needs, and the associated costs and resources along with evolving network protocols and standards, can be challenging. Network protocols may change over time, and new security concerns, such as attacks and vulnerabilities, can be problematic. The lack of standardized approaches to network emulation can result in interoperability issues between different emulation tools. Standardization efforts are ongoing, but the field is still evolving. Addressing these challenges often involves careful planning, selecting appropriate emulation tools, and considering the trade-offs between realism, scalability, and resource requirements. As the field of network emulation continues to evolve, advancements in technology and methodologies may help mitigate some of these challenges.

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