5.5 Tactical Internet (TI)
By the late 1990s, the US army had reached the predecessor architecture to the GIG, which is referred to as the Tactical Internet. TI relies on the EPLRS and SINCGARS radios to create reachability of seamless IP flow to the lower echelons. This architecture is briefly described in this section.
After the success of the EPLRS radio and mobile subscriber equipment (MSE), a circuit-switch-based reach-back tactical backbone network, the US army successfully digitized the battle-space flow in the early 1990s. The motivation behind this concept is to provide seamless communications throughout the forces. This architecture required a network of horizontally and vertically integrated digital information networks that supported new systems (such as friendly and enemy forces tracking, automated weaponry systems). The TI provided reliable, seamless, and secure communications for all the US Army tactical users.
The term Tactical Internet was used to describe this integrated battle-space communications hierarchy of networks since it coincided with the widespread use of the commercial Internet. The term is appropriate due to functional similarities between the commercial Internet and the Tactical Internet communications infrastructure being based on moving to all-IP systems as a predecessor to the GIG. A key feature is the ability to exchange non-internet-based messages (such as that of Link-16 and the EPLRS radio) using the commercially based Internet Protocol. The ...