DARPA contract for BAE Systems

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has selected BAE Systems to develop a wireless communications system that increases the capacity and performance of wireless networks.

BAE Systems will develop the Interference Division Multiple Access Communications system (IDMA) under an $8.8m contract with options totaling $15.4m. IDMA Communications is planned as an ad-hoc wireless communications system that enables multiple users to simultaneously communicate on the same channel without centralised control or infrastructure, increasing network capacity and performance.

The work will be performed at BAE Systems facilities in Nashua, New Hampshire, Wayne, New Jersey, and Arlington, Virginia.

‘Bandwidth availability is a limiting factor in many wireless communications systems today,’ said Joshua Niedzwiecki, manager of communications and signal exploitation for BAE Systems. ‘With current technology, bandwidth is shared through assignment of unique time slots, frequency slots, or code words for each user. That’s an arrangement that significantly limits network performance.’

IDMA Communications will seek to eliminate those limitations by using multi-user detection receiver technology that enables simultaneous demodulation of multiple, interfering digital signals. ‘The concept that supports this technology has been studied for years,’ said Dr. Rachel Learned, principal investigator for BAE Systems. ‘However, the solutions to date have been too complex to implement in a real-time system.’

BAE Systems says it has addressed the problem with patented multi-user detection techniques that reduce computational complexity with minimal sacrifice in performance. These techniques will be refined and employed on the IDMA Communications program to develop the first-ever real-time radio prototype that incorporates a multi-user detector.