Signaleers aid brigade in going wireless for comms

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Story by SSG Armando Limon on 04/15/2017
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii Signal Soldiers in the Army have to contend with laying hundreds or even thousands of meters of networking cables throughout a tactical operations center (TOC) while in the field either in garrison or deployed.

What if there was a way to eliminate the need for all the excess cables and allow Soldiers to communicate seamlessly while using their Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) systems?

Soldiers assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, "Broncos," 25th Infantry Division, participated in Signal Modernization (SIGMOD) training for their Joint Network Node (JNN) attached to their Satellite Transportable Terminal (STT).

"The purpose of the training is for us to use wireless communication connection and setup, instead of having to run hundreds of feet of T4 line," said Staff Sgt. Stuart Jackson, network operations noncommissioned officer in charge, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd BCT, 25th ID. "It allows us to use less personnel for the setup. As for setting up, they made a lot more things clearer, instead of going through the actual PowerPoint."

Instructors from Training Support Division, Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM), based out of Fort Gordon, Georgia, provided training to the Bronco Soldiers.

"It's an operating level course that we're taking them from VALEX (validation exercise) to be fully operational," said Dwane Aristide, a primary instructor from TSD, CECOM, "so they'll be able to do an extension of their network from their WIN-T systems."

This new system will allow signal units to hook up clients, even their network managers wirelessly to the system, said Aristide.
Increased data speeds were also an important feature for the wireless system.

"Some of the newer technologies now require higher data rates, especially for streaming video, target data, stuff like that," he said. "They'll have that ability to be on the go and access their secure clients."

According to David Givens, an instructor from TSD, CECOM, the new technology is the first time the Army is getting wireless services within its tactical and non-tactical environment.

"This system will give brigade commanders the ability to be mobile when they're working in their TOCs, instead of being stationary with landlines," Givens said.

Previously, if commanders wanted to get their feeds from their various battlefield services, the commanders would be confined to their TOC for their updates.

"The commander would have to be sitting behind his own desk," he said. "Now with wireless services, his information goes along with him, with his tablet or laptop. As he moves, as long he's within the wireless service provider, he has the same information as he would be sitting behind his desk."

Bronco Soldiers found the instruction and setup of the wireless system rather easy as they received hands-on instructions by Aristide and Givens.

"The training is really good because eventually we are going to move to wireless capabilities," said Staff Sgt. Steven Garruto, transmission NCO, HHC, 3rd BCT, "so getting it now, in front of having the actual package will really help. We have all the documentation to build QRGs, which are quick reference guides for our battalion elements beneath us."

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