DARPA looks to develop low-power data transmissions

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has hired seven contractors to develop techniques for reducing the amount of energy required for data transmission.

Yesterday, DARPA jump-started its Connectionless Networks program, which teams the agency with a handful of contractors to offer more-energy-efficient data systems.

'As much of the world is shifting to an IP-centric approach for communicating data digitally, we realize the inherent inefficiencies that the IP headers create for sending small amounts of data,' said Preston Marshall, DARPA's Connectionless Networks program manager.

In the first phase of the program, DARPA is paying the contractors a total of $4.6 million to spend the next 12 months studying innovative technologies.

The contractors include: BAE Systems North America of Rockville, Md., $891,483; BBNT Solutions LLC of Cambridge, Mass., $851,427; GE Global Research of Niskayuna, N.Y., $802,113; General Dynamics Decision Systems of Scottsdale, Ariz., $199,955; HRL Laboratories LLC, of Malibu, Calif., $859,846; Raytheon Co., $798,848; and Wescomm LLC of Ann Arbor, Mich., $192,884.

Contractors will study innovative technologies, such as new protocols and low-power transmitters, Marshall said, and 'look at ways to exploit a radio's inherent multicast capability to efficiently transmit and communicate a few bits of data at a time.'

Ultimately, DARPA hopes to develop technologies that increase the percentage of data bits relative to total packet bits while decreasing the power used by radios to deliver the data bits.

After the first phase concludes, DARPA plans follow-on phases and will solicit industry participation.

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