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SpectrumArchitecture
IanBailey
ian@modelfutures.com
Version1.127April2009

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Introduction
This report outlines an architectural approach to managing military RF spectrum in theatre. It suggests
threeapproacheswhicharesimilarandmutuallycompatible,butwhichareaimedatdifferentcommunities
withdifferentsecurityrequirements.ThestartingpointforthisworkwastheBandwidth&Frequencyview
in the NATO Architecture Framework (NAF revision 3). Although this view can present the usage of
spectrumbydifferentsystems,itdoesnottakeintoaccountgeographicconsiderations,whichisaprimary
concernforcoalitionoperations.

ProblemOverview
Whencoalitionpartnersoperateinthesametheatre,thereispotentialforinterferencebetweentheradio
frequency systems used by each of the nations. Most nations have procured their own communications
and ISTAR assets either as sovereign assets or as modifications of imported systems. Although there is
somedegreeofcoordinationinthewaythenationsprocuresystems,itishardtoavoidbuyingsystemsthat
usethesameareasoftheRFspectrumespeciallyascertaintechnologiessuchasRADARandvoicecomms
workmostefficientlyatspecificfrequencies.
Standards, such as SMADEF1, allow nations to share information about how their assets use the RF
spectrum. SMADEF in particular is a very detailed data specification that allows enormous amounts of
attributesandbackgroundinformationtobeshared.Whatitlacksthoughisastandardisedwaytopresent
thisinformationsothatoperationaldecisionscanbemademorequicklyandwithmoreconfidence.

Approach
EnterpriseArchitectureisatechniqueforsupportingbusinessdecisionmakingbysummarisingsalientfacts
fromunderlyingdata thatmaybeverytechnicallycomplex.For example,an enterprisearchitecture may
record vast amounts of information about what systems can communicate with each other, where they
reside, and what business activities those systems support. When this information is recorded with the
appropriate detail and context, it allows architects to answer hitherto difficult questions such as what
activitiescantwesupportifwelosesystemsA&B?andifwedecidewenolongerwanttorunactivity
X,whichsystemsandsitescanweshutdown?.Enterprisearchitectstendtoworkwithviews2.Theseare
standardiseddiagramsintendedtoconveytherelevantinformationtocertainstakeholders.Forexample,
there may be views for IT and communications specialists, for process / doctrine modellers, or for
programmemanagers.
The proposal here is to use a similar technique to EA for spectrum information i.e. a standard way to
presentspectruminformationtocommunicationsmanagersandcommanders.AccordingtoCaveetal[1],
thekeyfactorsinspectrumusageare:

Frequencythebandorbandsoffrequencyusedbyagivencommunicationsasset
Powerthepowerofthetransmitterofagivenassetgovernsitsrangeandthereforehowcloseit
canbetootherassetsusingthesamefrequencywithoutinterference.
Locationanumberoffactorsrolledintoone;wheretheassetis,theterrainsurroundingit,and
thedirection(s)theassettransmitsin.
Timewhentheassetisusedandforhowlongitisusedwilldetermineifotherassetscanbeused
onthesamefrequencyduringthedowntimes.

1
2

SpectrumManagementAlliedDataExchangeFormat
Forexamplesofthesestandardviews,seetheMODArchitectureFramework(MODAF)www.modaf.org.uk

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There are other factors influencing how RF systems might interfere, including the parameters of the
receiving system (e.g. the level of filtering on the receiver). The purpose of the spectrum views will be to
provide a quick indication of where interference is possible i.e. they will be used as a guide for comms
planning. Because of this, considerations about the receiving systems can be effectively ignored, as what
werelookingforisanindicationofwhentwosystemsareoperatinginthesameareaatthesameband3.
Thepurposeofthisreportistoexaminehowthesefactorscanbesummarisedintosimplediagramsalong
the lines of enterprise architecture views. Frequency is the easiest factor to present graphically, and the
NATOspectrumviewsinNAFRev3dealonlywiththis.Incorporatingthepowerandlocationfactorsbrings
in a number of complications around how RF propagation is modelled. There are a number of spectrum
management tools designed specifically to do this and any architectural view incorporating location and
powershouldseektoleveragethesetools.Ofthefourfactors,timelendsitsselfleastreadilytographical
representation,thoughtherearesomeapproacheswhichmayenablethis.
Theviewspecificationsmusttakeintoaccountsecurityconsiderations.Informationabouthowspectrumis
used for military purposes usually needs to be protected to some level. When information includes the
location of the assets, the level of security classification can reach the very highest levels. This report
considersthreetypicalsecurityscenarios:

Opencoalitionincludingnationswhichhavenopreviousworkingrelationships.Thismaypotentially
alsoinvolvenongovernmentalorganisationswhichuseRFequipmente.g.aidagencies,
constructionfirms,privatesecurityfirms,etc.Thesharingmediumislikelytobeinternet.
NATOnationsincoalitionoperations,wheresecurenetworkssuchastheNATOWANareavailable
forsharinginformation.
TheAUSCANNZUKUSfiveeyescommunityincoalition,withGRIFFINastheinfrastructure.

Thefinalconsiderationistheinfrastructureitself,whichinsomecasesmayonlybeabletosupportsimple
webpagesandgraphics.Theviews,andtheirproductionmethods,musttakethisintoaccount.

SeetheLevel3approachonpage7foranindicationabouthowthecharacteristicsofthereceivingsystemcanbehandled.

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Background
TheNATOArchitectureFrameworkBandwidth&FrequencyView

Frequency

This is a rather simple view, originally developed for NATO by Model Futures Ltd under subcontract to
Serco.Itspurposeisjusttoprovideaspectrumorientedviewofthesystemsinagivenarchitecture.The
informationispresentedbyoverlayingboxesonaradiofrequencyscale.Thesizeoftheboxindicatesthe
bandwidthused,andtheupperandlowerboundsoftheboxindicatethefrequencyrange:

Figure1ExampleofaNAFrev3bandwidthandfrequencyview

The architectural models that NATO produces tend to represent systems of systems, and so emphasise
which systems are required to communicate with which. For this reason, communication links may be
overlaidonthediagramwithadditionalbarstoshowthebandwidthused.Whereagivensystemoperates
overmorethanonefrequencyrange,itisrepresentedasmorethanonebox,connectedbyaverticalbar.
Thepurposeofthisviewistopresentarchitecturalinformationfromaspectrumpointofviewratherthana
coalitionviewofspectrumusageinagiventheatre.Hencethereisnoinformationaboutthelocationofthe
systems,theirsignalstrengthorwhichnationownsthem.
TheNAFbandwidthandfrequencyviewisdeliberatelysimpleitsaimistosimplyprovideasmallamount
ofbandwidthandfrequencyinformationinsupportofNATOarchitectures.

SMADEF
SMADEFprovidesamechanismforsharingspectrummanagementinformation.Itsscopegoeswellbeyond
frequency, power, location and time to cover tactical information, system manufacturers, angles of
propagation,linkbudgets,etc.Itisthereforecapableofcapturingalltheinformationneededtoproduce
usefulspectrumviews.
SMADEFspecifiesanXMLinterchangeformatformovingspectruminformationbetweensoftwaresystems.
It has been implemented, at least to some degree, by a number of vendors of spectrum management
systems.GiventhatsuchalargeinvestmenthasgoneintodevelopingSMADEF,itmakesalotofsenseto
reusethespecificationasmuchaspossibleinanySpectrumArchitecturework.Inparticular,theformatis
sufficientlydetailedthatsomeofthearchitecturalviewscouldbeautogeneratedfromunderlyingSMADEF
data.

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CandidateViews
Three types ofviewsaresuggested. Eachissimilar,but theyareallaimedatcommunitieswith different
levelsoftrustandsecuritypolicies(andtheappropriatelyprotectednetworks).

Level1MinimalSharing
This view is a slight enhancement of the NATO Bandwidth and Frequency view. In its simplest form, it
showshoweachnationusestheRFspectrum:
Operation XXXX
NationB

NationC

NationD

CivilUsein
Theatre

Frequency

NationA

Figure2LevelOneExample(simple)

Aviewsuchasthisisintendedtobeunclassifiedthereisnoindicationofwhattypeofequipmentisusing
eachblockofthespectrum,andnoindicationofwheretheequipmentislocated.Werenationspreparedto
share a little more information, the diagram could be enhanced with information about the type of
equipmentinuse:
Operation XXXX
NationB

NationC

NationD

CivilUsein
Theatre

Voice
Data
RADAR
SATCOMMS
Unspecified

Frequency

NationA

Figure3LevelOneExample(enhanced)

Evenwiththisenhancedexample,thehopeisthatitwouldbeunclassified(nationscanalwayschooseto
defaulttoUnspecifiedifindoubt).
Level One is useful, in that a comms planner can quickly see how the spectrum is being used, and plan
accordingly.Inmostmodernwarfightingandpeacekeepingoperationsthough,RFspectrumisheavilyused,
and different manufacturers of the same types of communication equipment tend to use similar
frequencies,sotheoptionsfordeconflictionarelimited.Thisisbecausethereisinsufficientinformationin
the view to allow deconfliction by location (i.e. geographically separating systems that operate on the
same frequency). It may be possible to add a very highlevel geospatial aspect to Level 1 without giving
awayspecificlocationsofsystems(andsoincreasingtheneedforsecurity):

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Figure4LevelOneExample(linkedtoageographicregion)

Intheexampleabove,theactuallocationsofthetransmittersarenotshowntoanygreaterdetailthanthe
geographicregiontheyarein.Thiswouldallowsomedegreeofspectrumdeconflictionbyoperationalarea
e.g. any commander responsible for an operational area would know about the potential frequency
clashesalongtheborderswithotheroperationalareas.
Level1isakintothelevelofdetailfoundinanationalFrequencyAllocationTable(FAT).Indeed,Level1
couldprovideastandardisedwaytorepresentthedatafromanFAT.WhenaLevelOneapproachisapplied
toaparticulargeopoliticalarea,thedatafromtheappropriateFATshouldbeoverlaidontheLevel1view
so that the domestic civil and military spectrum usage is also accounted for. The importance of the civil
frequencydatashouldnotbeunderestimatedpeacekeepingoperationscanoftenbeconductedinheavily
populated areas which may make use of a great deal of the RF spectrum. In some cases, there will be a
needtoensurethemilitaryRFusagedoesnotconflictwithemergencyservices.Inothers,itmaysimplynot
be good from a morale point of view to interfere with the civilian mobile phone, data and television
networks.

Level2GeospatialSpectrumManagement
Level 2 adds geospatial information to the Level 1 view at a finergrain level by presenting the spectrum
usageasagraphicaloverlaytoamap.Thissortofviewshouldbefamiliartoanyonewhohasusedmodern
spectrum management tools such as those offered by ATDI and similar companies. In its simplest form,
Level 2 is a set of views, each view covering a different part of the RF spectrum, but covering the same
geographicregion:

150350MHz

380850MHz

9001900MHz

potentialareasof
interference

Figure5ThreeLevelTwoviewsforthesamegeographicarea

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Level2viewscanalsobepresentedwithallthefrequenciesonthesamemap:
150350MHz
380850MHz
9001900MHz

Figure6AsingleLevelTwoviewwiththreeoverlaidfrequencyranges

ThecleardifferencebetweenLevel2andLevel1isthatispossibletoinfertheapproximatelocationsofthe
systemsthattransmitonthedifferentfrequencies.Knowingthatcertaintypesofequipmenttendtouse
certain frequency ranges, and that certain types of equipment are favoured for different military
application,itispossibletofurtherinferwhatisgoingoninthevariousareasofthemap.Noneofthisis
beyond the wit of even the poorest funded intelligence agency to infer, so it is clearly information that
needstobeprotected.Thelevelofrequiredprotectioncouldbekepttoaminimumbysimplynotshowing
those more sensitive users of the spectrum (e.g. special forces, HUMINT operatives, electronic warfare
assets,etc.).Clearly,abalancehastobestruckbetweenhowmuchissharedandhowusefultheviewis(if
verylittlespectrumdataisshared,theviewofferslittlepotentialforspectrumdeconfliction).Postcold
war,thereisanemergingconsensusthatthereismoretobegainedfromsharinginformationthanfrom
simplyprotectingeverything.Level2isclearlyacaseinpoint.

Level3AttributedSpectrumUsage
Level3isanextensionofLevel2,providingtheuserwithmoredetailedinformationabouttheassetsinthe
view. The additional information would be of the sort found in the SMADEF specification e.g. antenna
direction,polarisation,militaryapplication,etc.Thebasisisstillgeospatial(aswithLevel2),buttheview
becomes more interactive as the user can click on or hover over a particular transmission site and get
moreinformationaboutwhatisgoingon:

RegionA,9001900MHz

GSM Base-Station
Tag: XXX44YYBC/A
Owned by: Acme Telco
Usage: Constant
Location: 34 35' N 69 12' E

Figure7ExampleLevel3view

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As with Levvel 2, the potential


p
ben
nefits of this approach have to be weighed aggainst the se
ecurity riskss
involved.It isassumed thatthissorrtofviewiso
onlylikelyto
obesharedb
betweennattionswhohaaveahistoryy
mation(e.g.theAUSCANN
NZUKUScom
mmunity).
ofsharingsecretinform
The examp
ples shown up to now for Levels 2
2 and 3 sho
ow static traansmitters aand roughlyy circular RFF
propagation
n(theyareintendedto besimpleexamples).Re
epresentatio
onofdirectio
onal(e.g.fixxedlink)and
d
moving tran
nsmitters is also possible. The repreesentation of
o moving traansmitters p
presents som
mething of a
a
challenge,aastheseview
wsarerelatiivelystatici.e.theydo
ontchange inrealtime inthewayaasituationall
picture migght. This really only leavves the optio
on of mapping out the known
k
routees that the assets
a
travell
(e.g.roadsffrequentlytrravelled,airccorridors,etc.).

Figure8Dire
ectionaltransm
mitterandroute
eofmobiletran
nsmitter(terrainmapGooggleMaps2009))

Theknown routesofveehiclescanp
presentsomeethingofassecurityissuee,sothislevvelofdetailiisonlyreallyy
likelyinLevvel3.
With the ad
dditional sophistication available in Level 3, infformation about receiving systems can also bee
presented. Inparticularr,weareinteerestedifthereceivingssystemsinth
heareaofpo
otentialinterferencearee
ncingthisarrechieflyaro
oundhowseelectivethessystemis(e.gg.frequencyy
liabletobe affected.Faactorsinfluen
olarisation,d
directionofaantennae,ettc.),andhow
wsensitiveittis(e.g.receivedpowerrthreshold)..
filtering,po
Levels1and
d2areonly abletogiveanindicatio
onifthereis alikelihoodofinterfereence.ALevell3approach
h
thatincludeesreceiverparametersw
wouldbeableeeliminatessomeoftheffalsepositivees:

Microw
wave Fixed-Link
Tag: XX X44YZBC/A
b Acme Telco
Owned by:
Usage: Constant
C
Location
n: 34 32' N 69 11' E
Received Band : xxx-yyyGHz
Min Rece
eived Power: -3dBm

Figure9Receiverinform
mationdisplayyedonlevel3vview(terrainmapGoogleM
Maps2009)

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PossibleImplementationStrategies
Any approach to implementing the spectrum views documented here will have to take into account the
impliedsecurityrequirementsforeachleveldescribedinthisdocument.Itwillalsohavetoaccountforthe
limitationsofcoalitionsharednetworks(e.g.contentrestrictions)anddeployednetworks(e.g.bandwidth
restrictions). Were it not for security concerns, some sort of application server approach would be the
intuitiveapproach:
WebServer

WebServer

WebServer

AUSCANNZUKUS

NATORESTRICTED

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SecurityFilter

NationA
SMADEF
File

import

NationB
SMADEF
File

Spectrum
Database

Rejected

HighSecurityDomain

Figure10Applicationserverapproach

Althoughapplicationservertechnologyiswellunderstood(allecommercesitesworkonthisprinciple),the
issue of publishing to different networks at different levels of security is probably insurmountable. The
networks usually have some sort of airgap between them when they operate at significantly different
levels of security. Secondly, gaining accreditation for a system that serves data to multiple networks at
differentlevelsofsecuritywouldbesomethingofachallengeespeciallyifaccreditationisrequiredfrom
allnationsinvolved.
Forthesereasons,thestrategysuggestedhereisbasedonsimplewebpublishingHTMLandhyperlinked
bitmap graphics (e.g. JPEG, PNG, GIF). These formats are well understood and present no challenges in
terms of firewalls and virus/trojan control. Using such a simple approach to publication means that the
majorityoftheanalyticalprocessingwilloccurduringtheproductionoftheviews.Thiswillalsomeanthat
the views are relatively static only Level 3 provides interaction, and even this is at the level of what is
possible in a web browser. The approach suggested here assumes each nation will control what data it
wishestoshareandatwhatlevel.EachnationproducestheirownHTMLandimagesandsubmitsthemto
theLevel1,2or3server.Accesstothedataontheseserversisassumedtoalreadybecontrolledphysically
(i.e.nonNATOnationscantaccesstheNATOWAN):
WebServer
Batch
Process

SMADEF
File

HighSecurityDomain
(e.g.Griffin)
airgap

no
access

NationA

WebServer
MediumSecurityDomain
(e.g.NATOWAN)
airgap

Batch
Process

SMADEF
File

Level2
User

WebServer

NationB

LowSecurityDomain
(e.g.Internet)

etc.

Figure11Suggestedimplementationapproach

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The batch processes are controlled by each nation and produce HTML and images at the three different
levels(shownasgreen,orangeandredlinesinFigure11).Thebatchprocessingisnottrivial,however,and
willinvolveusingadvancedspectrummanagementtoolstogeneratethenecessaryimages,linksandHTML.
Forthisreason,itmaybemoreefficienttosubmitSMADEFfilestoacentralauthoritythatgeneratesthe
publisheddataforallnations:
NationA

NationB

L1SMADEF
File

WebServer

L1SMADEF
File

L2SMADEF
File

HighSecurityDomain
(e.g.Griffin)
airgap

L2SMADEF
File

L3SMADEF
File

no
access

WebServer

L3SMADEF
File

MediumSecurityDomain
(e.g.NATOWAN)
airgap
Batch
Process

Level2
User

WebServer
LowSecurityDomain
(e.g.Internet)

Publishing
Authority

Figure12Useofcentralisedpublishingauthority

Thiscentralisedapproach allowsviewstobecreatedwhichcoverallthenationsspectrumusage,rather
thanseparateviewsforeachnationsoperationalarea.Italsopresentssomeopportunitiesforefficiency:

Norequirementtotrainstaffineachnationonhowtoproducetheviews
Norequirementtodevelopthebatchprocesssoftwareforeachnation
Norequirementtopurchasespectrummanagementsoftwareineachnation
Viewswillallbeconsistentintheirpresentation
Singlepointofcontactforissueswithpublisheddata

What this does mean though, is that the publishing authority must be trusted up to the highest level of
securitybeingpublished.Forthisreason,itmaybepragmatictohavemorethanonepublishingauthority
e.g.oneforeachlevel.

ExtendingtheCapability
Theviewsproducedinthethreeapproachesarefairlystatic,andtendtojustpresentthefactsinaneasily
digestible form to the users (this is the purpose of an architectural view). There may be some additional
benefitinhighlightingknowninterferenceproblems.Forexample,iftwoassetsareseentobeinterfering
atthetimetheviewsareproduced,itshouldbepossibletoa)highlightthisintheview;andb)notifythe
ownersofthoseassetsofthepotentialclashpreferablybeforetheassetsaredeployed.Inthisway,the
viewpublishingauthorityalsobecomesamoreproactiveservicetothenations.
Thesecondobviousdirectiontotakethisapproachistomapitontosituationalawarenesssystems.Many
oftheRFassetsinthearchitecturewillbemobile.Knowingtheirspectrumusageandlocationinrealtime
maybeofsomeassistanceoperationally.Thiscouldbeparticularlyusefulincivildisastersandemergencies
wheremultipleservices(police,ambulance,fire,etc.)condenseonaparticularlocationandpotentiallyface
a number of communications issues. The technical challenges with this are not small situational
awareness systems already deal with vast amounts of real time data from multiple sources. In addition,
standardssuchasJC3IEDMmaynotmapcleanlyontotheconceptsinSMADEF.

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Conclusions&Recommendations
TheapproachoutlinedinthisdocumenthasalreadybeenpresentedtoCCEB(Feb2009,NZ)andwaswell
received. As it stands though, the approach is little more than a set of ideas. Wherever possible the
approacherrsonthesideofpragmatism.Inaddition,itdoesnotrelyonanyunproventechnology.Theonly
technical unknown is the level to which the production of the views can be automated. It should be
possible to leverage the abilities of spectrum management tools to read SMADEF files and generate RF
propagation images, but the extent to which this can be automated has not been tested. It is therefore
recommended that some experimentation is conducted before adopting this approach. The
experimentationshouldbegearedtowards:
a) AutomationofviewproductionfromSMADEFfiles
b) Testingofwebpublicationonnetworkse.g.NATOWAN,Griffin.
c) Useracceptancetestingofviews(i.e.dotheusersfindthemuseful?)
Tomakebestuseoftimeandresources,itwouldbesensibletoengageoneormorevendorsofspectrum
management software in the next phase. Should the experimentation prove positive (and there is no
reason to expect serious problems) then CBMJ6 should recommend this approach to CCEB for wider
adoption.

References

[1]

EssentialsofModernSpectrumManagement,Cave,Doyle&Webb

CambridgeUniversityPress,ISBN9780521876698

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