Connect legacy NTDS equipment via Ethernet
Transparent NTDS to network communication for tactical systems
The Bridge System connects legacy NTDS equipment via Ethernet. It minimizes the length of NTDS cable runs between computers, displays, mass storage devices, sensors or weapon systems while extending their communication range far beyond MIL-STD-1397C maximum distances. The Bridge makes the hardware and protocol conversions that allow the legacy equipment to communicate over existing NTDS channels without modification to either end and without awareness that the Bridge is in-between. Moving the long haul communications to a network architecture makes it easier to implement redundant paths through the network fabric, greatly improving the survivability of the interface. With the Bridge System it’s now possible for NTDS devices to connect virtually anywhere within the reach of a network connection. Cable bulk and weight are also greatly reduced.
Bridge System Architecture
The Bridge System consists of two servers, one connected to the legacy NTDS device at each end of the interface. The servers connect together over a dedicated or shared Ethernet network. In operation, the servers convert the specific NTDS channel protocol into Ethernet packets that are transmitted and converted back to NTDS at the distant end. The server is typically mounted near the legacy equipment to make the NTDS cable run as short as possible.
Each server runs a firmware protocol module that communicates with the legacy device on its end. The included generic protocol module can be used on most NTDS channels without modification. For channels with special requirements, protocol modules can be customized and uploaded permanently into the server’s non-volatile flash memory. At power up, the server initiates the protocol program with no user intervention providing automatic, transparent “passthrough” operation of the legacy channel.
Designed for Survival
The Bridge System is designed with dual Ethernet ports to significantly increase reliability. When configured to operate with both Ethernet ports, if one interface goes down, operation continues without interruption on the surviving path.
The Bridge System can be implemented using various hardware versions. All versions are functionally compatible and can be different at each end of the legacy interface:
- Single 6U VME Board Version – This spacesaving version installs in a vacant slot in an existing VME chassis. It only requires power from the VME backplane in order to operate and does not communicate over the VME data bus so no changes are required on the VME host system. It is completely independent from the rest of the hardware in the backplane and operates identically to the other Bridge versions, running the protocol module from its onboard flash memory. NTDS channels and Ethernet ports are connected at the board’s front bezel.
- 19” Rackmount Version – The 19” rackmount version is self-contained with its own power supply. It occupies only 1U of rack space and has rearmounted NTDS and Ethernet connectors for efficient cable management. Its small form factor allows multiple units to be stacked in a central location forming a communications gateway or mounted separately where space is limited.
- Rugged Version – The Rugged server is designed to meet the environmental specifications required for naval shipboard applications*. It offers the same capabilities of the other versions in a stand alone ruggedized enclosure.