Cormorant - Why?

#2
What exactly are you driving at here ? I know the people who are building this and they seem to think they're delivering what they've been asked to.
 
#4
but if you ask for rubbish then surely you get rubbish??

and there we were thinking
This exciting new system will deliver new capabilities to British Forces. CORMORANT uses Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) technology adapted for the military to deliver high tech equipment, quickly. Due in service with the field Army within a couple of years, CORMORANT will comprise two primary equipments. Firstly a local access component, based on an ATM switch, which will provide digital voice subscriber facilities and a high speed data LAN for over 20 Headquarters. A wide area component will allow the interconnection of these Headquarters, on a 'backbone' communications network across a large geographical area as well as the means to interconnect with single service and multinational systems. Interconnection of components will be possible using microwave radio relay, satellite communications, commercial cable bearers and a new tropo scatter 'over the horizon' capability. CORMORANT will also provide a limited mobile secure voice capability and a comprehensive communications network management system.

who are they trying to kid?
 
#5
The original question - are you asking why we need Cormorant or questioning the way it has been managed?

Battlefield Mission prep started today. We'll know in a couple of days if it is able to work without falling over (and without constant hands-on by the civvy company). PM me if you have questions...it's far too politically charged to shout from the rooftops right now.

PD
 
#7
One_of_the_strange said:
and they seem to think they're delivering what they've been asked to.

mmmmmmmmm Been with defense industries since I retired as an advisor and various other titles (inluding tw*t mdn before you jump in :lol: ) and that is the favourite line no matter what they work on.

The system needs revamping, or should I say the dog needs to start waggling the tail, not the other way round.


ps ... am p*ssed right now also , but you get my drift ..................right :?
 
#8
My experience comes from working for defence companies. Sometimes they get it right, sometimes they don't.

If they can prove that they've delivered what they've been asked for then the customer should shut up and concentrate on asking for what they actually want. Whining that what you've asked for isn't what you wanted is tedious when your small child does it, but unacceptable when someone senior from the DPA does it.

However, if they haven't delivered then nail their backsides to the wall - this does seem to be the current DPA attitude, and quite right too. The only thing that could possibly let the company off the hook is DPA mismanagement - hence the rather low rate of nailings. (I saw this at close range on one of the large projects that BAE took a bath on by the way.)

And the above comments are general by the way, no inferences should be drawn about specific projects.
 
#10
PoisonDwarf said:
We'll know in a couple of days if it is able to work without falling over
After a LOT of work by the troops at 2 & 30 Sigs (lucky buggers worked the easter weekend), the battlefield mission has been postponed due to equipment unreliability and some real network problems. If it doesn't work over a direct fibre-to-fibre link, what hope is there for a dirty radio signal?!

When Cormorant finally works it should be excellent but, at the moment, it's so complicated that it's really difficult to pinpoint the cause of technical problems. The squaddies are unable to get stuck in because it's all COTS kit which they are unused to.

Maybe FALCON will prove more reliable? 8O
 
#11
PoisonDwarf said:
When Cormorant finally works it should be excellent but, at the moment, it's so complicated that it's really difficult to pinpoint the cause of technical problems.
Why will it be excellent? Let's take a look at it. A small node will comprise a MOAT DURO (bloody great 6 wheel vehicle) and will need a 4 tonner for the loose stowage items (oops - forgot about them) and possibly extra genes on trailers. What does it replace? A switch - just a little box, like a PROMINA. Oh, ok, it has a PBX built in too. Two boxes. And all the other kit, the JOCS servers, the MMARS, the secure fax etc all still needs to be taken on top.

Remember - this does NOT replace PTARMIGAN, it is a new concept for the operational level. The only places you will see this are at the component HQs ie JTFHQ JFLogCC, JFLCC etc. What do they use at the moment? Well, the JTFHQ has a nice little BOSCA (2 boxes) that does the job well and can be put on pallets. Ok, the others are all light years behind and still use MINIMUXes but there has to be a better suggestion than CORMORANT.

What is the biggest problem that 30 Sigs always have? Getting enough Air Transport (AT) to take the kit - they always have to leave stuff behind at the last minute. Now, what's it going to be like in the future when you have to include an extra 4 tonner and a DURO? And why would you want a tactical vehicle at an operational HQ in the first place? Ok, maybe at the Land component... Can you see a DURO at PSAB, QATAR, BAHRAIN? I think not.

If you really want a laugh, have a look at the long-range bearer (tropo). A 50W gene for a 1W output! It has a danger area of about 400m and needs to have enormous holes bored into the ground to support it. Just imagine trying to site that at an *operational* HQ...

Good concept - very badly put into practice. This should all be COTS kit in boxes that can be put on pallets. No need for 6x6 vehs. Maybe a little bit of ruggedisation for the LAND component (but, then if the Army separated the LAND component from the tactical HQ that could be civvy too). No need for ridiculous genes that require the crew to wear ear defenders ALL THE TIME.

We got what we asked for.
 
#12
IFR_goggles said:
Why will it be excellent?
I said it SHOULD be excellent - i.e. does exactly what it says on the tin. I didn't say that I necessarily agreed with the concept.

Well...you do - rightly - take us back to the original question of WHY we need it. It could be that Cormorant, at a mere £80m, will act as a trial run for Falcon.

There are many flaws in the concept, for example why do we need dismountable boxes? Is it so we don't have to leave vehicles to rot on their axles? Well - surely they could have put in hardwired stuff to optimise space and, when on ops, lift the boxbodies off the Bucher Duros. Just a thought.

On the positive side, Cogent is riddled with ex-scaleys. What price resettlement eh? Saucer of milk for PD (whoops...almost typed milf :!:)

PD
 
#13
PoisonDwarf said:
IFR_goggles said:
Why will it be excellent?
There are many flaws in the concept, for example why do we need dismountable boxes? Is it so we don't have to leave vehicles to rot on their axles? Well - surely they could have put in hardwired stuff to optimise space and, when on ops, lift the boxbodies off the Bucher Duros. Just a thought.
The dismountable boxes is I believe for static field HQ deployment rather than a mobile HQ setup.

Well that is the information I got when speaking with the Corm team in Blandford many moons ago when discussing Fibre optic support.
 
#14
Disco said:
The dismountable boxes is I believe for static field HQ deployment rather than a mobile HQ setup.
Yep...you're absolutely right, but it's a nightmare of wiring when you see the physical work needed to strip out a whole nod, coupled with the 'snakes tea party' wiring.

It's true that a dismountable system would be good for such semi-permanent rigs like could be used on TELIC. One feature that the staff won't be so keen on is the deployment of SGM boxes (basically a hub for phones and PCs) under their desks. They're bloody huge, with cables all over the place.

It's not Cogent's fault though...I'll misquote the start of this thread by saying "you get what you ask for". One lesson learned from the past few weeks is that the Army should insist that future projects are fully tested BEFORE they are given to units to train on. Again I don't think that these faults rest with the civvy contractor (no I'm not trying to get a job there!) but they should have been reigned in earlier. Hopefully Falcon won't fall into that trap.

My solution? Use Voice Over IP (VoIP) :wink:
 
#15
PoisonDwarf said:
My solution? Use Voice Over IP (VoIP) :wink:
Still need the cables tho...

Doesn't Cat 5 only use 4 conductors out of the 8, maybe could bring resuse some old 7 Quad - a bit of a bodge but could work.
 
#16
polarbear said:
PoisonDwarf said:
My solution? Use Voice Over IP (VoIP) :wink:
Still need the cables tho...

Doesn't Cat 5 only use 4 conductors out of the 8, maybe could bring resuse some old 7 Quad - a bit of a bodge but could work.
How about wireless voip on 802.11g? limiting the range and emissions to what we need, would help get the birds nests from under the desks, however whenever the words "wireless lan" are mentioned, claxons seem to sound!!

From the phones point of view, my unit uses a cordless dect system with alcatel pabx switches. Whilst the kit is cots, and not too robust, it works well and is a god send to the mechs!!
 
#17
polarbear said:
PoisonDwarf said:
My solution? Use Voice Over IP (VoIP) :wink:
Still need the cables tho...

Doesn't Cat 5 only use 4 conductors out of the 8, maybe could bring resuse some old 7 Quad - a bit of a bodge but could work.
That true for a 100meg system CAT5 only uses 4 of the 8 conductors.. With CAT5E/6 they achieve Gigabit ethernet by using all 8 conductors doubling up the TX and RX. This creates more NEXT and FEXT problems and added to that the effect of return loss from kinked and crushed cables drasticaly reduce throughput due to error rebroadcasts.

The point about 7 quad is invalid becuase the way CAT5/6 cable achieves high speeds is down to the twist rates in the cables construction.

These twist rates help to reduce the effects of "skinning" which is where the electrons fly out of the conductor causing crosstalk.

VoIP is becoming more popular as effective systems are put on to the market but Gigabit ethernet has been slow to take up preventing VoIP becoming more widespread (only used by major corporations, banks etc). Currently KRONE and other manufacturers are just about ready to deliver 10Gigabit ethernet with a 90-100metre footprint. This will see a new push for the VoIP market. I wouldnt say that wireless has won the battle just yet.


Getting back to BOWMAN and cormorant and indeed falcon what has failed to happen is a cross the board policy for compatability between FO connectors etc. This couldl result in too many specialised spares on a det.

Also the "back to workshop" repair policy is a sham. When the sh*t hits the fan the ToT/FofS will not accept such timely repairs. The mechs (if the unit has them) will simply chop off the £50-£100 specialist connector and mount a ruggedised ST or SC on the end. Before you know it all the "off the shelf" kit that was relabled so it costs the MOD an extra 40% will be removed from its battlebox casing and remounted into cheap 19" racks.

Look at how Attacs has been not so useful in the field as GP3 takes over.

I could go on but I wont, im putting you all to sleep I can tell 8O
 
#18
VoIP is becoming more popular as effective systems are put on to the market but Gigabit ethernet has been slow to take up preventing VoIP becoming more widespread (only used by major corporations, banks etc). Currently KRONE and other manufacturers are just about ready to deliver 10Gigabit ethernet with a 90-100metre footprint. This will see a new push for the VoIP market. I wouldnt say that wireless has won the battle just yet.
Good answer, Disco, but is shortage of bandwidth really the reason for slow take-up of VoIP? We could deliver more flexible voice and data, not to mention less terminal eqpt for the staff, even with existing capacity, if they were integrated rather than being separated as now. Hasn't this got more to do with security than capacity?

And on Wireless isn't it the vulnerability of 802.11b and g to ESM and Denial of Service attacks that is why we've been so slow to exploit it?

Don
 
#19
Donny said:
Good answer, Disco, but is shortage of bandwidth really the reason for slow take-up of VoIP? We could deliver more flexible voice and data, not to mention less terminal eqpt for the staff, even with existing capacity, if they were integrated rather than being separated as now. Hasn't this got more to do with security than capacity?

And on Wireless isn't it the vulnerability of 802.11b and g to ESM and Denial of Service attacks that is why we've been so slow to exploit it?

Don

Hmm well bandwidth is eased by using compression, but there are still latency issues depending on the quality of and the number of switches and hubs, bit of a nightmare. I will speak with a friend who installs VoIP for Siemens he is a bit of a guru so will pick his brains on the matter.

Another issue is cost. Putting the specialist kit to oneside lets look at the standard PC. It would require a soundcard and a hand/headset about £25-£40 all in, compare that to the cost of a standard telephone which is £10-£20 and VoIP suddenly becomes not so attractive. Saying that VoIP has been in the commercial sector for quite some years now although mostly a call centre type application.

Other problems that could affect a military installation is by combining both voice and data into one physical package you can remove flexability. Laptops tend to move around and also a logged off or locked out machine could remove access to the voice circuit as could a corrupt or u/s machine.

You would still have to cater for the voice only user. A form of media/protocol conversion woudl fix this but would drive costs higher.

Looking at security, well RED and BLACK systems with voice and data combined would help with primary and secondary seperation (less active equipment and cabling on the desktop) I not sure what can be said here on this site so will leave that side of it but I dont see it as major stumbling block.

On the surface there appear to be many advantages but putting too much faith in technology can bring about catastrophic failures :oops:

I believe VoIP is on the cards but it will depend largely on the success and transition to BOWMAN.

We have a nasty habit of putting a product in place discovering shortfalls and piggybacking multiple not so compatable systems on top until it falls over. The lack of proper SME`s in procurement always amazes me when oversights are discovered.

As for wireless LAN`s it would drastically improve the speed and flexability of HQ deployment but as Don says DOS attacks are very crucial to network survivability. Even if the deployed HQ had a very small electronic footprint if discovered the enemy would not have to be that close to jam and disable it.

Interesting stuff :)
 
#20
I wouldn't dream of using 7 Quad to take a network connection over 10 gigabit ethernet just the links from the hub to the PC's.

We currently use a mix of fibre, ethernet and 7 Quads. The network is the tidiest when we've used 7 Quad (admittedly we're using this for voice only).
But surely a 100m length of 7 Quad is easier to lay, neater and tougher than 7x100m sections of ethernet cable. Its also easier/quicker to extend the lengths of 7 Quad than remake the ethernet cables.

Then again maybe the problem is we don't have enough switches/hubs and we're trying to put too many Cat 5 connectors into an one 32 port hub (we have a mobile role - its not COMRANT).
 

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