Leaders of teams such as first responders must maintain situational awareness to effectively react, coordinate, and respond to circumstances that can often become hazardous. Effective communications and positional information of assets, including personnel, are critical to decision-makers in coordinating such activities.

The TacNet Tracker communicates information securely via portable handheld units without the need for fixed infrastructure.

The Tactical Network (TacNet) mobile ad-hoc communications network was developed to operate in a mobile environment without fixed infrastructure, provide connectivity to a fixed network, and provide personnel with secure access to critical data such as real-time maps of resource positions. The development of TacNet addresses a variety of issues including mobile communications without fixed infrastructure, and inclusion of security features such as access control lists and encrypted communications. TacNet employs a line-of-sight mesh radio network that is self-forming, self-healing, and multi-hopping.

The TacNet Tracker device is designed to transport information securely via portable handheld units without the need for fixed infrastructure. The low-profile device is easily worn to provide users with real-time location tracking, communication with other users, and shared information along a secure, encrypted, self-forming, and self-healing network. This line-of-sight network is essentially a custom, privately owned Internet with the capability to self-form on a second-to-second basis. If a unit becomes separated (e.g., line-of-sight is lost), the remaining components “self-heal” the network by forming another path. Because of the mesh network’s multi-hopping capabilities, the TacNet Tracker can create secure paths around obstructions that might hinder a regular radio.

The device has similar communication and data-sharing capabilities as a laptop computer, but in a much more compact, lightweight format about the size of a smartphone. The TacNet Tracker also provides additional functionalities such as Bluetooth communications, USB ports, and tracking with GPS or mesh positioning.

For more information, contact Sandia National Laboratories at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit here .


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This article first appeared in the April, 2018 issue of Tech Briefs Magazine.

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