The X-LINK middleware has been the key piece enabling interoperable and resilient tactical communications in the ICARUS scenario of crisis response operations covering air/sea/land portable and mobile nodes. The X-LINK middleware stack has been designed with fast deployment, interoperability and performance-based real-time self-management capabilities in mind.
The middleware uses standard datalink technologies (ETSI DMR, IEEE 802.11x and broadband SatCom) to transparently offer to the applications an unified communication capability. Applications are provided with flexible connectivity and data transfer patterns, as well as high-granularity Quality of Service; hiding low-level details of underlying datalinks. One of the application interfacing options supported in X-LINK is the JAUS robotic middleware used in ICARUS.
Fully decentralized algorithms provide adaptive and harmonised handling of radio channels —using a cognitive spectrum approach—as well as link-layer and network-layer addressing, routing and capacity management functions; allowing for rapid deployments under unknown spectrum occupancy conditions, harsh propagation environments, large throughput demands and varying platforms constrains.
The X-LINK middleware has been implemented in open Linux-based platforms with proper extensions and customisations enabling an overall optimisation of the networking stack. A convenient set of tools are provided to network operators for easy configuration of X-LINK nodes based on capacity allocation targets for both locally-generated and relayed traffic.