On Distributed Communications Series

X. Cost Estimate


This Memorandum is one in a series of eleven RAND Memoranda detailing the Distributed Adaptive Message Block Network, a proposed digital data communication system based on a distributed network concept, as presented in Vol. I in the series.[1] Various other items in the series deal with specific features of the concept, results of experimental modelings, engineering design considerations, and background and future implications.

The series, entitled On Distributed Communications, is a part of The RAND Corporation's continuing program of research under U.S. Air Force Project RAND, and is related to research in the field of command and control, and in governmental and military planning and policy making.

The present Memorandum, the tenth in the series, presents the equipment cost estimates for a proposed system based on an arbitrary network configuration consisting of 400 Switching Nodes servicing 100,000 simultaneous users via 200 principal Multiplexing Stations. Although not specifically discussed in detail in this Memorandum, the network can be expanded to handle more than one million users.

The Memorandum is of primary interest to those concerned with the feasibility and implementation of the network under consideration. Many of the assumptions upon which the estimates are based should be of interest to communications planners and designers in general. The cost estimate reflects the advantages of using redundancy with low-reliability components. These advantages are especially apparent when considered in connection with the stringent survivability requirements imposed on any future communications system. As is stated in Vol. XI, the concept is especially sensitive to poor system design. A brute-force, massive-organization approach could easily result in an expensive, fractional-GNP-priced kluge.

[1] A list of all items in the series is found on p. 19.