Making Better Use of Bandwidth

Data Compression and Network Management Technologies

by John F. Pane, Leland Joe

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Recent operations in Afghanistan and Iraq have demonstrated the Army’s increasing reliance on communications, making it important to find ways in which the Army might better use bandwidth. This report discusses how existing data compression and network management techniques could be used in the near to medium term to improve performance. These techniques will not solve the bandwidth bottleneck but will contribute to better performance with minimal impact on existing networks. The authors describe how several modern compression technologies work, along with some of the tradeoffs involved in using them. In addition, network accelerators can improve throughput by changing network structure and operations at the last link to the user. These technologies enable users to manage their individual bandwidth needs and, when combined with new compression technologies, could potentially reduce bandwidth demands by an order of magnitude. The authors recommend that the Army incorporate compression and network acceleration technologies into future systems, identify where Army-specific tailoring could improve on commercial data compression technologies, and develop an experimental plan to determine acceptable compression-related losses in quality and to train users.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Lessons from Recent Operations on Army Demands for Bandwidth

  • Chapter Two

    Overview of Data Compression

  • Chapter Three

    Lossless Compression

  • Chapter Four

    Lossy Compression of Images

  • Chapter Five

    Lossy Compression of Video

  • Chapter Six

    Managing Network Bandwidth

  • Chapter Seven

    Concluding Remarks

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The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Army and conducted by the RAND Arroyo Center.

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