Draft, Review & Release

This week we are excited to announce the release of Harrier 3.1 and Cobalt 1.1.

These releases are an important step for our Draft, Review & Release Solution, a capability of particular interest within Military Deployments.

Draft and Release is a process of handling formal military communication, it is vital for scenarios where formal responsibility must be taken for messages sent. For example, Military commands sent as messages needing to be approved/released by an appropriate senior officer. More information on this can be found in our recently updated whitepaper.

This latest release of Harrier provides a new, simple and intuitive UI for drafters, reviewers, and releasers, making each task straightforward. Also included is a visual workflow, allowing easy tracking of messages.

There will be situations where it makes sense to send directly and to avoid any workflow. Cobalt allows simple control of users who can send directly for selected messages based on SIC and Priority.

Cobalt provides a range of capabilities to support Formal Military Message Handling Systems (MMHS), with capabilities oriented towards the support of systems using Isode’s Harrier, M-Box, and M-Switch products.

Downloads and accompanying release notes can be found in the evaluator and customer sections of the website.

HF for more than just messaging

Over the last two years, Isode has been working alongside other HF experts to update STANAG 5066 from edition 3 to 4, motivated by the need to keep this vital standard current with the latest messaging developments.

One particular area of interest for Isode is enabling TCP applications to perform efficiently over HF links and our CEO, Steve Kille, gave a presentation in this area at the most recent HFIA meeting back in March. You can find a PDF of the presentation, ‘Web Browsing over HF’, here.

In an ideal world all mission-critical applications would take advantage of specific optimized protocols for HF but, as it’s impractical to do this for every service, having mechanisms to support generic services that run over IP in high-speed networks is necessary.

To provide IP services over HF in a reasonably efficient manner, a central challenge is to provide a mechanism to support TCP-based applications efficiently. This can be done with a TCP PEP (Performance Enhancing Proxy), such as our recently announced Icon-PEP product.  Icon-PEP product enables deployment of IP Applications over an HF network using STANAG 5066 link layer as the interface to that network. More information can be found on the Icon-PEP product page.

Isode at NITEC19

NITEC is the NCI Agency’s flagship annual industry conference, focusing on advancing technological solutions and business practices to strengthen NATO operations. This year’s NITEC was held in the Norwegian capital of Oslo between 20 and 22 May.

A regular visitor to NITEC, Isode spent three enjoyable days at this year’s show demonstrating our software for chat and email messaging to an audience of systems integrators, technical influencers and representatives of end-user organisations (the militaries of NATO nations).

Isode’s Louise Hill (Pre-Sales Engineer) and Jeff Tillotson (Business Development Manager: Defence) setting up the Isode stand.

Of particular interest to visitors was Isode’s ability to connect different services, employing different chat and messaging standards, so that they become seamless end-to-end systems. Our demonstration of connecting XMPP based chat systems to those employing the legacy IRC system (using Isode’s M-Link IRC Gateway) was particularly popular.

Both chat and messaging demonstrations also featured security label translation, mapping labelled messages from one security domain to another (for the show we used Norwegian and NATO labels on the different “sides” of the messaging/chat systems).

Evaluation software for both Email Messaging and XMPP Chat software is available from the Isode website.

Isode and Civil Aviation Messaging

This year marked the 15th anniversary of Isode’s entry into the civil aviation market, when we started to supply messaging servers and APIs into the AMHS (Air Traffic Services (ATS) Message Handling Services) market via our solution partners, helping those partners to deliver great AMHS based solutions to their Civil Aviation Authority customers.

Since then over 100 countries have installed AMHS systems based around Isode messaging servers, with more sales on the way this year as new countries switch from the old AFTN system or expand their existing AMHS installations to encompass regional airports and hubs.

At the recent World ATC Congress in Madrid, as well as taking a look at all of the new developments in this vibrant market, we spent some time visiting and thanking those partners for the excellent working relationship we’ve enjoyed over the years. It was comforting to see that our partners are as enthusiastic about this market now as they were when we first met them.

Military Messaging at NITEC’18

NITEC is the annual flagship event of the NATO Communications and Information Agency, which took place this year in Berlin between 22nd and 24th May.

Isode took a small stand, alongside the main conference room, to demonstrate our server, gateway and client products. The main focus of Isode’s demonstration this year was Harrier, our web based military messaging client which works alongside both Isode’s own messaging servers and Microsoft Exchange.

As well as bringing a modern user interface to military messaging, Harrier’s small footprint and easy deployment makes it ideal for those organisations looking to upgrade with a minimum amount of disruption to existing infrastructure. Harrier was demonstrated with Isode’s messaging servers and messaging gateways, showing email over a simulated HF link between a fixed and mobile unit using a variety of military messaging formats.

With the commercial focus of this year’s NITEC being the recently announced competition for the New NATO Messaging Service (NNMS), many visitors commenting on the suitability of Isode’s products for the core messaging requirement of that competition.

NITEC16 and Harrier (Web)

NITEC is the annual flagship event of the NATO Communications and Information Agency, organised this year in cooperation with the Ministry of Defence, Estonia.

NITEC is both a conference and an exhibition and this year Isode took a small exhibition stand to show demonstrations of a wide range of our server and messaging software. NITEC was also the first public outing of the web-based version of our Harrier military messaging client.

Our demonstration setup (illustrated below) showed email, text chat and forms data exchange between two domains, using different security policies over a constrained network link.

Isode demonstration setup for NITEC

The constrained network link was simulated using MoRaSky, an Isode test tool which emulates (HF) Modems, Radios and Sky (Ionosphere).

Attendees were shown security label mapping and conversion, clearance-based message control in email, 1:1 chat and multi-user chat using Isode’s message clients (Swift for XMPP & Harrier for Email) and servers (M-Switch & M-Link).

NITEC was the first public showing of Harrier (Web)

NITEC proved to be a great source of feedback on Isode products, especially Harrier, and we’re looking forward to incorporating that feedback into future versions of Harrier and future demonstrations.

Draft & Release for Military Messaging: An Open, Online Approach

In military communications, messages are frequently sent to organizations (e.g., a Command) rather than to an individual or to a role.

The receiving organization will process the message using a Profiler, which looks at meta-information (such as a Subject Indicator Code “SIC”) in the message in order to dispatch it to the appropriate recipient. This process of examination and dispatch is known as draft and release and is, today, mostly done using a mix of paper and online systems. A number of deployments have sought to introduce entirely online systems for draft and release but the approaches used in those deployments all have weaknesses.

In a new whitepaper on the Isode website, “Open Online Draft & Release“, Isode proposes a new open standards based approach to online draft and release, combining the best practices of existing systems with capabilities for message review which can be used independent of draft and release.

New Whitepaper: Isode’s Solution for BRASS

HF Radio is an important naval communication channel for ‘beyond line of sight’ (BLOS) communication, BRASS (Broadcast and Ship to Shore) is an approach used by Navies, particularly those of NATO countries, to communicate between ships and shore using HF.

In a new whitepaper (Isode’s Solution for BRASS) we give an overview of BRASS and describe our strategy and solution for this area. The whitepaper looks at how our products can support the protocols and interoperability for currently deployed BRASS systems and move them forward to state of the art capabilities that can extend the services offered over BRASS.

R16.3: Multi-Master Directory, XMPP Archive/Search & ACP127 support

We’re pleased to announce the availability of Isode’s latest release, R16.3, which can be downloaded now from our website. R16.3 is a major Isode release which adds new capabilities across the entire Isode product range, including:

M-Vault

We’ve introduced a multi-master capability to M-Vault, complementing the single-master approach to replication defined in the X.500 protocols around which M-Vault was developed. M-Vault is the first directory to offer both multi-master and X.500.

M-Link

M-Link gains a new Archive Server for archive of all messages (including 1:1 chat, MUC and PubSub). XMPP clients can access archives using Message Archive Management (MAM) as defined in XEP-0313. M-Link also gains three new web applications:

  1. Message Archive Management, allowing browser-based access to information in the archive.
  2. Statistics, a lightweight monitoring alternative to the M-Link Console GUI.
  3. Forms Discovery and Publishing, for end-user publishing and display of FDP forms.
M-Link Statistics Web App
M-Link Statistics Web App

M-Switch

We’ve added gateway support for text based organisational message protocols, which we’re collectively describing as ACP127. The first release of this capability supports ACP127 and DOI 103S, a popular US variant, and enables conversion with STANAG 4406 (compliant to STANAG 4406 Annex D) and SMTP (following the MMHS over SMTP extensions).

In addition we’ve made extensive improvements to MConsole and M-Link Console to support the new M-Switch and M-Link family capabilities. For a full run-down of new capabilities in R16.3, please see the Product Release page. We’ll be publishing further blog posts over the coming weeks focusing on some of the new R16.3 capabilities.

Isode at the HFIA #2: MoRaSky

The High Frequency Industry Association (HFIA) provides an “industry driven forum for the interactive exchange of technical and information in the area of High Frequency Communications.” Phyiscal meetings of the group usually take place twice a year and in September 2014 Portsmouth was the location for the latest of these meetings. This is the second of two blog posts covering our attendance at this meeting, the first can be found here.

As an application developer, Isode is interested in how the whole modem/radio/sky system affects the data stream and, by extension, the performance of our applications.

In our final HFIA presentation, Isode’s Jim Peters gave an analysis of variations in the signal to noise ratio (SNR) based on over the air trials performed by our partner, Rockwell Rollins, between Cedar Rapids and Las Cruces. Jim is leading Isode’s “MoRaSky” project to develop a test tool that allows us to model the modem/radio/sky combination. This tool will help us test applications in the lab, prior to live OTA trials.

OTA Measurements

A PDF of the full text of Jim’s talk Analysis of Intermediate Term variation from OTA Measurements can be found by following the link. MoRaSky is available to all of our partners and integrators. If you’re interested in using MoRaSky, please contact us.