Tyranny of Bandwidth

When I commanded a Quartermaster Battalion Headquarters company I was in the land of Logistics. It is true that amateurs talk strategy whereas professionals talk logistics. Without beans, bullets, and hay (Class I food/water, Class V ammunition, and Class III petroleum/oil/lubricants) a modern army is not going to get very far. Nowadays we also have to talk bandwidth constraints (the Tyranny of Bandwidth).

Anonymous asked in a comment to my last post “how easy is it to access internet/phones”. One of the men I deployed with was deployed back in 1991 to Op Desert Storm. Communications back then sucked. The bandwidth was anemic and the telephone company’s were woefully unprepared for the demand. Today it is much different.

When I was at the Tarin Kowt PRT we had it pretty good for communications. We had VoIP phones, three satellite dishes for MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) internet use, plus the official US Dept of Defense phone and internet systems. On one of our missions to a Special Forces FOB (Forward Operating Base) I noticed that they had a similar suite of communications systems that we had at the PRT.

Here on KAF (Kandahar Airfield) I have constant access to the internet (both classified and unclassified) and a DSN (Defense Switched Network) phone because I am a staff officer working at a desk. Using DSN, I can call the switchboard at Missouri National Guard Headquarters in Jefferson City and have them connect me to a local number. For soldiers that do not have constant access to a networked computer or a DSN phone, we have a pool of computers and phones that they can use for personal use. If their home community does not have a DSN phone manned 24 hours a day, they can call a switchboard close to where they live and use a phone card.

I mentioned before that the bandwidth at Tarin Kowt was anemic. It was only anemic for the unclass internet because most of the bandwidth for the Dept of Defense systems were dedicated to classified communications. The MWR systems were heavily used so transfer rates were slow for everything except plain text.

I have the luxury of being able to call home practically every day plus the ability to post frequently to this blog. For the soldiers that are involved in operations outside the wire, they have to wait until they get back to KAF or a FOB to communicate with home. I know of at least two soldiers that have purchased their own satellite phones and call home that way but it is expensive.

We all have it pretty good for communications so we are not concerned with the tyranny of bandwidth.

CPT NightHawk


Blogger Renee said...

Thanks for your response to my previous comment. And thanks again for all you are doing over there! Stay safe!

20 September, 2006 22:22  

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