Navy

Light information transmitting optical system

LITOS network architecture ensures data integrity from an open-to-closed network

Communications

In this generalized patent drawing, data from the source network such as a public Wi-Fi is sent to one of multiple transmitters (18), encoded and optically transmitted through the air to multiple receivers (22) where the transmissions are compared. If the transmissions are the same, one is decoded and passed along to the closed destination network. The air gap (26) can range from meters to several kilometers in distance.

Open data networks are ubiquitous and pose an ongoing target for the introduction of viruses, worms, malware, denial of service attacks, and nefarious activities such as eavesdropping, keystroke logging, cybercrime, cyber warfare, unauthorized execution of code, and other malfeasance.

Risks related to open networks are grossly increased when data from an open network is sent to a closed network. This is where commerce and industry can be impacted as these open networks can provide an access point to confidential or secure information such as financial or health records, corporate secrets, and utility network controls.

To overcome these threats Navy researchers have developed the Light Information Transmitting Optical System, or LITOS, which utilizes redundant transmission of data by way of light communication. While difficult to visualize, this technology relies on an air gap around a closed network that allows it to stand alone with free space separating it from other systems.

The system transmits multiple copies of the same data stream over an optical free space network. A control device on the receiving end compares the two or more data streams to verify that they have not been corrupted.  Different data streams arriving at the receiving end indicates a corruption of the data in which case the information is not further transmitted to the receiver.

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