BBN is to build a self-configuring network technology that would identify traffic, prioritise and reallocate bandwidth according to end user, and automatically make quality of service decisions.

This advanced network technology is being developed by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and will include support for features like 32 levels of network traffic prioritisation that will let data with a higher priority will be handled more expeditiously than traffic with a lower priority.

BBN said the technology would provide improved command and control computer network capabilities for tactical military units, letting commanders assign network resources on the basis of the mission.

The advanced prioritization system is part of DARPA's Military Networking Protocol (MNP) programme which is looking to develop an authenticated and attributable identification system for packet based, military and government data networks, the agency said. Military or government data sent with the MNP will be compatible with normal Internet equipment to allow MNP traffic to pass through legacy network or encryption equipment, DARPA said.

Not only should the prioritisation scheme be radically advanced, the system should be extremely difficult to spoof or inject false traffic into, DARPA said.

This one-year contract includes two, one-year options, which, if awarded, would bring the cumulative value of the contract to about $42 million, BBN stated.

The contract isn't the first BBN has to develop advanced network technologies from DARPA. Last year it got $.4.4 million to develop novel, scalable attack detection algorithms; a flexible and expandable architecture for implementing and deploying the algorithms; and an execution environment for traffic inspection and algorithm execution.

The network monitoring systems is being developed under DARPA's Scalable Network Monitoring programme which seeks to bolt down network security in the face of cyber attacks that have grown more subtle and sophisticated. New technologies and applications provide new attack routes and have made traditional signature-based and anomaly detection-based defensive measures inadequate in both speed and sensitivity, BBN added.

BBN has also worked with DARPA on the agency's Global Autonomous Language Exploitation (GALE) program. The goal of GALE is to translate and distill foreign language material (television shows and newspapers) in near real-time, highlight salient information, and store the results in a searchable database -- all with more than 90 percent accuracy by the end of the program. Through this process, GALE would help US analysts recognise critical information in foreign languages quickly so they could act on it in a timely fashion.