CNN Exclusive: FBI investigation determined Chinese-made Huawei equipment could disrupt US nuclear arsenal communications.
You probably know that your cellphone communicates with the cell tower with radio waves. But how does the tower connect to the Internet backbone, by which your voice or message is sent to another user? This is called backhaul. In urban or suburban areas, fiber optic cable is usual, your voice riding a beam of light. In sparsely populated areas, where missile silos are located, microwaves are used, similar in principle to the frequencies of your phone, but much higher, so that one backhaul link can carry thousands of conversations.
The U.S. military has 5 MILSTAR satellites, orbiting 22,500 miles above the earth, part of MEECN. They are ancient, as satellites go; the U.S. has newer satellites with much higher performance. But MILSTAR was not built to be a speed demon. It has the virtues of reliability and survivability. It has one purpose, to ensure communication with the nuclear deterrent.
The MILSTARs communicate with the deterrent via a (Gunter’s Space Page) 20 GHZ downlink and a 44 GHZ uplink. The downlink frequencies are bracketed by popular cell tower backhaul frequencies. See the chart at (Cerago)
It is no surprise that Huwaei equipment can, with firmware modification, intercept and transmit on MILSTAR frequencies. The technological advances that make this possible, which are available to all equipment manufactures are:
- High performance microwave semiconductors.
- Flash A/D converters enabling software radio.
- Frequency agile, synthesized transmitters.
Since the above has become universal, it comes down to:
Who do you trust?
See also (Reuters) To counter Huawei threat, U.S. should consider taking ‘controlling stake’ in Ericsson, Nokia -attorney general.