Technology Transfer SSC Pacific
Custom Network Protocols for Secure Wireless-to-TCP/IP Communications

 PDF Version

The U.S. Navy developed custom network protocols that enable low cost, low power security monitoring of global shipping containers.


In order to improve global cargo container security, SSC Pacific developed custom network protocols, Fixed Network Access Devices, and Handheld Network Access Devices which included an Android-based mobile app. These technologies allow for monitoring and control of IEEE 802.15.4-based electronic locks and security devices on shipping containers throughout the global supply chain. The custom network protocols are described below.

The Technology

SSC Pacific’s custom network protocols are a set of air interface discovery, data format, and messaging procedures that provide secure wireless-to-TCP/IP communications among a global ad-hoc network of container security devices, Network Access Devices (NADs), and Data Centers. Using the protocols, a conveyance-mounted security device conducts network discovery to communicate with a NAD via IEEE 802.15.4. The security device provides uniquely formatted data to the NAD, which in turn relays the data to a Data Center via TCP/IP. The protocols enable status updates to be sent from security devices to Data Centers, and commands, such as arm and disarm, between Data Centers and security devices.


  • Operates in 2.4 GHz ISM Band
  • Demonstrated ranges of 100m
  • Supports global interoperability
  • Supports access to multiple security devices
  • Extends security device battery life through passive network discovery, and variable announcement intervals
  • Provides end-to-end encryption (AES 128) between security devices and Data Center(s), independent of transport layers
  • Supports network discovery and message exchange requirements for security devices randomly moving in and out of NAD coverage range
  • Development Status

  • U.S. Patent 8855311 issued 10/7/2014
  • DoD 5000 Series Technology Readiness Level 8: System developed, demonstrated, and deployed
  • Field-tested in several pilots in North America and Asia (2008-2013)
  • Licensing and collaboration opportunities available
  • Also see T2 publications on Fixed NAD and Handheld Network Access Device (HNAD)/Android app
  • For more information on technology transfer, please contact us at (619) 5535118 or email
    SD 1240, June 2014. SSC Pacific, San Diego, CA 921525001. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.

    SSC Pacific
    Updated: 1/13/2015 8:24 AM EST   Published