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Mercury Communicator Unit (MCU)

The Mercury Communicator Unit (MCU) version 1.0 is the new release of a new hardware platform that complements the existing Mercury Product line.  This single user operator station can not only intercommunication with a vast number of endpoints in a peer-to-peer manner but also provide the unique ability to simultaneously communicate with operators residing within different security domains when used in conjunction with the Mercury Analog Voice Bridge.

The MCU offers high-performance peer-to-peer multi-operator stations designed for critical communication in small to large-scale operations. The matrix-less architecture facilitates virtually unlimited scalability with each unit being able to simultaneously communicate with up to 64 endpoints and host up to 32 virtual panel applications.

The MCU is the latest addition to the Mercury product line which currently consists of the following products:

  • Mercury Communicator Unit (MCU)
    Fully independent operation, multi-operator station.
  • Mercury Interface Unit (MIU)
    Facilitates interoperability through a variety of audio interfaces.
  • Mini Mercury Unit (MMU)
    Dual operator station with connectivity of up to 32 peers/endpoints.
  • Mercury Analog Voice Bridge (M-AVB)
    Certified Cross Domain Solution for duplex communication across independent security domains.

Capabilities of the MCU include the following:

  • True Peer-to-Peer operation with no single point of failure
  • Multi-Level Security (MLS) capable facilitating access up to 20 independent security domains
  • Unique ability to facilitate duplex communications simultaneously across multiple cross-classification security domains
  • Capable of running all three Trilogy firmware loads (ES, DS & Core)
  • Browser-enabled Virtual Panel
  • Hosting of up to 32 Virtual Clients (Windows, iOS, Android)
  • SIP Interfacing
  • 64 virtual port capacity
  • Powered either locally or via PoE

The MCU facilitates a single-user operator station that can independently communicate with a vast number of other Mercury peer devices and SIP endpoints.  MLS is achieved through complimenting the Mercury system with a Mercury Interface Unit (MIU) equipment with a bridge card to facilitate communications from the MCU operator station across security classification domains in a certifiably protected manner.

The MCU is a form factor design, that is typically positioned on a desk or optionally mounted underneath as opposed to being rack mounted. The compact design means it can be used in virtually any environment to compliment and expand the communications for the solution at hand.

 A detailed breakdown of the capabilities of the MCU are as follows:

  • Peer-to-peer Operation
    Support for the ES firmware load facilitates the mission critical Peer-to-Peer operation in line with other Mercury products.  This matrix-less type of operation results in a system that has no single point of failure and can scale to a very large number of devices in a single system.
  • MLS (Multi Level Security) 
    Support for the ES firmware load also facilitates the MCU operation in an environment where deterministic communication across security domains is required.  Each MCU unit can communicate with any other resource on any other domain using the certifiable communication workflow.
  • Single-user Operator Station
    The MCU hardware supports a LEMO connected headset with inline or independent PTT and is driven using a browser-enabled virtual control surface hosted on the MCU.  The unit is primarily designed to operate in a Command and Control (C2) type environment where each operator requires mission critical communication with other operators, radios, telephony and potentially, SIP interfacing.
  • Browser-enabled Virtual Control Surface
    Rather than using physical buttons, levers or rotaries to operate the MCU, a virtual control surface is used that provides a feature rich interface that can scale to hundreds of buttons.  The interface can be accessed either through the connection of a dedicated touch-screen monitor directly to the MCU’s HDMI port or by entering the IP address of the MCU into a browser running on any platform with network connectivity to the MCU.
  • SIP Interfacing
    SIP is an industry standard for the transmission of voice over IP networks.  The MCUs ability to interface with any SIP endpoint, either through a registrar or point-to-point, brings a very powerful interoperability capability that greatly extends the reach with which the MCU can interface with.
  • Hosting of Virtual Panels
    One of the more powerful features of the MCU is its ability to host the connection of up to 32 Virtual Panels (Windows, iOS, Android) over an IP connection to the MCU.  Any of the virtual panels connected to the MCU can communicate directly with the host MCU as well as any resource within the system.
  • 64-port Capacity
    Each MCU has the potential of simultaneously communicating with up to 64 endpoints. Each endpoint connection utilizes one port and can distributed across all supported endpoints types (MIU, MMU, MCU, SIP, etc.).
  • PoE (Power over Ethernet)
    The MCU may be powered either using a local external PSU or using PoE
  • ES, DS & Core software application capable
    All Trilogy Firmware loads (ES, DS & Core) may be installed on the MCU thereby facilitating operation of the MCU in any existing Trilogy environment
  • Mountable Headset connection using the Connector Panel Adapter (CPA)

Main Feature use cases:

MLS Capable
The MCU as part of an MLS environment along with the Mercury Analog Voice Bridge is capable of traversing across as many as 20 independent security domains in adherence with industry standards.  The MCU coupled with the M-AVB facilitates full duplex communication across two or more security domains. See below for a comparison between the traditional Guard approach compared to the TAVB Solution.

Browser Panel
The browser-based User interface provides an elegant interface where resources within each security domain can be clearly organized and color coded. The visual and auditable call negotiation feature permits each user to have complete awareness and manual acceptance when accessing resources on different security domains.

SIP Interfacing
The MCU can make and receiving SIP calls either through a registrar or directly (point-to-point) using a URI (Uniform Resource Identifier). This can be an elegant means of intercommunicating where the details of the remote systems are not known except for the extension which they can be reached.  Call setup and tear-down is fast enough to allow on-demand communications between the MCU and the endpoint just through the actuation of a talk button on the virtual control surface.

Seamless Integration into Multi-Purpose Operator Stations
The virtual control surface that is hosted by the MCU offers a flexible and deployable solution that can be in the form of any size touch-screen monitor that is suitable for the operator environment or alternatively, utilize an existing system running at the operator station to access the Control surface using the latest versions of any major browser (IE, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Opera)

Compact Design
The compact design of the MCU allows it to be mounted in an out-of-the-way location near the operator while providing a convenient headset connection point using Connector Panel Adapter (CPA) accessory which can be mounted under a desk or wherever is most ergonomic to the operator.

High Definition Audio
Whether communicating Peer-to-Peer or over a SIP call, the MCU provides high definition audio throughout all conversations. 

MCU support for “Gold Disk” Windows Installations
All Mercury products allow a customer provided hardened or “Gold Disk” image of the Windows Operating system to be loaded onto the units and then have ES, DS or Core applications installed on top of that image.

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