Bandwidth expansion is due at 10 bases

'GIG-BE is on schedule. We have made all of the milestones we've published so far,' said GIG-BE program director Tony Montemarano.

Oliver Douliery

Around mid-October, 10 military installations in the eastern United States will become the first to get a bandwidth boost.

Last Monday, the Defense Department's Joint Interoperability Test Command, out of Fort Huachuca, Ariz., began initial testing at six locations on the ground-based, switched optical network that makes up the Global Information Grid-Bandwidth Expansion project.

The independent testing command will examine the GIG-BE infrastructure and analyze system performance, network management, and the system's ability to manage, detect and re-solve faults.

Testers are also looking for application performance over the GIG-BE infrastructure.

Through the $900 million GIG-BE program, the Defense Information Systems Agency is creating an OC-192 Synchronous Optical Network with throughput of 10 Gbps for Defense Department users at 92 sites worldwide by September 2005. The 92 sites to be served by the GIG-BE are generally supported by DISN-leased connectivity ranging from T-1, which transmits at 1.544 Mbps, to OC-48, which is 2.4-Gpbs Sonet.

On schedule

'GIG-BE is on schedule. We have made all of the milestones we've published so far,' said Tony Montemarano, GIG-BE program director. 'We're targeting 92 sites by September 2005, and we have nothing that indicates that we can't make that.'

To revamp the older Defense Information System Network at roughly 600 sites for integration with GIG-BE, Montemarano said DISA issued a request for information from industry in May. The department is expected to issue a request for proposals for the DISN Access Transport Services contract in October, he added.

DATS will provide leased-access transmission services between the government-owned backbone network and military customer locations. The transmission services will be required to support bandwidths up to OC-192.

'We're preparing to take our strategy to the Pentagon to get final oversight approval. It's a major evolutionary step,' Montemarano said.

'We'll optimize the DISN to enhance the GIG-BE,' he said, adding that as part of the DISN upgrade, many legacy voice, data and video systems will move to operate over IP. DISN currently operates via a switched-circuit transport system.

GIG-BE will bring added functionality to the 92 sites, Montemarano said.

The network also will support tactical users and be operational at all of DISA's Teleport locations. DISA created the Teleport program to increase military bandwidth and enhance information sharing.

The Teleport program will provide integrated satellite communications and entry points to DISN services, giving deployed users access to unclassified and classified Internet protocols, along with telephone, videoconferencing and data transfer services.

'The tactical users' communications stream will be greatly enhanced coming out of the teleports, so there's a faster, more effective means of getting information sources,' Montemarano said.

'GIG-BE only addresses the strategic portion to assure there are no bottlenecks. So we're coming up to the gates of the tactical and the satellite connections,' he said.

Currently, DISN supports troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. But some DISN contracts are expiring and DISA is going through a process of accessing options for replacing the contracts, Montemarano said.

For example, DATS will provide similar services to two current DISA contracts that are expiring over the next two years: the DISN Transmission Services CONUS (continental United States) contract and the DISN Switched/Bandwidth Manager Services CONUS contract.

Both of the expiring contracts currently provide a large portion of the switching infrastructure and transmission services for the existing DISN in the continental United States, according to the RFI.

The DATS contract will bring a revamped DISN to the roughly 600 sites not covered by the grid.

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