DOD certifies telecom products that could help cut costs

DOD picks products for network services with an eye toward cost, power requirements and space.

As part of its effort to modernize and upgrade its technology, the Defense Department has certified several products for communications that are expected to reduce expenses, power and space needs.

The Joint Interoperability Test Command certified the products, which include optical local area network and packet optical transport technology from Tellabs.

The products, for the transfer of voice, video and high-speed data, will provide higher bandwidth, cut capital expense up to 70 percent, reduce power needs up to 80 percent and shrink space needs up to 90 percent, said Joe Shilgalis, vice president for Tellabs Government Systems. The company guarantees the products to have downtime of no more than five minutes annually, with 99.9999 percent availability, he said.

Tellabs’ optical LAN products are the first 40G solutions to combine optical, traditional, synchronous optical networking and Ethernet into a single box, said Sterling Perrin, senior analyst with Heavy Reading. The government is interested in such technology because of the money savings that can be achieved, both in operations and connectivity, as well as in modernization, he said. Now there is a trend to build networks that are more focused on data rather than voice, but organizations need to have both capabilities and need to migrate to new technologies in steps, he said.

However, money isn’t the only concern. Requirements and expectations for telecommunications systems also have grown.

“Now we have this international network that the Defense Information Systems Agency is responsible for that is also supporting two warfronts,” said Ray Bjorklund, chief knowledge officer for Fed Sources, a consulting firm. Commanders in the field have high expectations for connectivity and security and intend to exchange large volumes of data with the continental United States, particularly because of the transfer of imagery, he said.

“Being able to do high-speed optical switching with high reliability, low error rate and the ability to keep the system available at a very high rate and low chance of failure, [and] make it very secure is a tough requirement,” Bjorklund said.

 

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