Air Force runs NATO support network 24-7
- By Bill Murray
- Apr 26, 1999
Before North Atlantic Treaty Organization pilots began their bombing sorties in
Yugoslavia, U.S. Air Force personnel in Europe made some construction sorties of their own
at Cervia Air Base, Italy.
Technical Sgt. Jeffery Bennett and Staff Sgts. Bert Caouette, Brian Connolly and Jules
Volney built an unclassified fiber-optic LAN within 24 hours of arriving at the base, said
Maj. Timothy N. Williams, commander of the 48th Expeditionary Communications Flight group
Working nonstop to keep the network up around the clock, the 48th ECF provides
communications support to U.S. troops for NATOs Operation Allied Force [GCN, April 12, Page 1].
The networks Compaq ProLiant 6500 Pentium Pro file server has three 4.3G hard
drives. A separate mail server has five 4.3G hard drives, Williams said.
The 400 users each are limited to 10M storage in their electronic mailboxes. Most of
the users share computer access. Only chaplains and public affairs and legal personnel
have their own PCs, he said.
The network operating system is Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0. On the ProLiant file
server are FormFlow from JetForm Corp. of Ottawa and other applications, Williams said,
including McAfee VirusScan from Network Associates Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., and Norton
AntiVirus from Symantec Corp. of Cupertino, Calif., downloaded through Defense Information
Systems Agency site licenses.
It took the 48th ECF about two weeks to extend full network services. Users get
unclassified Internet access and e-mail over the Defense Departments Non-Classified
IP Router Network classified Internet access over DODs Secret IP Router Network, and
separate access to a NATO classified network, Williams said.
Most of the PCs run Windows 9x; a few have Windows NT Workstation 4.0. The network uses
the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, Simple Network Management Protocol, File Transfer
Protocol and TCP/IP.
To ensure network security, the 48th ECF has deployed firewalls, a proxy server for Web
browsing and Hewlett-Packard OpenView for monitoring, Williams said.
Williams said he attributes the networks constant uptime more to the hard
work and attitudes of the technicians who made it happen, than to reliable