Voice and data network unit is ready to do battle

Voice and data network unit is ready to do battle

The DTCPack components, which come

DTCPack meets DOD communications standards, will provide LAN connections to unit headquarters

By William Jackson

GCN Staff

An integrated voice and data field network for dozens or hundreds of users is literally rolling out from SRA International Inc. of Fairfax, Va., in hardened, wheeled cases.

The Deployable Telecommunications Contingency Package, or DTCPack, has off-the-shelf networking components from American Power Conversion Corp. of West Kingston, R.I., Cisco Systems Inc. of San Jose, Calif., Compaq Computer Corp., and TimePlex Federal Systems Inc. of Fairfax. DTCPack supports the military's Secure Telephone Unit III and 100-Mbps Fast Ethernet connections with uplinks as fast as 155-Mbps Synchronous Optical Network OC-3.

The modular system architecture, customized for each user, is compatible with Defense Department communications standards. It also will be marketed to civilian agencies with rapid deployment needs, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Tony Valletta, SRA's vice president and director of command, control, communications and intelligence systems.

Showing its stuff

In a demonstration at the recent GovTechNet trade show in Washington, DTCPack juggled five secure voice channels, data connections for 10 PCs and videoconferencing over a 256-Kbps link. The relatively low bandwidth'about one-sixth of a T1 line'emulated field conditions.

Bandwidth management is dynamic, said Lewis E. Shadle, vice president of marketing for TimePlex Federal, maker of the TimePlex ST-20 Concentrator that combines DTCPack voice and data onto a single digital circuit.

The demonstration unit allocated 64 Kbps to voice and could handle five compressed channels of STU-III or unsecured voice traffic. Another 109 Kbps went to data, of which 64 Kbps could be used for video. The remaining 83 Kbps was available for the administrator to allocate as needed.

All the systems will be custom-built, said William F. Scherer, SRA project manager for deployable LANs. 'I don't envision selling two setups exactly alike,' he said.

For the demonstration, a dual 500-MHz Compaq ProLiant 1850R Pentium III server with mirrored hot-swappable 4.3G drives ran Microsoft Windows NT Server and BackOffice, plus a TimePlex STU-III Server package for telephone traffic. A Cisco 9224XL Ethernet switch handled the switching, and a Cisco 2621 router provided 10/100Base-T connections. Each of the three cases had dual power supplies.

DTCPack can interface with T1, fractional T1, frame relay or asynchronous transfer mode over OC-3 or with encapsulated traffic on a T1 line. It supports satellite and other wireless interfaces plus private branch exchange telephone connections.

DTCPack can travel by truck or plane, but it cannot be dropped from a plane and is not a front-line system. Instead, it is designed to work behind the lines to provide LAN connections to a unit headquarters. All hard drives on the servers and connected notebook computers are removable. DTCPack can be used for classified or unclassified network traffic.

SRA integrates the off-the-shelf components and helps the manufacturers optimize hardware and software configurations. Scherer said the company can complete a requirements analysis and design in about 10 days and ship a finished system in 90 to 120 days.

DTCPack is available on several SRA government contracts. The company plans to put a base configuration for up to 20 users on its General Services Administration Information Technology Schedule contract; versions for 100 and 300 users are due this fall.


Contact SRA at 703-803-1500.

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