Army Legal Services Agency moves to Gigabit Ethernet

Army Legal Services Agency moves to Gigabit Ethernet

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

The Army Legal Services Agency boosted its WAN performance by more than 75 percent by upgrading from 10Base-T Ethernet to Gigabit Ethernet with minimal disruption when it relocated recently, officials said.

Bell Atlantic Corp. officials upgraded the WAN at ALSA's Arlington, Va., headquarters from 10 Mbps between floors to Gigabit Ethernet. For desktop systems, the agency installed Category 5 cable to replace 10-Mbps connectivity with 100 Mbps, said Chief Warrant Officer Theodore Glutz, chief of ALSA legal technology.

ALSA staff workers consolidated their offices and moved from Falls Church, Va., to Arlington in one weekend.

'They were pretty much able to walk in on Monday morning and turn on their computers,' said Chief Warrant Officer Rick Redding, a programmer and analyst in the Project Services Office for the Judge Advocate General at Fort Belvoir, Va.

ALSA is a field operating organization of the Office of the Judge Advocate General. ALSA supervises judges, prosecutors and defense counsel in JAG cases.

'There was no training needed for users. It was transparent,' Redding said. ALSA headquarters has 275 employees.

The weekend before the move, Verizon Corp. workers transported network servers to the new location. Company engineers designed the network and installed cable to complete the move, Redding said.

More than meets the eye

Behind the scenes, the operation was more complex.

'We did a phased transition' over six weeks of telephone wiring, and horizontal wiring to desktop PCs and servers, and network drops in closets, said Fazal Q. Junaid, a Verizon systems engineer.

'We consolidated servers and redundant switches' and cut over the ALSA computer center in one weekend, Junaid said. The network has uninterruptible power supply systems to back it up in case of a power failure.

ALSA's headquarters legal staff includes the Army Court of Military Appeals, judges and trial administrators, a contract appeals division and other government employees.

ALSA paid Verizon $394,000 for the project, said Chief Warrant Officer Sharon Swartworth, director of operations for legal technology at JAG.

SMS Data Products Group Inc. of Sterling, Va., was a subcontractor.

ALSA has LAN drops in its courtrooms for notebook computers. ALSA's Compaq Computer Corp. and Dell Computer Corp. servers run Windows NT Server 4.0, and its clients run Microsoft Windows 95. ALSA has a Catalyst switch from Cisco Systems Inc. of San Jose, Calif., on each of its six floors and also uses Cisco routers.

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