IP fills bill for Army data traffic

ORLANDO, Fla.'The Army's use of data communications grew exponentially in the past decade, and the pace of that growth is expected to accelerate, underscoring the need for network efficiency to carry traffic over the Internet Protocol, said Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson, the nominee to become the Army's next chief information officer.

The trend validates the service's decision to use the Internet Protocol as its de facto standard for data communications, Sorenson said this week at the MILCOM 2007 show.

The Defense Department roughly doubles its data traffic every year, resulting in a quadrupling in the volume of military data traffic generated by the Army, Navy and Marine Corps, and Air Force in the two years between 2005 and 2007, according to the Defense Information Systems Agency.

For the Army, that means that, 'everything that's coming, we're basically putting over IP,' said Sorenson, who is also special assistant to the secretary of the Army.

New applications, especially imagery, coupled with the Army's ongoing push to provide up-to-date information to personnel at an increasing number of its organizational layers and farther out into the field to individual soldiers, are the biggest contributors to the growth.

The Army used to differentiate between strategic, operational and tactical missions and concentrated on providing enhanced data services in strategic areas. 'Today, those three types of operations have been melded into one, and there is no daylight between the strategic soldier and the tactical soldier,' Sorenson said.

In 2001, for example, the Army provided 46 megabits/sec in data throughput, on average, for its combined forces. As of July 2007, however, that demand had reached an average of 7.7 gigabits/sec, Sorenson said.

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