networking (Joe Techapanupreeda/Shutterstock.com)

GSA eyes SDN for post-pandemic telecom flexibility

The General Services Administration is counting on software-defined networking services to help it modernize its own telecommunications and manage demand for connectivity in offices nationwide, according to one of the agency's key IT managers.

GSA Deputy CIO Beth Killoran said SDN capabilities will help the agency adjust network capacity at its offices as the pandemic progresses.

Speaking on an Aug. 26 AFFIRM webcast, Killoran said that with the expansion of GSA's remote workforce, the "capacity in those buildings has changed." Mobile services will also play an important role in GSA's post-pandemic networking environment, she said.

GSA has been interested in being able to dynamically shift network capacity for some time, according to Killoran, and it has been running pilot programs to see how it could handle shifts in employee occupancies at its buildings even before the pandemic struck.

With the pandemic, that flexibility is even more critical, according to Killoran. Building capacities are far from certain as workers transition back to the offices from remote work. SDN, she said, can help deal with that uncertainty.

"SDN is based on capacity and need," said Killoran. "It allows us to throttle" network use depending on demand, she said. “The ability to flex capacity and save money and network resources for telecommunications services, as well as have the telecommunications provider manage them more efficiently,” she said.

This article was first posted to FCW, a sibling site to GCN.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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