One Air Force, One Network: Hickam upgrades ITS

Staff Sgt. Carolyn (Viss) Herrick

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Public Affairs

A $5.5 million information transportation system (ITS) upgrade is ready to be installed for Air Force network users here after a nearly two-year process of site surveys and trenching.

This Air Force-directed project will support the needs of active-duty, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve and tenant units with an infrastructure that enables a “one Air Force, one network” capability.

“ITS is a high speed, broadband, robust digital information transport system,” according to Master Sgt. Robert Gonzalez, 747th Communications Squadron (CS) NCO in charge of planning and implementation. “It comprises a common, base-wide backbone transport network and links from the backbone network to core end buildings.”

“This provides redundancy in both transport and network configuration for survivability,” he said.

Phase I, site survey of core buildings and building the network design, was completed in 2009. Phase II required trenching for more than 11,263 feet on Hickam and installing five new manholes, 19,600 feet of conduit, 128,000 feet of external cable and 35,600 feet of internal cable, Gonzalez said.

Ninety-seven facilities – 270 comm closets altogether – will be upgraded with new NIPRNET (Unclassified but Sensitive Internet Protocol (IP) Router Network) equipment, and 437 new network switches will be installed, according to Gonzalez.

“This encompasses a large majority of the Air Force side of the installation,” said Capt. Marc Lamelin, 747th CS plans and resources flight commander. “Most of the areas being trenched have already been trenched for utility lines, so the two miles of boring and cutting that this network requires will have a minimal environmental impact,” Lamelin said.

Now will begin the third phase, which will impact network users starting in early April, according to Staff Sgt. Brooke Bernard, a 747th CS network integration technician who serves as the liaison between the customer and the contractors for this massive ITS upgrade.

“The transition should be seamless,” Lamelin said. “We’re not talking about a massive impact in one week. It’ll take time. We’re not going to come in, make a huge change, and just hope for the best.”

Instead, individual buildings will receive 10 days’ notice of the switchover, and core buildings will receive 20-days’ notice, either by email or individual phone calls. They should be able to turn off the current network, make the switch, and turn it back on. A few hours interruption will be the most any user should see.

“The network goes up and down daily, even hourly,” Bernard explained.

By cleaning up the current configuration and removing unnecessary configurations, there is a potential for the network to be a little faster but most important, it will be reliable.

“It’s kind of like a big cleanup project,” she said.

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Category: News