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Nortel Gets Contract To Upgrade Pentagon Network

Nortel will help convert an existing Defense Department network into a private network fully controlled by the Pentagon.

The United States Department of Defense (DoD) will use Nortel technology to upgrade its voice network, the network equipment vendor announced yesterday.

Together with systems integrators CSC and General Dynamics, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) will upgrade equipment and deploy new software to convert the existing DoD network into a private network fully controlled by the Pentagon, and mitigate current shortcomings in the current Defense Switched Network (DSN). At the heart of the project will be a new Nortel-supplied multifunction switch that supports military requirements, including Multi-level Precedence and Preemption (MLPP) service. MLPP prioritizes calls in times of crisis.

"The DSN is a large, sophisticated global network that is well designed and operated, but it also has relied on a managed service from private sector telecommunications service providers for a portion of its infrastructure," Nortel president for federal solutions Chuck Saffell said in a statement. "That means that the ability of the DSN to respond to any given crisis could be restricted because it is not under direct governmental control."

The upgraded network, which recently underwent rigorous certification testing by the DoD's Joint Interoperability Test Command, is also designed to provide enhanced network security at reduced costs. DISA collaborated closely with the U.S. Air Force's Communications Agency (AFCA) on the project to make more efficient use of AFCA network resources.

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