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Cisco Upgrades U.S.'s Primary Law Enforcement Network

Cisco Systems Inc. has signed a deal to supply technology to upgrade the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (Nlets), the United States' primary interstate law enforcement information network.

Nlets is upgrading its network to conform with a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Advisory Policy Board mandate issued in 2000 requiring public safety agencies to ensure end-to-end encryption of network data by 2005. According to Cisco, in upgrading from a frame-relay infrastructure to an IP network built on its secure network equipment, Nlets will not only meet but exceed the FBI security standards.

"Even if an intruder were able to intercept a message sent across Nlets, the message could not be read or altered," Cisco Systems global industry solution manager for justice and public safety Morgan Wright said in a statement. "Plus, this enhanced level of security comes at no cost to network performance. With all the advanced capabilities and scalability of an IP-based network, Nlets continues to provide the same fast message transmission, in one second or less, as the less robust, less capable network that it replaced."

Based on the Law Enforcement Teletype System (LETS) created in 1966, Nlets has evolved into a sophisticated electronic messaging system connecting 18,000 local, state and federal law enforcement and public safety agencies. The network supports rapid message exchange and lets law enforcement and criminal justice officials search criminal, motor-vehicle and driver databases, citizenship and immigration services records and aircraft-tracking and registration information anywhere in the Unites States. In addition to its traditional data applications, the migration to an IP infrastructure has allowed Nlets to deploy IP telephony applications to its geographically dispersed administrative staff.