US okays vendors for defence network

The agency upgrading a global communications network for the US military has approved plans by contractor Science Applications International that would bring in six major subcontractors to supply the equipment underlying the network.

The agency upgrading a global communications network for the US military has approved plans by contractor Science Applications International (SAIC) that would bring in six major subcontractors to supply the equipment underlying the network.

Through its Global Information Grid Bandwidth Expansion (GIG-BE) project, the US Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) plans to enhance the Defense Information System Network with greater bandwidth and more physically diverse routes at about 90 sites in the continental US and the European and Pacific theaters. When the project is finished, most of the sites will be served by an optical mesh network, according to information on the website of DISA, based in Arlington, Virginia.

The agency announced late last month that it has accepted San Diego-based SAIC's system solution for the project. SAIC will subcontract with Ciena for optical transport system equipment, with Sprint and Sycamore Networks for optical digital cross-connect gear and with Cisco Systems and Qwest Communications International unit Qwest Government Services for multiservice provisioning platforms. For IP (Internet Protocol) routers, the contractor determined that Juniper Networks, in Sunnyvale, California, offered the best value technical solution, according to a DISA statement.

Dubhe Beinhorn, vice president of Juniper Federal Systems, in Herndon, Virginia, painted Juniper's selection as a breakthrough against Cisco, which holds the lion's share of the router business worldwide.

"The government is ready for a choice in IP routing ... Cisco has had a significant incumbent position with the government for the last 10 years," Beinhorn says.

Juniper will provide the IP routers for both the core and the edge of the network, deploying both its M-Series and T-Series platforms, Beinhorn says. The company expects the first orders under the contract to come in early 2004 and most of the project deployments to happen within the following two years. The network will have connections of 10Gbit/s or faster, according to Juniper.

SAIC's multiyear subcontracts with vendors are for indefinite periods and indefinite quantities of gear, according to a DISA statement. The agency did not provide an estimate of the subcontracts' value.

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More about CienaCiscoCiscoCommunications InternationalDefense Information Systems AgencyDISAJuniper NetworksJuniper NetworksQwestQwest CommunicationsScience Applications InternationalSprintSycamore Networks

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