D.C. picks Cisco for metro network

The District of Columbia has chosen networking equipment from Cisco Systems Inc. to help build its $93 million metropolitan network. DC-Net will link more than 300 sites throughout the nation's capital and consolidate voice and data communications for the city's agencies, including government offices, fire and police departments and schools.

Peter Roy, the district's deputy chief technology officer, said DC-Net would be the most advanced metropolitan network in the nation, and save the city at least $10 million per year in communications costs. He spoke yesterday at a Cisco press conference in Vienna, Va.

Roy said the city wants to own its own communications network and eventually would be able to sell networking services to customers, such as the Washington Convention Center. But Roy emphasized that the district was not interested in getting into the phone business. The CTO's office will award several competitive contracts to operate the DC-Net system.

"We're building a campus network that just happens to cover the entire district," Roy said.

The first phase of DC-Net will roll out in the first half of 2004. Additional services will come out continually over the next two years.

The DC-Net infrastructure, based on an OC-48 synchronous optical network backbone, will be built around a combination of optical, IP and Ethernet equipment from San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco.

"Cisco has a long track record delivering networking solutions for enterprises and service providers, which is reassuring for an IT organization that plans to deliver critical public safety and other government services on its own private network," Roy said.

For core optical services, DC-Net will employ the Cisco ONS 15454 Multiservice Provision Platform. For IP routing, the city will use Cisco 12000 series routers at the core and Cisco 7300 series routers at the edges of its IP networks. Cisco Catalyst 3550 series switches will provide the bulk of the Ethernet services for DC-Net.

"DC-NET is going to significantly enhance the city's communication services," said Jayshree Ullal, senior vice president and general manager for the Optical Networking Group at Cisco. "Knowing that schools will benefit and millions of dollars will be saved annually is a huge bonus."

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