DISA awards contract to upgrade telecom network

Nortel Networks Federal Solutions division won a $20 million contract from the Defense Information Systems Agency to improve the control and responsiveness of the Defense Switched Network.

DISA wants the hardware and software upgrades so the DSN can better respond in times of crisis. Nortel Federal Solutions, a division of Nortel Networks Corp. of Brampton, Ontario, also will support the introduction of new applications, all at reduced operational cost to the government, according to a company release.

Nortel will work with systems integrators General Dynamics Corp. and Computer Sciences Corp. to transform DOD's managed voice network into a private network under complete Defense control. The hardware and software products will create a multifunction switch for DOD, supporting Multi-level Precedence and Preemption service, which puts calls through in order of priority during 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," said Chuck Saffell, president of Nortel Federal Solutions. "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."

Nortel's customized technologies for DISA support mission-critical communications while using much of the existing infrastructure, Saffell added.

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