MCI presents Navy with high-bandwidth option

SAN DIEGO— MCI Government Markets believes it has developed a turnkey commercial solution that exceeds the Navy's requirements for sending high-bandwidth voice video and data to ships at sea.

The requirements are part of the Navy's high-profile Information Technology for the 21st Century (IT-21) project which will tie together systems that run administrative and tactical programs on land and at sea.

MCI started demonstrating its IT-21-afloat system here at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association/U.S. Naval Institute '98 convention shortly after Capt. Gary Graupmann program manager for the Navy's Joint Maritime Communications program said that as far as he knew no company in the telecommunications industry had yet devised "an end-to-end solution."

Don Drehoff MCI's senior Navy national account manager said MCI can not only provide the service to the smallest of the ships in the fl eet it can provide "three times the bandwidth at one-fifth the cost" of alternatives that are under consideration by the Navy.

MCI Drehoff added also can deliver high-bandwidth Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) service to the smallest warships in the fleet including frigates and destroyers through the use of a unique satellite antenna that is easily mounted on the smaller ships.

Communications program managers at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command had not seen the demonstration and could not comment.

MCI has submitted an unsolicited proposal for its IT-21 service which will deliver 512 kilobits/sec or one-third of a T-1 line at a cost to the Navy of $125 000 per ship per month— about one-fifth the cost of Inmarsat B a 64 kilobits/sec service that the International Maritime Satellite Organization offers and that the Navy is mulling for its commercial IT-21 pipes.

Good Fit With Navy's Needs

MCI's proposed IT-21-afloat service dovetails with the new bandwidth requireme nts that Adm. Archie Clemins commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet announced here at the convention. Last year Clemins said the Navy only needed 64 kilobits/sec transmission speed to serve small ships but last week he said he realizes the ships will need at least 512 kilobits/sec.

MCI's managed service package includes global C-band coverage on an International Telecommunications Organization satellite through Communications Satellite Corp. a lightweight (600 pounds) C-band antenna from Malibu Research and an on-board ATM hardware suite featuring a Series 7200 router and a Stratacom IGX switch from Cisco Corp.

The package also includes an ATM edge switch from Yurie Systems Inc. a video teleconferencing suite from PictureTel Corp. and a "wearable'' Intel Corp. Pentium-based computer from Interactive Solutions Inc. for use by mobile users such as damage-control parties.

The Malibu Research satellite antenna is the key to providing high-bandwidth service to small ships said company president Daniel Gonzalez. Malibu Research has developed a mesh-screen antenna that is lightweight and reduces wind loading Gonzalez said. He said Malibu Research has demonstrated the ability to hold onto a satellite signal in high seas which cause small ships such as frigates to pitch and roll.

MCI has successfully demonstrated its IT-21-afloat solution at its lab in Richardson Texas and now wants the chance to test it at sea through a cooperative research and development agreement with the Navy according to Diana Gowen director of Defense sales and marketing at MCI Government Markets.

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