Marine base switches routers

Camp Lejeune

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To ward off major messaging bottlenecks, a premier Marine Corps base is

switching from software- to hardware-based routers.

Camp Lejeune, N.C., is switching from software-based Cisco Systems Inc.

routers to hardware-based SmartSwitch routers from Enterasys Networks. The

routers support network functions for critical base operations such as police,

fire department, hospital, utilities, school, airport and marina services.

Rochester, N.H.-based Enterasys announced the deal with Camp Lejeune on

Wednesday. An Enterasys spokeswoman said the Marines paid about $30,000

for three routers and six accompanying power supplies.

The Marine base is making the switch in part because the Cisco routers are

reaching the end of their support life cycle and were starting to create

bottlenecks of data, according to Terry Maxwell, Camp Lejeune's information

technology planner.

Also, Camp Lejeune has had a long working relationship with Cabletron Systems

Inc., from which Enterasys is a spinoff, Maxwell said, and the base network

infrastructure is largely made up of Enterasys equipment. The Marine base

has installed two of three routers and hopes to install the last in the

coming days.

"The Enterasys routers are an extension of the infrastructure. This is a

relationship we've had for years, and they are able to provide the capability

we're looking for at a price we can afford," Maxwell said.

Camp Lejeune's network supports nearly 150,000 people — military and civilian.

Besides critical operations, such as police and hospital services, the network

supports shops, gas stations and recreational facilities. The day-to-day

applications are supported by an infrastructure consisting of 10 major network

centers.

The SmartSwitch routers will support such applications as 911 services,

complete with a geographic information system for police, fire and ambulance

services and a military logistics system. The GIS provides details about

the telephone, sewer, transportation, and heating and air conditioning infrastructures,

as well as hazardous waste materials information.

"The speed and security of our network infrastructure is essential to maintaining

the flow of critical base operations," said Frank Toth, a Camp Lejeune computer

technician. "Due to the special considerations of a major military base

such as Camp Lejeune, our network must be seen as a core base utility demanding

high performance with zero downtime. On a military base, people come and

go quite frequently, but the service is always there."

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