Georgia to build state VPN

Solicitation

The Georgia Technology Authority this week released a request for proposals for a new statewide virtual private network (VPN).

The new Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) VPN would replace the existing frame relay network used by state, county and municipal government organizations. That includes schools, libraries and law enforcement agencies. It is expected to be cost at least $10 million.

Bandwidth demand in all levels of government has increased for data, voice and video applications. Although the legacy network can't continue to expand to meet those needs, the MPLS VPN will allow administrators to ration and prioritize bandwidth for mission-critical applications, according to the Feb. 9 solicitation. New security and privacy requirements — including federal mandates and common business needs — are also taking agencies beyond the existing network's capabilities.

State officials conducted two pilot projects at the Department of Revenue and the Department of Technical and Adult Education before deciding to move forward with the statewide solution.

Initially, the network will provide data and video, including videoconferencing for distance learning and telemedicine. The architecture must, however, support the inclusion of voice over IP a year after the initial deployment.

One of the biggest advantages to the new network will be the support for mobile workers, allowing users to connect via Digital Subscriber Line, cable modem or dial-up. In addition to standard telework environments, the mobile access will be key for public safety, family and children services site visits, and staff working in state parks.

Proposals are due by March 22, and the award is expected the week of June 7. Although a final implementation timeline will depend on the solution, the initial network should be complete by the third quarter of 2005.

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