Defence Forces march on with microwave network


13 Jul 2005

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The Irish Defence Forces have completed a major upgrade of its network infrastructure to include new faster microwave links and data switches.

Eight Defence Forces sites around Leinster have been connected via fast microwave radio links. Each link in the new network has a bandwidth capacity of 34Mbps, which is several times faster than the existing 2Mbps microwave equipment that had been in place. The Defence Forces needed the additional bandwidth to cope with its increased use of voice and data communications. The army already operates a converged network, carrying data traffic and telephony over a single communications infrastructure.

The army chose Damovo to supply the communications systems for the project. Damovo delivered and commissioned the network upgrade using technology from Ericsson and 3Com. The company also provided training to the Defence Forces staff in order to maintain the equipment. The project took more than six months to complete.

According to Peter Sloan, sales manager with Damovo, the advantage with microwave links is that the Defence Forces only has a once-off cost for the equipment and installation, whereas using fixed-line connections would have involved paying for leased lines with an annual rental fee and recurring costs. In addition, the new network is wholly owned by the Defence Forces, avoiding the need to rely on external service providers to link its main sites together.

The Communications and Information Services Corps has responsibility for providing all communication and information technology services to the Defence Forces. Its remit covers development and maintenance of a countrywide private Defence Forces telecommunication Network (DFTN), which can handle both voice and data services. It also oversees the provision and maintenance of military radio equipment for use by Defence Forces personnel in Ireland and abroad.

By Gordon Smith