Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Navy installs fully redundant network

Database News : Thursday December 06, 2007


Navy installs fully redundant network


The Royal Thai Navy has completed a 33 million baht network infrastructure at both its bases in Bangkok and Sattahip with a 10 gigabit per second backbone using equipment from 3Com.

In an exclusive interview, Royal Thai Navy Captain Suchart Nutchanart, chief of operations at the naval electronics department, explained that laying the network for the naval base at Sattahip in particular had been a challenge as that one base was over 40 kilometres long. The system is fully redundant and any breaks in the network will automatically be rerouted.

The base is linked to Bangkok via a 2Mbps microwave link which currently goes via a relay station in Bang Na. That will be replaced by a direct 4Mbps microwave link by the end of the year. The Internet link is in Bangkok with CAT providing 4Mbps of bandwidth as of January 2008.

The Royal Thai Navy, in common with the other armed forces, practises a preferred vendor bidding process. For instance, the entire LAN uses only 3Com equipment, the WAN is from Cisco, Voice networks are by Ericsson and Accumen has the microwave network. The Air Force and the Army would then use anyone but 3Com for their LAN to ensure fairness.

This is for simplicity in maintenance. "I do not believe that all the features of Cisco and 3Com will work together. Yes, the basic features will, but not everything," he said.

Capt Suchart said that one of the biggest problems was individual departments bringing in their own ADSL lines and setting up a rogue access points. The 3Com Wi-Fi system can scan for rogue access points and then it was up to him to ask them to take them down or change the channel.

He admitted that the biggest problem was red tape regarding procurement. This particular project had taken two years to go from an idea to a budget plan that was successfully defended and implemented.

As for convergence of voice, data and multimedia networks, Capt Suchart said that he did not expect to see this in the near future because of the budget process and need for separate, redundant networks in a military setting. "We can't even share the same fibre optic cables between strategic command and back office. Security is paramount in my business. If networks slow down, it can mean people dying," he said.

Asked about future project he would like to work on, Captain Suchart said he wanted to do a proper RFID card project to automate access, record personnel location and get rid of the paper forms that every meeting hands around for participants sign in to confirm attendance.

3Com country manager Chingchai Maketippachai said that he believed that the project represented good value to the country and was happy to have played a part in bringing new technology to the armed forces. He said that the South Korean navy also used 3Com equipment and that perhaps one day the two could exchange best practices.

By : Bangkok Post

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