By John Rendleman
The Army plans to migrate all of its circuit-switched voice
communications to packet-switched voice-over-IP technology, said Col.
Scot Miller, head of the organization that builds and runs the Armys
global telecommunications network.
The transition to VOIP, implementation of a unified communications
architecture and the movement to centralize IT applications in area
processing centers are the three primary initiatives that will dominate
the agenda of the Armys networking group for the foreseeable future,
The primary advantages of VOIP compared to the older technology it will
replace are that it will let the Army carry voice and data traffic on a
single converged network in addition to supporting a variety of new
services that combine the Armys other business and military applications
with voice calling and messaging, said Miller, who is project manager of
Defense Communications and Army Switched Systems.
Although the Defense Department may not authorize the use of VOIP for
the Armys crucial command-and-control traffic for another year or two,
its a guarantee that were going to go to an all voice-over-IP construct,
Miller said during a presentation to the American Council for
Technology/Industry Advisory Council in Arlington, Va.
The Defense Information Systems Agency, as the lead agency responsible
for the Pentagons networks and IT systems, is evaluating VOIP to assess
whether it meets the strict availability and operational standards that
are necessary before it can be used to carry command-and-control voice
calls for the military. DISA likely wont approve the use of end-to-end
VOIP technology until 2009 or 2010, Miller added.
In the meantime, the Army is preparing for its migration to VOIP with a
small pilot of the technology and has started, on a small scale, to
install VOIP-enabled circuit switches at network hubs. As it introduces
initial VOIP capabilities into the network, the Army will start to allow
noncommand-and-control users to subscribe to VOIP services but will
preserve circuit switching in significant portions of its voice
infrastructure to support command-and-control calls, according to
In the second phase implementation, the Army will extend VOIP
availability by installing VOIP equipment in local-area networks on Army
installations and gradually supplant circuit-switched calling with VOIP.
When it becomes technically feasible, command-and-control users will be
allowed to subscribe to VOIP services, Miller said.
In the third and final implementation phase, the Army will install VOIP
equipment in all of its networking hubs and outlying installations,
eliminating the last of its circuit-switched gear and completing the
transition of all users to VOIP, Miller said.
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