Original Date: 04/07/1997
Revision Date: 04/14/2003
Information : Multimedia Network
Between 1978 and 1988, Rock Island Arsenal (RIA) utilized 22 buildings’ minicomputers and remote dial-in capabilities as the Local Area Network (LAN) and Wide Area Network. This network provided multiple services to RIA tenant organizations and Armament Munitions and Chemical Command (AMCCOM) subordinate organizations worldwide. Phased funding was provided for the minicomputer network based on the business requirements of the customers using this service. However, the minicomputer network did not address the need to allow a single terminal device to access all minicomputer and mainframe computer resources.
In the late 1980s, the Arsenal migrated to a single local area network (UniLAN) capable of accessing all computer resources and providing a broadband for audio-video applications. Funding was provided by the Defense Ammunition System Project to meet the Arsenal’s business requirements. By using existing cabling to the minicomputer rooms in the 22 buildings, transition to the UniLAN was simplified and accelerated. The UniLAN provided data services to 12,000 host computers/terminal devices, Desktop Video services across AMCCOM sites, and Closed Circuit Television. However, the power of the PC changed the computer environment to a network centric environment, requiring very significant changes to the network services.
The Personal Computer Local Area Network (PC-LAN) Project began in 1991 and addressed the customers’ growing network needs. The goals of the project were to provide a client/server environment for sharing software, data, and printing capability; provide the necessary networks to deliver required information to individual desktops; and ensure a flexible architecture taking RIA into the 21st Century. The 1992 to1996 PC-LAN Project phases consisted of:
Phase 1 An Island network backbone: The dual fiber optic network backbone was implemented in 1992, providing a redundant 100 Mb/sec service between Island buildings.
Phase 2 Network services: Installation of new building cabling and network hubs allowed transmission speed to desktops to increase to 10 Mb/sec from the previous 9600 baud using the Fiber Data Distributed Interface and Ethernet connectivity to the desktop; new class-5 wire was required in all of the Island buildings.
Phase 3 Fileserver services: Local services were provided to 100 to 250 customers for shared software, data, and printing services. The combined network and software provided improved computer access, client/server data access services, and access to all DOD and Private Sector information.
Phase 4 Software standards and Windows migration: Implementation of server software reduced software licences, improved installation software standardization, and allowed for a complete migration to a Windows Graphical User Interface (GUI).
Phase 5 Applications Development: With the client/server and GUI environment, new applications were re- engineered to provide improved applications services.
Phase 6 Elimination of obsolete systems: The original minicomputer LAN, the UniLAN, and DOS software were eliminated allowing support services to be concentrated on the PC-LAN environment.
RIA continues to evolve the network to meet the needs of its many Army and DOD tenant organizations. The RIA Multimedia Network was key in attracting new tenant organizations such as the Civilian Personnel Regional Operations Center, and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service to Rock Island. RIA customer appetite for network services continued to grow, and resulted in the following FY96 and FY97 network projects: modernization of mobile data access capabilities; upgrading of audio conferencing systems; installation of an upgraded Integrated Services Digital Network providing Desktop Video capable of communicating worldwide; and migration to an Asynchronous Transfer Media Campus Network providing 155 Mb/sec services for increasing multimedia applications.
The evolving RIA multimedia network enables organizations to improve their business processes. Processes such as the customer-developed Soldier Support Network, on-line job announcements, and worldwide desktop video conferencing are a few examples of how the customers have used technology to improve their business. RIA’s teaming and a modular funding/implementation approach have promoted standard, evolving multimedia network services for all local and remote RIA customers.
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