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The Military United States

CenturyLink Providing DoD's Equivalent of Internet2 69

Nerval's Lobster writes "Network provider CenturyLink has won a $750 million contract from the Department of Defense to network the latter's sites together as part of the military equivalent of Internet2. The contract calls for CenturyLink to connect as many as 150 DoD locations nationwide with a dedicated high-speed fiber-optic network, with speeds ranging from 50 Mbits/s to up to 100 Gbits/sec. Given that the contract also calls for the telco to deploy Ethernet, IP and optical services, it's likely that the 50-Mbits/s threshold is a per-user basis, with site-to-site communications in the gigabit range. It's all part of the U.S. Department of Defense's High Performance Computing Modernization Program (DoD HPCMP), which aims to solve complicated and time-consuming problems with massively-parallel computing and very high-speed networking. The HPCMP program was formed in 1992, with the aim of connecting what had been separate facilities and test labs developed and maintained by the Army, Navy, and Air Force. That network is known as the Defense Research and Engineering Network (DREN) network, which currently uses an OC-48 optical network providing 2.4 Gbit/s between facilities, according to the military."
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CenturyLink Providing DoD's Equivalent of Internet2

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  • And all I get is 1.5mbps DSL because they are still using ancient copper out in my neck of the woods. C'mon... PLEASE.

    • by VortexCortex ( 1117377 ) <.moc.edargorter- ... . .xetroCxetroV.> on Friday April 26, 2013 @03:29AM (#43553369)

      And all I get is 1.5mbps DSL because they are still using ancient copper out in my neck of the woods. C'mon... PLEASE.

      They are trying to Link you with the technology of the Century!
      They just prefer a different set of decades than you do.

    • by funkboy ( 71672 ) on Friday April 26, 2013 @04:01AM (#43553577) Homepage

      And all I get is 1.5mbps DSL because they are still using ancient copper out in my neck of the woods. C'mon... PLEASE.

      There's nothing wrong with copper or its age. You're too far from the CO.

      If competitive carriers like CenturyLink had access to facilities that THE PUBLIC PAID FOR that now belong to Verizon et. al. they could put gear in the patch cabinets much closer to their subscribers (this is known as FTTC). In the UK there are several carriers using VDSL2 technology to provide 80mbps down/20mbps up service over "ancient copper" for a little more than the price of a normal DSL line, because their gear is only 300m from the subscriber in the neighborhood patch cabinet.

      But the US Congress repealed the legislation requiring incumbents to allow acces to their facilities in 2005, so the end result is that the broadband situation in the US for most folks is:
        - Incumbent DSL that isn't faster than it was 10 years ago
        - Cable
        - If you're very lucky, fibre

      • When the copper wire literally disintegrates in the hand of the tech looking at it there's a problem. I had centurylink for years in my apt complex, there were times they literally ignored my support calls as soon as they found out there wasn't a competing ISP. Along with half the complex I jumped ship to the first non-shit provider that showed up... $140ish a month for TV, phone, and a 10/3. Still cheaper than what I used to pay for 3m/600k and POTS.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          but that is not the copper going to the building that is the copper IN the building.. that is not centurylinks problem... that is your apt complex problem.. learn a little bit and then you can correctly blame the proper person and actually get it fixed.. me I'm stuck on cable.. I would love to switch off of comcast, but I am too far from a CO and can only get 1.5mps... now where I use to live I was 100m in actual cable feet from the CO and I use to get insane speeds

          • No it was the copper outside going TO the buildings and even outside the apt complex. I know exactly who to blame because they've bragged about it being their copper many times when I tried to get competition in the place.

      • by cawpin ( 875453 )

        If competitive carriers like CenturyLink...

        LOL, that's funny. CenturyLink, AKA Qwest, is one of the worst companies in the US. They are also THE worst I've ever dealt with.

      • by rwyoder ( 759998 )

        And all I get is 1.5mbps DSL because they are still using ancient copper out in my neck of the woods. C'mon... PLEASE.

        There's nothing wrong with copper or its age. You're too far from the CO.

        I'm just 2500' from the CO, and the best they offer me is 7Mbs. So after having CenturyLink/Qwest DSL service for over 10 years, I switched to Comcast and now get 22Mbs *and* native IPv6 for less than I was paying 1.5 Mbs DSL.

      • by Shatrat ( 855151 )

        If competitive carriers like CenturyLink had access to facilities

        Centurylink is an Incumbent (ILEC), not a Competitive carrier (CLEC). They have CLEC business units and sales groups for inter-lata Long Distance type deals, such as the one in the article, but DSL, voice, T1s, those are all their bread and butter. And, they're still required to lease voice, T1, T3 and other standard services at standard tariffs. Citation needed on the 2005 thing, CLECs are alive and well and generally making more money than the ILECs.

      • If competitive carriers like CenturyLink had access to facilities that THE PUBLIC PAID FOR that now belong to Verizon et. al. ...

        In Denver (and most of the interior West) CenturyLink is the incumbent carrier, since they bought out Qwest a couple of years ago. Amazingly, having a "competitive carrier" has not led to upgrades in our service.

    • I live rural and CenturyLink has a complete monopoly in this area.

      I had dialup through CenturyLink until 2006, because every time I asked them about their DSL service I received the same bull about being in an extended service area and how the performance to my address would degrade. Shortly before it became impossible to get a tech to your address any more (they ship replacement hardware by UPS, etc.), I talked to the guy that was maintaining our lines (the same guy who responded to every service call her

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Ha, I cannot get any DSL in my home area because I am about 20K feet away from CO. Also, Verizon has FIOS in my city, but not in my neighborhood!! :(

  • If the military's current network gets 2.4Gb/sec, I wonder how Google Fiber is offering 1Gb/sec to end users for such a low rate? How are they getting all this data to the backbone, and how are they actually getting 1Gb/sec to these people? Are they just touting the interface speed knowing that it won't be utilized to just scare the larger ISPs and manipulate the market?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 26, 2013 @03:05AM (#43553255)

      2.4Gbit/sec used to be a big deal, now it is not

      The backbones are all 100+Gbit/sec (often 10x10Gbit/sec or multiple 40Gbit/sec interfaces)

      My business routinely moves 20-30Gbit/sec of data around the internet (video streaming) and during large events, we can do 100Gbit/sec for a few hours.

    • by funkboy ( 71672 )

      Because your home network isn't plugged into $100K+ routers with the military's availability SLAs.

    • Once upon a time the militry classes PGP as a weapon "US export regulations regarding cryptography remain in force, but were liberalized substantially throughout the late 1990s. Since 2000, compliance with the regulations is also much easier. PGP encryption no longer meets the definition of a non-exportable weapon, and can be exported internationally except to seven specific countries and a list of named groups and individuals[14] (with whom substantially all US trade is prohibited under various US export c
    • Well, the ROI has to include kickbacks...

    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Friday April 26, 2013 @07:08AM (#43554321)

      So first off, there are different kinds of fiber. The FTTH stuff you tend to see is PON, passive optical network. You can look on Wikipedia for a pretty good article on the details but more or less it is a shared type of connection where everyone is on the same connection. A Point to multipoint kind of deal. Well, that costs less than doing direct point-to-point fiber as you see in backbones. The downside is, of course, you are all sharing the same bandwidth. If there's 100 people on one line you all share the bandwidth (via TDMA usually). Same basic idea as cable modems.

      The other thing then is oversubscribing the backhaul. When a provider gives you cheap 1 gpbs fiber, they aren't providing backhaul all the way up the chain to make sure you 1 gbps no matter what. They oversubscribe at every level. So say there's 100 people on your segment. That's 100:1 oversubscription right there. That then connects back to a datacenter and, say, 30 other segments connect to a switch, which has a 10 gbps uplink to the core. Now you are 3000:1. The core then only has so much out to the higher level of the network as so on.

      Now that works fine for users. If you've ever worked in a big office environment or university it is the same way. You might have gig to your desktop, then that switch with 24 people only has gig to the floor switch, which only has gig to the main switch, and then only a gig off to the Internet. However it still can be fast. Reason is that you don't all use your connections full bore all the time. You get some data, and then it sits idle. So long as people play nice and share, it can be fast despite the oversubscription and still be cheap.

      However that's a real cost difference than backbone lines. Taking something like the DoD's network where it is a dedicated OC-48 connection from each site back to some central infrastructure, and probably then larger lines between the different infrastructure sites, well that is a bunch more money.

      Now as someone pointed out the DoD's net is also outdated, but there are also real cost differences for different levels of service. Also shit gets more expensive in an exponential fashion as bandwidth goes up. Getting a switch fabric that handles a few gigabits of traffic is easy. You can get a lil' 24 port 10/100 switch for like $70. You want gig? Still pretty cheap, $180ish. Ok how about 10 gig? That's more like $8000 and it doesn't even have interfaces in it, you'll have to buy SPF+ units for each port. 100gig? I don't even know, those are the "call us for pricing" kinds of switches. Easily 6 figures or more for 24 ports.

      Gig technology is pretty cheap these days, so you can provide it to end users pretty cheap... so long as you do plenty of sharing on the backhaul.

      • by Shatrat ( 855151 )

        100gig? I don't even know, those are the "call us for pricing" kinds of switches

        I shouldn't give exact figures but I'm pretty familiar with 100Gig pricing. Let's just say, 100Gig short range optic = new motorcycle. 100Gig intermediate reach optic = new car. 100Gig DWDM optic = new luxury car.

      • by rthille ( 8526 )

        Please feel free to contact our sales guys if you're interested in fiber switches :-) []

  • Internet2? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Why is it called internet2 if they are only upgrading the cables?

    • I expect the title or brand Internet2 covers rather more than changing the cable "The Internet2 Project was originally established by 34 university researchers in 1996 under the auspices of EDUCOM (later EDUCAUSE), and was formally organized as the not-for-profit University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID) in 1997. It later changed its name to Internet2. Internet2 is a registered trademark.[16] The Internet2 consortium administrative headquarters is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with
    • Okay, from what I've read on the wikipedia pages:
      Internet2 [] is a consortium that runs a secondary internet network between 200 educational institutions on a fiber optic network (originally called abilene) but now provided by L3 communications. It's big thing when it started out was its very high capacity bandwidth and low latency allowing for rapid wide-band communication between supercomputer centers like UIUC and UCSD's supercomputing center and various CAVE [] environments were the demo toys of that er
  • What?! (Score:1, Redundant)

    100 Gbits/sec? Does that even exist?! What kind of hardware you need to achieve those speeds?!
  • Are they also going to require the DOD to buy a POTS network to go with their their data network an charge them for both?

  • Good luck with that, DOD. CenturyLink *sucks*.

  • The DREN network... Was I the only one that thought of Farscape when I read the name?

    • The DREN network... Was I the only one that thought of Farscape when I read the name?

      I thought of it, too.

      But it's not the DoD's fault that privatization of the Internet messed it up.

  • Oh man, we are so screwed!
    Lowest bidder, baby!
  • This is good news. Centurylink really needed this contract right now.

    After acquiring Qwest (formerly USWest) they found themselves with a lot of cable but not quite the subscription levels they needed to maintain their cash flow. At the time Qwest was also recovering from when their CEO Joseph Nacchio was caught cooking the books / insider trading.

    The Centurylink union workers' contracts have been being extended daily and weekly since they are up for renegotiating. This process has been going slow and t

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