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NCIA modernises NATO's core communications infrastructure

The NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCIA) completed the modernisation of NATO's core infrastructure in January, the NCIA announced on 16 March.

Andreas Hutzenlaub, acting chief of Network Services and IT Infrastructure at NCIA, informed Janes on 17 March that the agency worked with British Telecom (BT) to upgrade NATO's communication network.

The upgrades, which started on 18 April 2021 and were completed on 19 January 2022, involved updating the vast majority of NATO's core networks, including data-centre replication, email exchange, real-time applications such as voice and video teleconferencing, colour cloud data services exchange etc, Hutzenlaub said.

The company also uplifted the capacity, resiliency, security, and performance of NATO‘s systems across its three core locations, Hutzenlaub noted.

According to the announcement, NATO now has an upgraded high-speed core network, which is capable of handling a ten-fold increase in capacity.

BT and the NCIA carried out extensive testing, looking at design, topology verification; service assurance and security validation; resilience, performance, and capacity validation. Testing initially started in July 2021 and finished in January 2022, Hutzenlaub said.

According to the announcement, this project will pave the way for further network upgrades at 75 additional NATO sites, helping to create a modern, secure, robust, high-speed, and interoperable network.

Dimitrios Chatziamanetoglou, senior service delivery manager of Transmission Services at NCIA, said on 16 March that “these upgrades are instrumental. They allow us to provide a network that is future-proofed for the increasing bandwidth requirements of NATO”.

In March 2012 BT signed a five-year GBP39 million (USD51 million) agreement with NATO to provide network services to the alliance. The contract involved the migration of NATO's existing network to BT Ethernet Connect – a virtual private network intended for large organisations.

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