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Gigabit Ethernet goes to war.

Byline: (Staff)

The US Navy continued to ramp up network power this week by signing Boeing to a five-year, $42.9 million to upgrade and support the Gigabit Ethernet networks it is building on its guided missile destroyers. <p>The Navy's Gigabit Ethernet Data Multiplex System (GEDMS) upgrades the current 100Mbps fiber-based backbone network to a 1Gbs redundant Ethernet mesh, bringing enhanced multimedia capability to the ships, the Navy said. <p>The GEDMS is the heart and soul of the guided missile ships and basically handles ship-wide data transfers and supports navigation, combat, alarm and indicating, and damage control systems. It also is the underlying communications mechanism for the Aegis missile system which uses a system of radars to track and destroy targets. <p>According to the Navy, GEDMS was designed to replace the miles of point-to-point cabling, signal converters, junction boxes, and switchboards associated with conventional ship's cabling. <p>While it is the largest contract awarded so far, this latest contract is merely a continuation of work Boeing has been handling since 2007 to upgrade the Navy's ship-based networks. For example, it was the contractor with the fiber upgrade in 2007 that cost $7 million. In 2008 it got another $5.4 million to continue the work. <p>Ultimately such deals are all part of the Navy's efforts to modernize what it calls DDG-51 class guided missile destroyers.<p>"This flexible, cost-effective network provides optimal shipboard control and provides the Navy with a system architecture that allows ships to introduce network-centric control systems gracefully and with minimal risk, because the migration does not necessitate wholesale replacement of equipment" said Jay Nieto, Boeing GEDMS program manager in a release. <p>Gigabit Ethernet in general is high on the military's list of technologies to deploy. In fact a roadmap about one of its most high-profile systems, unmanned aircraft, states that Gigabit Ethernet and the adoption of other standardized communications equipment will be paramount for future development. <p>Of course the military isn't the only group bumping up Ethernet's status. NASA in April signed an agreement with a German Ethernet vendor to build highly fault-tolerant networks for space-based applications.

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Publication:Network World Middle East
Date:Jul 9, 2009
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