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YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Yokota’s outdated computer network is getting a tuneup in an estimated $2 million overhaul that also will replace the “global” e-mail system with new software and servers.

Technicians have begun refreshing the base’s nonclassified Internet protocol router network, or NIPRNET, used by the government to transmit information not considered sensitive. At the same time, Pacific Air Forces engineers will install an e-mail program called Exchange 2003 at all of their installations.

The 374th Communications Squadron hopes to have all the upgrades in place at Yokota by mid-August, according to Capt. Brian Oldenburg, the base’s information systems flight commander.

“Technicians are upgrading the outdated backbone hardware to modern, more powerful hardware” and converting the connectivity from broadband switching and transmission technology to Gigabit Ethernet, Oldenburg said. “The upgrades are needed to improve the network capabilities for Yokota.”

The new routers and switches for Yokota’s network distribution points, which facilitate Internet and network connections, are necessary because most buildings on base are wired with older hardware, he added. That limits the amount of information computers can handle.

All PACAF bases are expected to receive the infrastructure improvements. Northrop Grumman is helping with installation.

The hardware already has been installed at Yokota, Oldenburg said. Once connections are tested, base units will be transferred to the new backbone.

Meanwhile, Yokota’s six e-mail servers are being replaced and software swapped out in favor of Exchange 2003, the latest version. Current components are up to seven years old.

The e-mail upgrade alone will cost PACAF about $500,000, Oldenburg said.

“The global address list has been migrated to new software and servers in preparation for the e-mail server migration,” he said. “We still need to load the new e-mail servers with the software and move all the e-mail boxes to the new servers, which should be seamless to the users.”

The new operating system also should enhance dependability within the “global” e-mail network, he said.

The upgrade affects only users of the global e-mail system, who have addresses ending in “yokota.” None of the work affects personal computer Internet functions in housing areas.

Much of the work is to take place during off-hours, so it isn’t expected to impact computer use or operations in the interim. To minimize downtime, however, workgroup managers are being asked to expedite verification by making themselves available when the switch is flipped inside each building.

Anyone experiencing connection problems immediately after a network transfer should try to reboot his or her computer, Oldenburg said. If the problem persists, call DSN 225-8699.

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