Yongsan is latest beneficiary of Army's Internet access improvements
December 19, 2003
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Blazing-fast Internet service is on the way when the post switches to a fiber-optic computer network in February, part of a massive worldwide overhaul of the Army’s computer systems, officials said Wednesday.
“We’re hoping they notice a marked improvement in network responsiveness,” Charlie Hink, lead project manager, said of the Army’s computer systems users.
About 95 percent of the work has been completed at Yongsan Garrison, Camp Red Cloud and Camp Stanley, top priority for Installation Information Infrastructure Modernization Program Pacific. The $250 million project, led by contractors General Dynamics and Lucent Technologies, targeted 38 bases in South Korea and 12 in Japan and Okinawa.
The plan involves replacing copper lines with fiber-optic cables and modern switching stations that will allow for 100-megabit data transfers, Hink said.
The current system runs at a fraction of that capacity, said Andy Lamb, communications specialist with the 1st Signal Brigade. The higher capacity will allow for better inventory tracking, video teleconferencing, distance learning and paperless contracting, he said.
The fiber-optic networks established at bases are aimed at command and battalion-level buildings with some company-level structures. However, the underground system has enough capacity for other buildings to tack on to it by splicing into the system, Hink said.
At Yongsan, the fiber-optic cables were laid as the post underwent an electrical system upgrade. Lines were laid in concrete conduits. In the past, many copper lines simply were covered by dirt and labeled with above-ground markers, Lamb said.
The post’s computer system will be switched incrementally to the new lines; the transfer should be completed by February, he said, adding that the switch will occur during off-peak hours to minimize disruptions.
“We expect very little downtime for our customers,” Lamb said.
The upgrade originally was planned for most U.S. camps in South Korea. Many base installations have been put on hold, however, because of land-return agreements with South Korea’s government. Lamb said decisions will be made next year on whether to upgrade camps Howze, Stanton, Sears, Essayons, Edwards, Kyle, Gary Owens, LaGuardia, Long, Colbern, Falling Water, Nimble, Market, Greaves and Giant.
Many of those are 2nd Infantry Division camps. The United States agreed earlier this year to consolidate them into hubs located at camps Red Cloud and Casey, although no consolidation timetable has been set. Eventually, the division will be moved south of the Han River, the two sides have agreed.