Network upgrade = faster speed, no tickets

  • Published
  • By Frank McIntyre
  • Public Affairs
The internet highway for Team Vance will become a super highway next month when the base network is upgraded to use a much faster technology.
On Aug.12 and 13, the network will be down as technicians install new servers that incorporate the newest technology available.
"Technically speaking, we're switching to the gigabit ethernet that increases the data transfer rate from 622 megabytes per second to 2 gigabytes per second,." said Master Sgt. Jeffrey Simon, 71st Communication Squadron computer systems quality assurance evaluator. "For our base customers, this means data transfer will be four times faster."
Sergeant Simon said the increase now will only be on the local area network. The LAN transfers information, such as e-mail or internal web pages, only between computers on Vance Air Force Base. the main network, or Air Force Enterprise Network, sending or receiving information from off-base will continue to transfer data at the current rate because of restrictions within that network.
It may come as a surprise for users to learn the enterprise network used for off-base data transfer travels on fiber optic lines between Vance and Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., then to Randolph AFB, Texas, and finally to Gunter AFB, Ala., for processing. In other words, if a Team Vance member wants to search for a Web page using, as soon as the enter key is pushed that input makes the three-base trip before the requested site is contacted by the Gunter server, returned from that site's host server and actually loaded into a server at Gunter and sent back to the requesting user here.
It might be hard to imagine the system being much faster, but most users experience occasions when it is much slower, and at times, not responsive at all.
And typically the culprits for the slow or nonexistent response are the users, not the network itself.
If Mark Twain was still alive, he might comment on computer networks the same as he did on weather, "Everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything about it."
Actually, people do something about it. They call the help desk to complain -- "the system is down, my e-mail isn't working or I can't get a site to come up."
According to Wally Cox, Computer Sciences Corporation computer systems branch manager, the problem in most cases is space. There's never enough.
"Space on the network is limited, and right now, we are running out of it, both on the network shared drive and the drive where your e-mail is stored," said Mr. Cox. "But there is a solution. Our customers can help salvage these valuable resources by doing a little cleanup every now and then." (See tips box at right)
If the internet is a highway, it would seem it has the same hazards and problems that all highways have -- too much traffic and individual "drivers'" lack of courtesy to fellow travelers.
"There is a tremendous amount of traffic on the internet highway and, as with any trip, the traveler has responsibilities to help make the trip as smooth as possible," Sergeant Simon said.
"The faster transfer speeds won't overcome 'road blocks' created by too much traffic competing for the same space or 'road hogs' taking up more than their share of the storage space," he said.
So before powering up for a trip on the internet highway, check to ensure your "vehicle" is well prepared for the trip and you're not carrying excess baggage that may create hazards for other travelers.
(Editor's note: This is the second in a four-part series about small computers and their use on Vance Air Force Base.)