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USCG Uses 3Com Technology To Launch Virtual Private Networks

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is deploying Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) based on 3Com's wide area network (WAN) systems). 3Com, which secures high speed communications between shore facilities and vessels docked at port facilities around the world, uses VPN connections. These connections allow the agency to quickly transmit mission-critical and pertinent administrative information from its land-based location to ships at any port where USCG vessel dock.

The process, which was first utilized in June on the cutter Dependable, will soon be branched out to all of the USCG's 250-plus vessels. Based on 3Com's SuperStack II NetBuilder SI routers, the $1.1 million investment follows the implementation of the Standard Workstation III Local Area Network (LAN) Cabling Project that occurred last year. At that time, the agency introduced 3Com Fast Ethernet networks to its complete fleet, as well as many landbased facilities.

In addition to its high speed solution, the premier system is formatted to a tee of the specifications of the agency's Telecommunications and Information Systems Command (TISCOM) in Alexandria, Va. and is compatible with Microsoft Windows NT systems.

Working with TISCOM to understand the requirements of ship-to-shore connectivity, 3Com developed a solution via its proven VPN, which was equipped with all the USCG requirements. The two companies worked together in the simulation of the ship-to-shore and WAN environment at TISCOM with three SuperStack II NetBuilder SI routers demonstrating the routers' tunneling capabilities. Following, the USCG performed a successful live presentation on Dependable, which subsequently led to TISCOM's purchase of 3Com VPN systems.

Although ships currently must be docked for a VPN to be implemented, the USCG is looking into outlets for possible underway ship-to-shore connectivity and ship-to-ship VPN connections.




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