Mahlet Consulting, Inc was tasked to work with the engineering of DC Net, the government network provider for Washington DC's Office of the Chief Technology Officer, to support development of the next generation expansion of their Optical and Data Transport infrastructure. DC-Net is a metropolitan area network that requires a secure, high-speed, resilient method of transport. They had some unique requirements both because they are a public service organization and because they were expending funds received under the Department of Commerce run Stimulus program. The requirement was to have the telecommunication infrastructure be able to reach as many of the digitally disadvantaged population such that last mile providers could be persuaded to offer services to these communities and also enable community anchors to facilitate bridging of this divide.
The main reason Mahlet Consulting, Inc was brought on board was to help design an optical infrastructure that was resilient and optimized to provide a foundation for enabling the goal of the project. Our primary involvement was helping the understanding of our customer's service needs, which encompassed a broad spectrum (video and web conferencing, call centers, data service centers, to name a few) and proposing the latest in technological solutions that would meet those needs now and in the future. We helped define what services would be deemed necessary, how do we categorize these services, what would be the interface to the customer, how would we measure the service performance. These requirements were translated into a network architecture which took advantage of the Districts unique ability to access any and all overhead and underground facilities which could be used to interconnect key sites. The architecture created a tiered network from the access space, areas defined as service aggregation or concentration and finally what is known as core or mega sites. At each stage the architecture implemented the requirement for service delivery, high availability and robust infrastructure which could meet both the needs of today and can grow to accommodate the requirements of tomorrow.
Through our optical architecture services, we evaluated multiple vendor solution which utilized WDM, SONET, SDH Ethernet and Intelligent Optical Switching. Keeping in mind the three core requirements, we included Forward Error Correction (FEC), signal multiplexing, resilient Ethernet overlay, encryption and intrusion detection in our solution. We helped our customer conduct an extensive Request for Proposal, conduct a lab and field trial and finally select the best solution based on and independent value assessment. The infrastructure we helped put in place is currently providing services that exceed both the customers expectation, and also has won recognition from DC-Net, has won the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) 2010 Community Broadband Fiber Network of the Year for its performance and efficiency.