Ellsworth AFB Upgrades Telecommunication Infrastructure, Prepares for Future

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Quentin Marx
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

A team of 28th Communications Squadron personnel and volunteers from across the 28th Bomb Wing worked to fully upgrade the base telecommunications infrastructure, and completed the system overhaul this summer.

“The major change was the system itself; we upgraded a system that the base installed back in 2008 and was nearly a 15-year-old land line,” said Rick Davis, 28th Communications Squadron telecommunications specialist. “We upgraded everything to an Internet Protocol connected system, getting rid of the Time Domain Multiplexing technology we used to have.”

Time Domain Multiplexing technology requires a dedicated set of wires from the telephone to a switch in the Central Office of the 28th Communications Squadron, and then all the way to the customer’s desktop. With IP Ellsworth’s phones now use the internet, which uses the same wiring and network for both voice and data traffic.

“It took about eight months to upgrade the old system, and with any system that is 15 years old it will start to shut down, and when you have no reliable way to get these parts it becomes a liability for the base,” said Davis. “During the eight months we upgraded the old servers while keeping the legacy equipment connected, then we connected the remote cabinets to the servers and reused the old fiber optic cables for other missions.”  

About 25 volunteers assisted with the upgrade, and recycling parts of the previous infrastructure for reuse saved tax payers approximately $2 million.

“Completing this project gave us a great feeling of accomplishment,” said Chris Gleason, 28th Communications Squadron manager. “The majority of our customers weren't even aware we were doing an upgrade and we completed the project without any service interruptions and now have a system that is completely reliable.”

The upgrade creates a more stable network, enhances command and control capabilities, and improves day-to-day operations at Ellsworth, ensuring the 28th Bomb Wing is always ready to answer our nation’s call.