Four Ways Fiber Optic Infrastructure Improves Security and Network Capacity for Federal Government Facilities | Corning

4 Ways Fiber Optic Infrastructure Improves Security and Network Capacity for Federal Government Facilities

By Brandt May
Published: May 11, 2023

When it comes to maintaining critical networks for the federal government, reliable connectivity is paramount. To protect the systems that keep the country running and safe, it’s vital for networks to be built upon a solid, dependable infrastructure to enable system integrity, security, and longevity.

Here are a few reasons government facilities should choose a modern fiber optic infrastructure:

1. Capacity for the Future

We’re currently in a period of torrid technological advancement. New network and compute-intensive applications like artificial intelligence and machine learning are unlocking new possibilities in every sector, including the government sector. These new-age technologies require unprecedented amounts of network bandwidth, pushing copper-based networks to their limits.

For government facilities like military bases and Veterans Affairs hospitals, keeping networks online is crucial. Extended downtime from infrastructure installations and adjustments is particularly problematic for logistical and security reasons. Rather than upgrading to higher bandwidth copper-based cabling, which will inevitably need to be replaced again in a matter of years, government facilities should consider installing a Fiber to the Edge (FTTE) network that can provide secure high-bandwidth connectivity from end-to-end. Ultimately, FTTE solutions can reduce installation time, lower the total cost of ownership, and enable easier network moves, adds, and changes as bandwidth needs evolve. These are particularly important benefits for facilities that must remain agile for security purposes.

2. Faster Insights into Integrity

Understandably, there are strict integrity standards for federal agency networks as they are a hub of sensitive data. A network’s integrity, scalability, and adaptability are critical attributes for all federal agencies, especially for departments that execute essential functions that keep our nation safe. That’s why, the Department of Defense has added Corning’s state-of-the-art Software-Defined Local Area Network portfolio (SD-LAN) to the DOD approved products list. With Corning’s SD-LAN portfolio, agencies can rely on secure low-latency solutions that can evolve as agency network needs expand.

Additionally, the Committee on National Security Systems is another standard-setting entity that establishes compliance mandates for perimeter security and communications systems. With a fiber infrastructure, security teams can efficiently satisfy these mandates by installing monitoring devices that notify operators if there are any attempts to tamper with the cabling, or if there’s any accidental damage disrupting connectivity.

3. Higher Resistance to Interference

Network security in secure government facilities extends beyond cyberattacks. In addition to its other drawbacks, copper-based legacy cabling is vulnerable to electromagnetic interference (EMI), which is noise that can be induced into cabling by nearby electrical devices that can disrupt the transmission of signals. Copper cabling requires shielding to offset the effects of EMI and reduce the potential of malicious tapping; making the cabling infrastructure more expensive and harder to install.

Fiber optic cabling is inherently more secure than copper. With immunity to EMI, as well as other interference like crosstalk, fiber ensures network integrity by making the potential of interference significantly lower. Further, fiber is far more difficult for hackers to physically tap into than copper ethernet cables, which simply require a quick cable splice. These factors make fiber the far more secure choice for sensitive data transmission in high security facilities.

4. Simplified Connection Security

Corning offers a range of fiber products specifically designed for high-security government applications. Within some types of government facilities, there can be up to a dozen different network classifications, ranging from unclassified to secret and top secret. The federal government has a mandate on the clear labeling of connectors in these applications. Corning’s Secure Solutions product set meets this mandate with 12 different connector colors that can be assigned to specific classification levels, making it easier for network administrators to distinguish between them. This simple feature prevents users from accidentally making connections to the wrong network that could lead to the compromise of sensitive information and allows for swifter identification of any effort to breach security.

For the most demanding environments, the Secure Solutions set also comes with optional keyed connectors that have unique patterning, preventing the plugging of an unclassed jumper or patch cable into a secret or top-secret outlet.

Additionally, Corning’s Multiclassification Mesh Solution conveniently consolidates multiple disparate security enclave cables into one cable, which can be connected to a workstation while maintaining network and classification separation. This solution reduces cabling to the user by up to 75% while mitigating potential errors and information security risk.

Corning’s product portfolio is continuously expanding to meet the emerging needs of the federal government based on feedback from its various departments and agencies.

The End-To-End Advantage

Corning simplifies the process of procuring, installing, and maintaining fiber infrastructure for the federal government by offering a comprehensive end-to-end solution. Rather than piecing together a system from various manufacturers, customers can get everything they need to build a future-ready, high-security infrastructure directly from one source.

Further easing the process, Corning houses a dedicated federal government fiber sales team that understands the complexities of federal systems, networks, and procedures in the federal government realm. Corning can offer government customers a turnkey proposal process: based on individual project needs, Corning engineers can produce a complete bill of materials with spec sheets for submittals. In addition, if the products are installed by a Corning-certified contractor, the installation is covered by a 25-year warranty—adding an extra layer of confidence for customers in the challenging market sector.

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Keith Martin with Corning Optical Communications

Brandt May
is the Federal Business Development Manager at Corning Optical Communications. He has 21 years of experience with Corning and leads the strategy, vision, and initiatives for Corning’s Federal Sales Team. 

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