Unified Network Phase I and II






Flint Waters, State Chief Information Officer




Unified Network Phase I and II




October 29, 2013




Tony Young, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the Governor


At the request of the chairpersons of the Select Committee on Legislative Technology and Process, the Department of Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) is providing an update on the progress related to the Unified Network.

Unified Network

Simply put, the Unified Network project is about leveraging the State’s education and government broadband demands to promote the growth of capacity for all of Wyoming and enhance private investment in broadband infrastructure without fear of the State as competition. We are a customer working alongside communities and businesses to justify future infrastructure enhancements by private businesses with an opportunity for return on investment from the over 800 State sites.

It is NOT about the State bypassing industry or building its own fiber. In the limited area where we needed fiber, we leased from our partners (Figure 1). In the limited area where the State owns fiber, we are discussing how to best leverage it without further builds. In the areas where we need connections between core cities, we will contract with our private partners to ride on their bandwidth.

Figure 1

Phase I Success Criteria:

  • Get ethernet technology in EVERY county in Wyoming

  • Get all districts on high speed, scalable ethernet connections

  • Get ethernet technology to every school where it is economically feasible

  • Enhance partnership with UW by joining the BiSON Ring

  • Extend research access to Internet2 and the National LambdaRail

  • Connect to Front Range Gigapop to peer with partners like Google

Phase II Success Criteria:

  • Create redundant 100Gb ring for reliable high speed network support

  • Remove single point of failure in Cheyenne

  • Remove choke point for capacity currently holding back schools and agencies

  • Enhance abilities to deploy IPv6 and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

  • Provide secure connections to private data centers within Wyoming, but only while they are serving schools and agencies

  • Provide schools with the ability to partner with Wyoming companies to streamline IT for advanced innovation and savings

Work on the Unified Network is well underway. Phase I began July 1, 2013, as the State began new negotiations and contracts on individual circuits with multiple service providers. Through these new contracts the State has increased the average per-student capacity by over 700% while staying under budget.
ETS is presenting an enhanced network design as part of the FY 2015-16 Biennium Budget request, proposing to substantially upgrade the capabilities for Wyoming through enhanced partnerships with vendors, migration to the latest technologies (IPv6) and redundant paths of sustainable support offering the greatest possible security and business value. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) communication protocols, technologies and transmission techniques can also be delivered over this network.
Phase I is expected to be completed around February 28, 2014, while phase 2 is expected to begin upon legislative approval with a goal of completion by August 30, 2015.

The proposed budget for the Unified Network is approximately $16 million in a one time ask. It should be noted the enhancements to the Unified Network are intended to raise the capacity and scalability across the State with identified impact on annual support costs.

Phase I has been made possible through a change in the contract vehicle used to obtain broadband services throughout Wyoming. In the past, the State has used a single contract for providing broadband to the schools throughout Wyoming. Our new approach allows us to contract with each vendor in Wyoming to:

  • Get the best possible services in each community

  • Partner with communities at the grassroots level as anchor tenants justifying new builds by our private companies

  • Adopt the latest network technologies from each vendor allowing independent advancements between the State and our partners

  • Optimize contract life cycles to get the best value pricing (term pricing over month-to- month)

Phase I Timeline
Begin phased implementation of core network infrastructure.

  • The process of selecting the physical location of aggregation points for phase 1 is underway with collective community college, school district and State agency representation on the Unified Network Steering Committee. Options are being investigated for locations in Torrington, Douglas and Rawlins. The University of Wyoming will follow as the aggregation point in Laramie. Other aggregation locations will be selected after the core city has been decided for that region to better identify the needs for that specific location and make informed decisions with latest information.

  • Connect to the Bi-State Optical Network (BiSON) ring through the University of Wyoming to enhance our ability to serve Laramie and to peer with Google through the Front Range GigaPop (interconnectivity to high-performance research and education networks).

  • A selection matrix for selecting aggregation locations has been created. This list will be reviewed by the Unified Network Steering Committee in order to add a weight criteria mechanism that will be used when evaluating locations.

Phase 2 Perspective Timeline
Continue phased implementation of key infrastructure.

  • Build out of core locations in Sheridan, Basin, Casper, Riverton, Jackson and Rock Springs.

  • Since the traffic will be delivered between the cores by our private partners, a request for proposal or bid request will be released for layer two lease lines between hub locations. These lines are intended to be 10 to 100 Gigabit (Gb).

  • Place our equipment at aggregate points serving every region.

  • Phase migration of end run circuits from Cheyenne to aggregate points.

  • Finalizing the firewall vendor and placement of security devices.

A third party architecture review is planned to occur in late 2013. ETS is investigating firms providing this type of service and associated costs. The goal would be to gain a hardware agnostic technical review, and identify gaps and opportunities. Doing so, would allow ETS to be better equipped to adjust architecture, address gaps and reduce costs where appropriate.
An updated engineering document draft has been presented to and reviewed with the Unified Network Steering Committee. ETS is in the process of scheduling technical breakout discussions between project leads and steering committee members. An initial meeting was scheduled with the Department of Game and Fish in mid-September and one will be scheduled with the Department of Transportation in the near future.
ETS has awarded a bid for fiber connectivity from the Herschler building to the
NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC). This connection is intended to supplement our existing fiber connection between the State and the University of Wyoming. It will also provide a redundant route to partner with UW in connection to the Front Range Gigapop in Denver.

Once connected by a redundant ring to Denver, the State will be able to participate in Internet2 and the National LambdaRail. Wyoming will also be able to increase its Internet connectivity by partnering with providers at the Gigapop in addition to our current partners. The University of Wyoming has been using this service and has not had an Internet outage in over five (5) years.
Several Point to Point (P2P) wireless units have been deployed for testing in various locations with promising test results. As ETS continues to make progress in the development of the Unified Network, additional testing and evaluation will be required before other specific architecture decisions are made. This technology is being assessed for broadband connectivity where construction is difficult and to provide backup or emergency connectivity due to accidental fiber cuts.