Ramstein tests new wireless equipment

Tech. Sgt. Timothy Dixon
U.S. Air Forces in Europe Directorate of Communications and Information

***image1******image2***Col. Steven Spano, the Head-quarters United States Air Forces in Europe director of Communications and Information, recently identified Ramstein as the command’s proving grounds for wireless network implementation.
True to its reputation, team Ramstein is blazing the trail for others to follow. Wireless computer networking technology is a relatively new capability that now provides an inexpensive and flexible method of extending traditional computer networks beyond reach of the cable jack in a wall.
Key features of this technology are its easy setup, an ability to provide network access for a large area and the fact it is a smaller, lighter and less expensive alternative to traditional wired networks. However, as with any new technology there are limitations, such as lower data speeds and potential security vulnerabilities if not implemented correctly.
Most recently, Ramstein successfully implemented a wireless computer network solution to support the Combat Air Forces/Mobility Air Forces conference.
Communicators from USAFE directorate of Communications and Information and the 435th Communications Group partnered with contractors to install a robust wireless network throughout the conference facility and billeting.
This provided continuous Internet access to over 40 general officers and their staffs at a fraction of the cost and time it would have taken to provide a “wired” solution. This enabled attendees to reach back to their home station just as if they were sitting in their office, while operating their laptop computers from anywhere within the range of the wireless network.
The successful implementation of the network system hit a home run with senior leaders and validated the need for widespread use of this technology throughout the Air Force.
Wireless computer networks are already riding the airwaves in support of many military operations both in-garrison and on the front-line.
Current uses include providing network access to support personnel who are always on the move, between our flight lines, back-shops and warehouses, tracking supply inventories and maintenance status.
Additionally, this technology is being evaluated for use in theater deployable communications packages as a quick and easy setup for an initial communications network to support forward operating locations.
As wireless computer networks begin to appear in a limited capacity across the Air Force, USAFE C and I is diligently working with other major commands and the Air Staff to provide a standard solution that supports all customers, whether in the office, at billeting, the flight line or just traveling from one building to the next.
Wireless technology is a unique capability that takes network user services a step closer to providing continuous access from any location.
Taking advantage of this technology to provide every Airman access to the information is a primary goal of USAFE communicators.