USA and Canada Collaborate on the Internet Protocol Transport Project
May 18, 2021 - Defence Stories
As part of the Combined Defense Information Management Panel, Canada and the United States (U.S.) have partnered on the Transport Network (CANUSTN) Internet Protocol (IP) Trunk Initiative.
Through the CANUSTN initiative, the U.S. and Canada have developed cross-border IP Transport connections.
Tech talk translated - Internet Protocol (IP) and IP Transport
Internet Protocol is the method for getting data across networks.
Imagine the internet as a system of highways and roads, the data is a truck and the IP is the GPS. The GPS tells the truck its destination and the best route to take to get there.
IP transport is how data is transported virtually from one place to another. IP Transport is the highway that the truck takes to its destination after checking the GPS.
Before the CANUSTN initiative, both countries used legacy analog infrastructure with individual Point-to-Point circuit networks for communications.
The legacy Point-to-Point circuit networks are like the small country dirt roads, and IP transport connections are the newly paved six lane highways.
What does this mean for the U.S. and Canada?
By leveraging emerging IP transport technology, Canada and the U.S. replaced many outdated physical circuit networks with fewer, more modern virtual IP transport tunnels. Essentially, the two countries consolidated the small dirt roads into big highways. This improvement modernizes how both countries communicate with each other.
The CANUSTN initiative saves both countries time and money, but also:
- Enables greater flexibility;
- Increases network survivability through alternate network paths; Provides larger data capacity; and
- Allows for greater collaborative opportunities between the two countries, including North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) missions.
With Partnership comes Interdependency
Imagine big virtual highways spanning between the two nations; CANUSTN operations create new interdependencies between the U.S and Canada, further combining their interests. To ensure an effective partnership, both allies require quick and consistent cooperation in case of any unplanned service interruptions or incidents.
Incident Coordination and Management TTX
In the early stages of the CANUSTN initiative, DND/CAF representatives proposed a series of Table Top Exercises (TTXs) for the Incident Coordination and Management process.
A TTX is a discussion exercise to align ideas, policies, agreements and procedures.
The main goal of the Incident Coordination and Management process is to restore operations as quickly as possible after an incident. The process minimizes capability outages for DND/CAF, for work such as NORAD support to deployed operations, strategic and operational planning, and more.
The Incident Coordination and Management process also:
- Minimizes business disruption;
- Minimizes operational impacts;
- Standardizes procedures for reporting and managing incidents; and
- Provides support resources for resolution.
Having used the TTX concept for other initiatives, Canadian representatives were able to leverage that experience to benefit CANUSTN. Shared Services Canada (SSC), DND/CAF, and U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) personnel have already performed a series of detailed TTXs. The constructive discussions that identified and solved potential issues highlight the outstanding collaboration and greater flexibility for work between our partner organizations and allies. Bravo Zulu!
These Table Top Exercises and the CANUSTN initiative are great examples of a rewarding collaboration, which strengthens our multilateral Canada/U.S. relationships with Shared Services Canada, U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency, North American Aerospace Defense Command, and other partners.
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