New mobile system boosts network capabilities at Fairchild
By Tech. Sgt. Vincent Appel, 92nd Communications Squadron
/ Published July 19, 2016
FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. (AFNS) -- Technicians at the 92nd Communications Squadron here have developed an innovative way to rapidly introduce network capabilities to customers who need network access quickly.
The Rapid Response Distribution Device, referred to as R2D2 by Airmen of the squadron’s network infrastructure shop, is the brainchild of Staff Sgt. Kazimier Buryn, a 92nd CS cyber-transport journeyman.
“It’s a mobile module we designed to be able to rapidly respond to any kind of additional network needs,” Buryn said. “The versatile R2D2 can be utilized to provide network access to up to 48 users in cases such as emergency response, temporary office relocations, visiting working groups and a myriad of other situations.”
According to Buryn, the R2D2 concept began during preparation for an exercise.
“Network infrastructure technicians were discussing how to increase network access to a building that normally didn’t support many users,” Buryn said.
He asked the technicians, “Wouldn’t it be great if we had some little deployable boxes you could throw out temporarily for exercise purposes?”
Since then, Buryn worked on the concept and developed a design for a Pelican box with all the network equipment required to get users connected quickly.
After sharing his design with Airman 1st Class Johnny Mitchell, a 92nd CS cyber-transport journeyman, they began implementation and soon every member from the infrastructure shop was working to build and further develop the devices based on Buryn’s original plan.
Working as a team, the Airmen modified the design to create a more functional and easier to deploy product, building five machines -- enough to support up to 240 computers.
The final design included a patch panel that allows for reconfiguration without forcing technicians to permanently change the box setup and it keeps the network equipment concealed from customers so switches cannot be modified. In case of power outages, it’s also equipped with an uninterruptible power supply. These designs resulted in a system that is easy to store and transport when required.
The R2D2 concept was field-tested when the Unit Effectiveness Inspection and Nuclear Operational Readiness Inspection teams came to Fairchild Air Force Base last January and needed network access for more than 160 members.
“We cut a setup time that might take three days with a full team, to possibly two or three technicians going out there for an hour just hooking up the trunks and everything,” Mitchell said.
Col. Philip A. Clinton, team chief of the most recent Nuclear Operational Readiness Inspection team, praised the infrastructure technicians, writing, “Their flawless logistical support ensured a well-organized work center was established in a timely manner.”
Clinton thanked Fairchild AFB’s NORI support team for providing a working office to his large group with no delay.
“The ability to pull this together while also preparing for the inspection demonstrated an exceptional level of expertise, motivation and professionalism,” he wrote.
The network infrastructure shop has plans to build at least five more systems and have begun work on a similar design that will allow the introduction of secure network capabilities. They also have plans to develop a system that communicates over microwave, a design that would allow internet access powered by generators for more remote locations.