case study: mod northwood

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  • C A S E S T U D Y : M O D N O R T H W O O D

    GovernmentBrand-Rex supplies military grade infrastructure at agship UK headquarters MOD Northwood Command

    Centre. Eastbury Park, Northwood, is home to the UKs national operational Defence Headquarters, employing

    2,100 military and civilian personnel. The estate contains the permanent Joint Headquarters of the Chief of

    Joint Operations, the Commander Naval Forces North one of NATOs three major Commanders and the

    Headquarters of the Commander in Chief Fleet.

  • established in 1939 as the home of the headquarters of coastal

    command, royal air Force, northwood has always been a key

    element in the strategic defence capability of the uK and its allies.

    In July 1994, as part of the defence cost study review, it was

    decided to form a Permanent Joint head Quarters (PJhQ)

    at northwood, to replace the previous approach whereby

    headquarters staffs were drawn together ad-hoc in response

    to a developing crisis.

    northwood, like many organisations, had grown up gradually

    across the years, and this was reflected in its infrastructure.

    There was no common standard, says Bob Blanks, cIs Projects

    London head at the northwood hQ. We had no accurate records

    of what went where, plus most of the cable ducts had very little space

    left in them. northwood had run out of infrastructure capacity and

    only had enough to meet its day to day requirements. any requests

    for additional services, whether temporary or permanent, needed

    the installation of new cabling.

    In 1996, because of health and safety issues identified within the

    northwood command centre it was proposed that PJhQ staffs

    should have a new purpose built building. approval for a new

    building was initially granted in 2001 however, due to other site

    requirements and deficiencies, it was decided to amalgamate all

    the requirements into a new site-wide statement of requirements

    and seek bidders to undertake the work. the revised requirements

    included a new maritime operations centre, enhancements to

    counter terrorist measures, new and refurbished single living

    accommodation together with a new sports hall, car park and

    community areas. the whole site was to be underpinned by a

    comprehensive, site-wide, infrastructure that met the demanding

    standards and needs of the various military divisions.

    Following a tendering, selection and negotiation process the

    contract was awarded to carillion plc in october 2006, with

    carillion construction being responsible for the new build and

    refurbishment work and carillion service responsible for the

    service delivery element.

    c a s e s t u d y : m o d n o r t h w o o d

    the installations had to be unique and comply with the mod standards on design. For example,

    the top secret link has to be sealed in its trunking, raising lots of potential issues for the designers

    due to the high specification and need for complete separation.

  • c a s e s t u d y : m o d n o r t h w o o d

    The PFI contract provides private sector lease or licence ownership of the

    site for a period of 25 years, managing initially all the new building and

    refurbishment works over an initial five year period and providing support

    services to meet operational output for the full 25 years, says Blanks.

    the construction work, phased over a five year period, comprises

    a mixture of refurbishment and new build of residential and

    non-residential buildings to enhance both the condition and

    functionality of the site. the services provided include grounds

    and building maintenance, catering, cleaning, laundry, waste

    management, provision of secretarial support, pest control,

    security, travel management and cIs support.

    as part of the comprehensive specification a new 1.5 kilometre

    duct ring was constructed to provide resilient primary and

    secondary circuits between the three main buildings as well as

    radial links to each of the 20 buildings, both new and old.

    The MOD has unique requirements and the infrastructure needed to

    be designed to stringent standards, with all cables fully enclosed and

    contained throughout their length, says Blanks.

    It was also important to design redundancy into the routing to meet

    the strict business continuity planning needs. another part of the

    requirement was to provide three networks, one for each of the mod

    classifications secret, top secret and restricted. these networks

    have to be completely separate and shielded from each other.

    We produced a technical boundary specification within our

    statement of requirement stating that we needed three classifications

    of network, but without specifying how it needed to be achieved,

    says Blanks.

    The installations had to be unique and comply with the MOD

    standards on design. For example, the top secret link has to be sealed

    in its trunking, raising lots of potential issues for the designers due to

    the high specification and need for complete separation.

    due to the specific nature of the information systems requirements

    carillion employed the specialist services of Lorne stewart to

    design and build a passive computer information systems (cIs)

    infrastructure and structured wiring scheme, based around the

    mod requirements and standards.

    Having been involved with Brand-Rex on the prestigious Whitehall

    Project, I was therefore very keen to encourage the use of Brand-Rex

    products in the infrastructure solution for the Northwood site,

    says Blanks.

    Lorne stewart produced an invitation to tender in July 2007

    covering the design, supply, installation, commissioning and

    warranty provision of the cIs infrastructure. the tender was won

    on both price and quality of proposal by an authorised installation

    partner who recommended using Brand-rex products throughout.

    across the northwood site, 20 buildings are now fed by the new

    1.5 kilometre duct ring and radial cross site network. Providing

    both primary and secondary circuits between the three main site

    distributor buildings the network offers resilience and reliability

    and is capable of delivering the 24/7 availability and security

    demanded by the mod.

    having been involved with Brand-rex on the prestigious whitehall Project, I was therefore very

    keen to encourage the use of Brand-rex products in the infrastructure solution for the northwood

    site, says Blanks.

  • Y6 2RS united kingdomtel: +44 (0) 1592 772124 web: www.brand-rex.com

    C A S E S T U D Y : M O D N O R T H W O O D

    Consisting of multiple single mode and multi-mode bres along with

    100 pair twisted copper cables, the cross site infrastructure provides

    all the connectivity for voice, video and data communications.

    More than 74 kilometres of bre cable has already been installed

    within the duct rung and terminated using a mixture of ST and LC

    terminations. In addition, 20 kilometres of copper cable has been

    installed to support voice communications across the site.

    Over 100 42u cabinets contain MOD active and passive equipment

    along with two multi-rack voice frames for the termination of the

    copper voice systems. The main PJHQ building has an internal

    backbone linking the ve oor distributors using a mixture of multi-

    and single-mode bre optic cable. Horizontal cabling from each of

    the oor distributors uses Cat6Plus cabling and multi-mode bre

    to reach the 100 consolidation points that in turn feed over 20,000

    outlets. Over 9,000 duplex patch cords and 6,000 Cat6Plus patch

    cords have been provided to serve more than 1,500 desk locations.

    Each desk has been designed to have four copper and six bre

    cables of varying classications. As the desks are arranged in clusters

    capacity can be easily transferred around each desk cluster as

    required. We are not like a corporation with one pc on the desk,

    says Blanks.

    Some of our operators will have up to three devices on their desks

    one for each category of network, to ensure that the top secret or

    restricted access applications remain within their own security arena.

    The only concessions we make is in the use of a switch to allow

    mouse, keyboard and monitors to be shared by the systems. Physical

    separateness is an important part of our security measures and some

    users do have highly populated desks.

    Overall, more than 8,000 kilometres of bre cores with 48,000

    terminations and 3,000 kilometres of Cat6Plus cable with 13,000

    terminations have been used across the site.

    As the ve year build phase now approaches its nal year with several

    buildings demolished and new ones already built, commissioned

    and operational, Northwood is already benetting from its enhanced

    facilities and has welcomed its new working environment.

    The site now has a new secure CIS duct ring linking all its buildings,

    together with formal access control procedures in place. The entire

    infrastructure is now recorded within a central database, which in

    turn gives advance warning when available capacity falls below set

    requirements. With diverse routing capability to all buildings adding

    greater resilience and exibility, disaster recovery and business

    continuity processes are