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Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska

This project is a VoIP upgrade from an existing TDM DICES system in operation at Offutt AFB Global Operations Center (GOC) since 2006. This TDM system was certified for multi-level operation by DISA and USAF. It provided an innovative design for the command center operators that allowed integration of secure telephone and internet audio directly into the user station via rear panel isolated interface ports. This design provided the operators the ability to monitor and transmit on these external audio sources from a single touch screen control panel and headset. The success of this design resulted in continuous system expansion through 2010 to four times the original system size.

With the planned construction of an entirely new Global Operations Center building, an engineering team from SPAWAR-Hawaii conducted a design study to determine whether an IP-based solution could provide equivalent operational capabilities to the existing GOC voice system. After extensive testing a decision was made to award a new contract to Quintron to adapt the proven TDM operator station design to the new DICES VoIP system interface. Appropriate hardware connectivity to the COTS circuit card design was needed, along with the six individual auxiliary port cards to achieve >70dB separation. Additional software, both in the keyset and the central equipment, was added for control of the operational configuration. These six auxiliary connections were designed for direct IST, Cisco phones and PC audio connections to allow an operator to communication on multiple devices via a single headset.

The major technical issues, as described above, were the need to first develop a keyset operating scenario with the customer and then convert that into a working modified COTS keyset design. Major new features to be added were six auxiliary audio input channels with >70dB isolation, software security controls to preclude unacceptable routing of audio between the auxiliary channels and from the keyset to the central equipment, use of a COTS touch screen LCD panel for the operator interface with main keyset electronics housed separately in the console, and integrated answering of incoming calls from the IST secure telephone unit. Beyond the basic schematic design work for the new keyset designs, the actual creation of the board artwork design required innovative engineering to package the additional circuitry along with six completely segregated audio port cards while maintaining very high isolation standards.

Software modifications were needed to properly configure and operate the new audio channels, both in the keyset itself, plus through the system control and administration software. Some revision to the keyset user GUI was also requested to facilitate most effective operation. The final customer selection for basic keyset installation was the DICES VoIP thin client, which houses the operating boards in a 2RU enclosure mounted under the operator console with headset connectors extended to the desk front and a standalone touch screen LCD display unit mounted on a swing arm from the rear console wall. This unique design will provide positional flexibility for the operator GUI while keeping the console work surface completely uncluttered.

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