VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE — The 30th Space Communications Squadron is ushering in a new era of communications technology as they bid farewell to their obsolete, Synchronous Optical Network from the 1990s, and embrace the cutting-edge Dense Wavelength-Division Multiplexing technology at Vandenberg Space Force Base.
The ambitious five-year project, which began in 2020 is set to conclude in 2025.
DWDM represents the future of optical fiber multiplexing technology. The new innovation increases the bandwidth of existing fiber networks by combining data signals from multiple sources over a single pair of optical fibers, all while meticulously maintaining the separation of these data streams.
The breakthrough technology was developed to dramatically multiply the capacity of a single fiber by splitting data transmission into separate colors of light; up to 88 simultaneous 100 gigabyte streams per fiber strand. This is a vast improvement over SONET which provides a maximum of one 10 gigabyte circuit per fiber strand.
The DWDM transition at Vandenberg is an extensive undertaking, due to the base’s expansive size and the critical nature of its communication requirements. To ensure a seamless transition, the project has been divided into four distinct phases. Phases one and two are complete, and phase three is set to be completed in December 2023, with phase four scheduled for 2024 to 2025.
Leading the charge on this monumental project is Roger Williams, 30th SCS project engineer, who has been at the helm of almost all phases. Williams shared truly just how complex this multi-phase project has and will continue to be.
“This $20.5 million installation has over 15,000 steps to ensure the system operates flawlessly once fully operational,” said Williams.
Phase one and two have already been completed, and the benefits of DWDM technology are already being realized by the base’s customers.
David Ovesen, 30th SCS plans section chief, pointed out the longevity this project withholds for the installation in the future.
“We are building this robust, resilient network that will serve Vandenberg and the spaceport of the future for the next 30 to 40 years,” said Ovesen.
This technology promises to not only boost bandwidth but also ensure the base’s communication infrastructure can withstand the demands of the future, further solidifying Vandenberg’s position as a future spaceport.
The implementation of DWDM technology at Vandenberg is a testament to the commitment of the 30th SCS to ensure the installation remains at the forefront of space operations.
The forward-looking investment in cutting-edge communications infrastructure promises to shape the future of space exploration and military readiness for decades to come.