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04 9 2020

NATO's backbone: Agency successfully upgrades 200 routers

NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency engineers successfully upgraded 200 routers at the heart of NATO's backbone from November to December 2019.

The first wave of such upgrades occurred in 2018, and was a resounding success. In this second wave, Agency engineers successfully upgraded 200 devices within five weeks, a third of the time it took to complete the previous 200. The upgrades were required to mitigate network vulnerabilities and strengthen security.

NATO's backbone: Agency successfully upgrades 200 routers

Thanks to an infallible mitigation plan and a redundant network architecture, after 400 upgrades in a two-year span, no site was isolated after a device reboot.

"All NATO services and missions depend on NATO's backbone," said Marina Papassarantis, the Service Support Officer in Network Services and IT Infrastructure (NSII) who led and supervised both upgrade activities. "Maintaining and improving Information and Communications Technology allows NATO to continue its work to ensure peace and protection for the Alliance. Guaranteeing a secure and resilient network is our team's first priority."

This project served a large range of customers, including NATO Nations, operational entities such as NATO's Kosovo Force, the Air Command and Control community and third parties, such as the European Union.

Nations also demonstrated their commitment to NATO by committing resources to the success of this project. All sites supported the Agency engineers by mobilizing a local technician to be on standby during the upgrade window.

The Agency intends to repeat this operation every year, and extend it to more devices under the control of Transmission Infrastructure Services, the team within NSII who conducted the upgrades.