FBI preparing for complete network infrastructure refresh

Written by

Dave Nyczepir

The FBI wants equipment manufacturers to detail their latest routers, switches, firewalls and other networking devices as it prepares for a bureau-wide infrastructure technology refresh.

According to a request for information (RFI) posted earlier this month, the FBI plans to introduce “intelligent” technologies as part of its digital transformation effort: the Network Enterprise Redesign Initiative (NERI).

The FBI previously issued an RFI in August 2019 to help it set software-defined networking (SDN) requirements and wants to know if any changes to Software Defined-Wide Area Network (SD-WAN), -Local Area Network (SD-LAN) and Wi-Fi technologies might impact NERI.

“FBI networks support many mission critical systems which enhance law enforcement operations,” reads the new RFI. “For this reason, the FBI requires its networks to be highly available and flexible to respond to rapidly changing mission requirements.”

While introducing SD-WAN, SD-LAN and Wi-Fi are the primary goals of NERI, hardware consolidation and delivering 1 Gigabit-per-second internet speeds to desktops and end devices are also priorities. Through the initiative, the FBI expects to cut costs, scale its network more easily, and improve security and user experience across about 900 branches: its headquarters, field offices, their resident agencies, remote sites and data centers.

The FBI’s future architecture will consist of a 100-Gigabit Ethernet high-speed backbone and 1 Gigabit/10 Gigabit switches at field offices and their resident agencies. Fiber optics will be required for all high-speed network interfaces on classified networks.

Cisco provides most of the FBI’s current infrastructure with limited Juniper, Palo Alto and Riverbed network devices to minimize the risk of a single point of failure.

The deadline for RFI responses is Aug. 5.