networkMaryland™ FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about networkMaryland™

Date:   March, 2013

1. What is networkMaryland™?

networkMaryland™ is the vision of a statewide high-speed network for public sector use. The network was created from an initiative to utilize resource shared fiber optic cable assets throughout the state to provide affordable, high-speed bandwidth to all areas of the State and to provide a cost savings to the citizens of the State of Maryland. Moving forward, networkMaryland™ will provide WAN connectivity for all public entities in the State to improve the economy of scale by coordinating joint network build-outs, consolidation of services and by providing the necessary information for proper network growth.

2. What services does networkMaryland™ offer?

networkMaryland™ currently offers the following services:

Internet
networkMaryland™ provides communication between the Internet and its Internet Service customers. networkMaryland's Internet Service is analogous to the routed services provided by a traditional Internet Service Provider (ISP). networkMaryland™ will provide the routed infrastructure over which its Internet Service customers will communicate to the World Wide Web community.

Statewide Government Intranet (SwGI)
SwGI is a networkMaryland™ service that provides a centralized resource for State entities to communicate with other State governmental entities and data centers. SwGI allows State agencies to create and share resources like FMIS, WebFleet Master, DNS, MVA applications and Criminal Justice Information Systems.

Virtual Private Routed Network (VPRN)
networkMaryland™ can provide a private routed network across the network backbone for subscribers that need to provide services to multiple offices from a primary data center, or multiple data center locations. VPRN deconstructs the traditional hub and spoke architecture and provides a flat network between all locations, providing better use of bandwidth resources by removing the traditional congestion points caused by routing all traffic through a central data center or hub location.
  • Any-to-any connectivity - All sites on the VPRN communicate in a virtual full mesh; but, with the benefit of only needing one connection to the network.
  • IP address transparency - Customers can use any addressing so long as it is unique within their own VPRN. BGP/MPLS VPN technology includes mechanisms to ensure IP address transparency as packets are transported across the carrier infrastructure.
  • Simplicity - Unlike IPSec-based VPNs built over a public infrastructure, tunnel provisioning and maintenance are not required. Similarly, no FR/ATM PVC management is required.
  • Customer VPRN interfaces and routes are hidden from all other VPRNs and from the Internet.
  • Users on one VPRN cannot see or change the content of packets associated with another customer’s VPRN.
  • Reduction in operating costs due to the economies of scale
  • Reduction of routing complexity required by Customer networks.

InterLATA Transport Services
networkMaryland™ is located in all 4 Local Access Transport Areas (LATAs). A LATA is a continuous geographic calling area established by a Federal Court with the divestiture of AT&T. networkMaryland's InterLATA transport service is analogous to the services provided by a long distance phone carrier. The InterLATA transport service is designed to facilitate private WAN networks across a common infrastructure. networkMaryland™ serves to provide a transport (Layer 2 of the OSI Reference Model) medium over which its customers can engineer their required network services.

Bundled ISP and SwGI Services
networkMaryland™ subscribers with a disaster recovery location can take advantage of bundled services. This service provides a mirror of the primary services and ports in standby mode at a secondary location. Subscribers only pay for the active service and have the security of backup connectivity to SwGI and ISP should the primary service experience an outage.

3. What are the costs for receiving networkMaryland™ services?

The networkMaryland™ objective is to provide network services at a reduced cost to that which an agency would experience if they had to obtain them independently. Our rate structure is based upon the volume purchase model allowing continuous savings to our users. The current rate structure for each of our services - Layer 2 (cross-LATA), ISP, VPRN, Bundled Services and SwGI - can be downloaded from this website.

Our operating cost includes internal technical staff, core network leased circuit costs, hardware maintenance/ replacement and 24x7x365 managed services.

4. What is "Resource Share"?     

There is an open RFP for the State to receive proposals which allows for private entities to offer telecommunication resources in exchange for state access, such as unused telecommunications resources, state's rights of way, state land, etc. DBM is to manage the resource share proposals. The State has access to 313.5 miles of dark fiber due to agreement in 1999 with Level 3. This provides 48 strands of dark fiber to the state, which includes 16 strands for MDOT, 20 strands for networkMaryland™, and 12 strands for negotiating for revenue with private industry. The group for private use is unused pending determinations from the PSC and/or FCC regarding its use. Additional fiber is available to the State from prior agreements with Williams Communications and AT&T Local Services. Dark fiber by itself provides no benefits and must be built out before it can be used. This includes being certified, connecting to terminating equipment and signal repeated where necessary.

5. Does networkMaryland™ provide DNS Services?

Maryland State Archives provides DNS services for both SwGI and Internet for networkMaryland™ subscribers, to include DNSSec. To request record additions, changes or deletions subscribers can e-mail Maryland State Archives administrators at DNSadmin@maryland.gov.

6. What funding will be required?

The networkMaryland™ buildout project is funded by State capital funds, of which there are sufficient amounts remaining to meet the current network build plan. To support the operations of the existing network and growing customer base, Reimbursable Funds are requested for each fiscal year. Through our work with the Department of Budget & Management Office of Budget Analysis, an estimated annual cost is determined based upon what services are projected for each user or agency. State agency users are then provided a budget amount within their Telecommunications Object 0305 to help meet the actual charges incurred for that fiscal year. Agencies do not submit a budget request for networkMaryland™ costs.

It is expected that the State will continue to provide Reimbursable Operating Funds and Capital Funds to meet the statewide infrastructure completion. The operating cost will include adequate internal technical staff, hardware maintenance and 24x7x365 managed services. Currently the State pays operating costs by way of leased circuits for State agencies. The cost for leased circuits will decrease as more state agencies ride the statewide infrastructure.

7. What are the real benefits to the State?

Three primary benefits to the State are: (1) A single managed communication infrastructure and services for all State agencies and public sector entities, (2) reduced cost to State agencies for Internet and cross LATA connectivity, and (3) make the State competitive with other states.

At one time, Maryland State agencies paid over $5.5M per year on leased circuits. The statewide infrastructure can reduce the amount that State agencies pay for leased circuits, as most agencies will not need cross LATA connectivity outside of networkMaryland™. The State also lacks a central authority to coordinate WAN connectivity other than networkMaryland™, leaving many non-standard projects like connectivity of data centers for disaster recovery in limbo. Many agencies do not know that other State agencies are looking for high-speed bandwidth in the same area. networkMaryland™ is the central point for these requests due to the WAN Request process.

8. Who can I contact for more information?

networkMaryland™ staff can be reached via e-mail at networkmaryland@maryland.gov.