Office of the Chief Information Officer

United States Department of Agriculture

Network Services


The CTS Network Service will provide a turnkey Network infrastructure solution to USDA agencies, using cloud-based platform to improve agility, increase per-user IT consumption awareness and tracking, enhanced responsiveness, and ensure that all supported Network Services comply with all Federal Security and Privacy requirements.



Service Description

Network Services: CTS supports our customers with teams that leverage expertise from all our divisions, technology partnerships, and locations throughout the country in order to provide a broad range of on-site\off-site and remote support services and the ability to work within local time zones. This offering addresses a customizable requirement for Network Infrastructure as a Service (NIaaS) support for internal and external customers. These support services complement the CTS catalog of services.

The NIaaS platform allows CTS to provide commercial carrier class communications networks that provide the capability to offer different communications feature sets to each customer based on unique business requirements. Utilization of CTS Network Infrastructure as a Service technologies frees customers from spending money on network hardware and the staff it takes to manage a network in-house. CTS NIaaS provides for: LAN/WAN connectivity services to geographically distributed employees located throughout the United States, provides for routing / switching support, full firewall security support, secure wireless support for desktops or mobile devices, secure authentication methods using two factor authentication for both wired and wireless connections, and full 24/7 system monitoring for both LAN and WAN.

CTS will complement and augment USDA agency network capabilities ; be responsible for the documentation of existing standard operating procedures and will maintain support of agency network systems and services through various combinations of monitoring, managing, and/or optimizing as specified in accordance with the terms and conditions of the agency agreement. CTS will work in concert with agency personnel to coordinate Network Infrastructure services utilized by the agency that may include interaction with other agency organizations, equipment and service vendors, and the agency’s communications providers.

What is included

Field Office Support

  • Hardware installation and maintenance of network infrastructure within the local office (Field Service Center, State Office, Large Office or other location).
  • Maintenance and Troubleshooting of Local Area Networking (LAN) equipment and infrastructure.
  • Wireless Access Point-WAP.
  • Connectivity to the USDA Universal Telecommunications Network.
  • Internet Access.
  • Facilities wiring that meet current industry standards.
  • Installation of Network (LAN/WAN) equipment i.e. switches and routers.
  • Workstation and peripherals setup and integration on the LAN/WAN.
  • Network security and capacity monitoring.
  • Secure network connection.
  • WAN Optimization.
  • Wide Area Network (WAN) CTS End User stack, Head end stack and all network monitoring which supports the connection of multiple offices to services and the internet.
  • Maintenance and Troubleshooting of the equipment and services in the WAN.
  • Data circuit work and transmission costs associated with the circuits.

Network Infrastructure as a Service (NIaaS)

Access: CTS resources conduct an evaluation of requirements, specifications and existing site infrastructure. CTS meets with the customer to review the findings, provide information regarding service options and recommend the most viable solution to meet the business need.

Plan: CTS resources provide a standard solution design and develop technical specifications from the customer to develop an implementation plan.

Implement: CTS provides resources to provision services, configure and deploy devices and transition from on premise service to NIaaS infrastructure.

Support: CTS provides maintenance and monitoring, patch and update management, administrative services, license management, incident management, and problem resolution services for the customer.

Primary Network Services:

  • Routing / Switching – Full manageability of router and switch configurations including uptime monitoring and availability.
  • Firewall – Management of local firewall services, policy updates, and security context including ENS integration support for agency firewall context at UTN.
  • Enterprise Wireless - End user wireless connectivity for authorized devices such as laptops and mobile devices as well as restricted guest access.
  • Network Access Control (NAC) – Authentication of all network connections set to Department of Defense standards including two-factor user/machine authentication. All security policies apply to laptops, desktops, mobile devices, and all devices connecting to the network.
  • Monitoring – LAN/WAN component monitoring providing proactive system management resulting in highly available systems.
  • WAN Optimization -WAN Optimization and QoS configuration delivering LAN-like performance over the enterprise WAN without the expense of constant circuit upgrades in a single monthly service. This service utilizes Riverbed products to reduce data transmitted over the WAN and classifies traffic based on best practices criteria to optimize connectivity and improve user experiences.
  • Hardware Maintenance – Frees the customer from annual maintenance renewals and support contracts with hardware vendors.

Functional Area Requirements:

  • Strategy
  • Design and Discovery
  • Development and Test
  • Transition In
  • Operations and Maintenance

Technical Requirements:

  • Program Management:
    • Concept of Operations (ConOps) including defined roles and responsibilities of project team members, as well as a communications plan
    • Status Reporting (real-time, near-real-time, trending, and historical analysis)
    • Quality Assurance / Quality Control Plan
    • Configuration Management Plan
    • Inventory Management Plan
    • Standard Management Report and Review Templates
    • Initial package for Cyber Security Assessment & Authorization and associated documentation to support FISMA-Moderate status.
  • Monitoring of IT Assets, Systems, or Services
  • Management of IT Assets, Systems, or Services
  • Optimization of IT Assets, Systems, or Services

Security and System Requirements

  • Comply with section 508 accessibility requirements.
  • Be available on a 24x7x365 basis.
  • Align and conform to Federal government and USDA data, application, and networking security requirements.
  • Meet hosting, architectural, planning, and other security requirements necessary to achieve A&A. CTS must provide inputs to all documentation necessary to facilitate completion of A&A in accordance with USDA requirements.
  • Comply with current Internet Protocol.

Support Requirements

  • Provide tier-1 and/or tier-2 and/or tier-3 support via telephone, email, video or online portal.
  • Provide standardized training materials as needed.
  • Provide responses to customer support requests within the time frames established in approved SLA’s.
  • Provided the customer with a unique reference number for each support request, which can be used for tracking and monitoring response status.
  • Provide standard metrics pertaining to the status of support requests including but not limited to number of support requests received, open, and closed and the time needed to resolve support requests.

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)

  • Reliable and cost effective data and voice transport of local area network (LAN) infrastructure within the Washington, D.C. area, designated as the National Capital Region (NCR).
  • Complement/augment agency resources responsible for data and voice transport outside of the NCR area.
  • Continually improve LAN capacity and capabilities within the NCR area so as to support evolving customer requirements relating to data and voice transmission.

How We Charge

Network Services are billed on a per office basis with the labor support costs for the WAN, WAN circuit costs (which can vary by site) and LAN costs.

Service Activity Units
Field Office Support
The standard service is measured by Wired Offices, a measure compiled from the number of presences for CTS base customer at each office site and the actual data circuit costs for each site.
Higher bandwidth requirements or capital expenditures for hardware may incur additional agency-specific costs in some locations.
Network Infrastructure as a Service (NIaaS) Price dependent on selection of optional services from vendor resources.
Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)
The number of presences allocated to each NCR customer through Working Capital Fund Primary services.
Wireless Access Points (WAP) charged separately.

Service Level Metrics

Measure Target SLA
Availability of logical circuits between Universal Telecommunications Network (UTN) node pairs 99.5%
Availability of ENS + CTS Internet Gateways (UTN) internet access for connected offices/end users 99.9%

Cost Savings Tips

  • Monitoring of devices helps to keep numbers balanced to users.
  • The consolidation of offices into a single location where costs can be shared.

Additional Information

  • LAN availability will be measured by SolarWinds.
  • UTN is a required USDA Enterprise Service and is provided by Enterprise Network Services (ENS).
  • The measurement is determined by the rolling average over the previous twelve months as reported by the network monitoring tool SolarWinds.