Office of the Chief Information Officer

United States Department of Agriculture

Wired Offices

Decorative image of the LAN Network utilized by CTS.






Service Description

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.

CTS National Network Support

CTS provides a nationwide network to specific customers who are located in approximately 3,000 customer offices, including some territories. Local Area Networking (LAN) and Wide Area Network (WAN) service is included. Backed-up by on the ground technical staff and AT&T, the service allows customers to access custom business applications and communicate internally or with stakeholders or customers across the world. The CTN connects to the USDA Universal Telecommunications Network (UTN) which is also maintained by AT&T.

Network Infrastructure as a Service (NIaaS)

As an agency specific service, CTS builds new or custom networks and supports them with NIaaS. The 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: LAN/WAN connectivity services to geographically distributed employees located throughout the United States, 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.

Under NIaaS, CTS will:

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 LAN/WAN 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.

Optimize: 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.

Maintain Hardware: NIaaS frees the customer from annual maintenance renewals and support contracts with hardware vendors.

Back to Top

What Is Included

  • Hardware installation and maintenance of network infrastructure within the local office
  • Full management of router and switch configurations including uptime monitoring and availability
  • Management of local firewall services, policy updates, and security context including ENS integration support for agency firewall context at UTN
  • Maintenance and Troubleshooting of Local Area Networking (LAN) equipment and infrastructure
  • Wireless Access Point-WAP - wireless end user connectivity for authorized devices such as laptops and mobile devices as well as restricted guest access
  • Connectivity to the USDA Universal Telecommunications Network
  • Internet Access
  • 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
  • Facilities wiring that meet current industry standards
  • Installation of Network (LAN/WAN) equipment i.e. switches and routers
  • Integration of the LAN/WAN with workstations and peripherals
  • 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 WAN circuits. CTS installs and manages the most efficient and effective WAN technologies. Specific technologies used are determined by bandwidth requirements and local vendor service availability. Commonly employed CTS technologies include:
    • T1 circuits and Time Division Multiplexing (TDM utilizes multiple bonded T1 circuits)
    • Ethernet WAN (5mb and 10mb)
    • Point to Point VPN
  • Compliance with section 508 accessibility requirements
  • CTS standards will meet hosting, architectural, planning, and other security requirements necessary to achieve A&A. CTS provides inputs to all documentation necessary to facilitate completion of A&A in accordance with USDA requirements
  • Internet protocol compliance

Back to Top

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.

Wired Services Measures Description

Product/Service Offering UNIT of Measure Description

Wired Offices

A percentage is computed for the SCAs (NRCS, RD and FSA) based on staff counts and actual cost data at each wired office location. The percentage is then applied to the total wired office count to allocate the costs to the SCAs.

Service Level Metrics

Network Services Performance Measures

Performance Performance Measure Performance Target
LAN Availability LAN Availability =
[Total Time – (Total Outage] / Total Time


WAN Connectivity Availability of logical circuits between UTN node pairs rolling average over the previous 12 months as reported 99.5%
Internet Access (TSO) Availability of ENS + CTS Internet Gateways (UTN) internet access for connected offices/end users Reported by AT&T (UTN vendor), monitoring tools (subject to vendor contract limitations) 99.9%

Measurement Tools - SolarWinds Network Monitoring

Cost Saving 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 for network availability is determined by the rolling average over the previous twelve months as reported by the network monitoring tool SolarWinds.