North American Network Operators Group

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Re: and

  • From: John Schnizlein
  • Date: Thu Oct 02 13:49:57 2008

Is this really technical discussion of operation of networks?

I connected the internal network of the US House of Representatives to the Internet when I worked there, and operated it through both Democratic and Republican control. I never saw any snooping by either party of the network traffic, and I had sniffers for diagnosing problems in several communication closets. I do recall unfounded accusations both ways, but it would be sad for the rumors to outlive the reality. The notorious case of intercepted cell-phone conversations had nothing to do with the data network.

Not only is the data center, but so are all the committee and member offices that want it connected.

Skilled professionals operate the House's network. There has been a collegial relationship among the operators of both the Senate and House networks, as well as the rest of the Legislative branch. There are good reasons, including Constitutional separation of powers, that the Legislative Branch is not managed by the Executive Branch. The independence of the two houses of Congress is more a matter of tradition, and the fact that a different party sometimes controls the other house.

Bandwidth has ALWAYS been an issue because Internet access is acquired through normal business processes, and the appetite for bandwidth both to Congressional staff, and (occasionally - when something important happens) to the public. Since the source of money for these operations is Federal taxes, many readers of this list might appreciate that we have not bought more than we could justify.

I will not say anything about how large or redundant the data center is for obvious reasons, beyond that I am no longer employed there and do not have the details.

I really think this thread has outlived its entertainment value.


On 2008Oct2, at 12:39 PM, Mick Bergman wrote:

Are you saying that the site is not in a large data center
with direct fiber connectivity along with many of the other large
federal web sites (with alternative hot sites ready to go at a moment's
notice, of course)? As someone who has been to different government data
centers, I can tell you they have huge amounts of data connectivity
there in case of emergency.

For a large site like, bandwidth should never be an issue. In
this case I highly doubt it was the issue, but instead overloading of
the hardware in place.

Just my $.02...