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ROC SYSTEMS ENGINEERING

ROC Systems Engineering provides technical consulting services on NEXRAD network, computer systems, and telecommunications equipment. Systems Engineering is also responsible for WSR-88D security implementations. Systems Engineering also provides the following services to WSR-88D system users:

  • Development, review, and recommendations on all Engineering Change Proposals (ECPs), Time Compliance Technical Orders (TCTOs), Configuration Change Requests (CCRs), Modifications, and computer design changes. Support for field operations.

  • Support for field operations.

  • Review of radar performance data and recommendations for observed problems in systems reliability.

  • Requirements analysis, feasibility studies and cost analysis for problem resolution.

  • Implementation of change requests involving computer, telecommunications systems and data storage.

  • Management of test programs for data distribution and storage systems.


News & Information:

CURRENT SYSTEMS ENGINEERING TOPICS:

  • Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) Transition Program
    The EIS contract is the main component of GSA's telecommunications portfolio for NOAA. EIS is replacing GSAs current Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts as well as GSA Regional Local Service Agreements for government telecommunications and infrastructure solutions. The EIS contract has a 15-year period of performance (one 5 year base and two 5 year options) and encompasses all WSR-88D, SPG and NPN telecommunications services.

    The current GSA Networx contract, for which most NEXRAD circuits and backup communications systems subscribe for service, expires 31 May 2024. Service provider changes may force hardware, software, and configuration changes within a very short period of time. New hub routers with PIP/BGP service will be deployed with EIS transition. RPG and RDA routers have spare ports allocated for EIS.

  • Radar Signal Processor (RSP) Refresh
    The current RSP has internal components that are end of life, end of support. This means that the RSP cannot be expanded to accommodate future needs. The RSP is a rack mounted PC hardware assembly that is used to perform clutter filtering, velocity de-aliasing, range de-aliasing, and antenna, radar, BITE control/monitoring features. The refreshed RSP is expected to deploy in the calendar year 2023.

  • Security
    For the WSR-88D, TDWR SPG and NPN systems, the ROC has implemented the Risk Management Framework (RMF), as defined by NIST Special Publication (SP) 800-37 Revision 2: Risk Management Framework for Information Systems and Organizations. The framework provides a dynamic approach which leverages robust continuous monitoring to support on-going authorization and risk management as part of a more steady state, less cyclical process for each of the systems. Continuous monitoring results are reaffirmed, and risks are reassessed, documented, and accepted at least annually by each system's Authorizing Official (AO) and Co-AO, to ensure continued Authority to Operate (ATO). The reauthorization of the ATOs for the WSR-88D, TDWR SPG and NPN are documented in writing via signed Re-authorization Memos, and are entered in the DOC Cyber Security Assessment and Management System (CSAM) annually. The WSR-88D has been designated by the Department of Commerce as a high value asset (HVA). The Primary Mission Essential Function (PMEF) assigned to the WSR-88D is to provide the Nation with environmental forecasts, warnings, data, and expertise critical to public safety, disaster preparedness, all-hazards response and recovery, the national transportation system, safe navigation, and the protection of the Nation's critical infrastructure and natural resources. As per Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Binding Operational Directive (BOD) 18-02 - Securing High Value Assets, the WSR-88D will have an HVA assessment performed every three years, by a DHS Security Assessment Team. HVA assessments are critical to maintain an unbiased view of the risk associated with maintaining an HVA. This HVA assessment is in addition to the annual security assessments performed by the NWS ACIO office.

  • Redundancy For Commercial T1 Service Between Remove Radars and NWS WFOs
    Backup communications systems to remote radars have increased the remote radar data availability and have mitigated loss of radar data over existing aged terrestrial circuits, especially during and after significant weather events. Remote NEXRAD NWS, FAA and DoD radars are geographically separated from their hosting National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs). The current backup communications methods are cellular 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, and satellite Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs) at sites that cannot achieve adequate 4G LTE signal strength. The NEXRAD router configurations and auto fail-over mechanisms for 4G backup systems are the same as for VSAT backup systems, such that either 4G or VSAT technology may be deployed to any given site, depending on service capabilities and cost efficiencies. Both backup technologies have been successfully installed and are currently in operation across the NEXRAD fleet. The EHB 6-540 has been updated with preventative maintenance instructions and test procedures for NEXRAD field technicians to maintain the backup comms systems. Four portable 4G backup systems and four auto-deploy VSAT systems (fly-aways) are maintained by Systems Engineering. These systems have been deployed several times to support site-specific engineering solutions for radar data recovery, and to establish temporary communications paths for radars when required. Please contact the NEXRAD Hotline for specialized engineering support and deployable backup comms hardware requests.

  • NEXRAD Hub Router
    The NEXRAD Hub Routers enable network communications paths for radar products (National Level III and AWIPS), Master System Control Function (MSCF) radar command and control systems, and National Level II data transmission between DoD and FAA radars and their hosting NWS WFOs. Private IP / Border Gateway Protocol (PIP/BGP) terrestrial T1 circuits and VSAT/4G backup comms systems provide redundant paths from the hosting NWS WFOs hub routers to the distant-end remote radar RPG routers. NEXRAD hub routers are included in backup comms deployment cases and are engineered/configured for site-specific needs to temporarily provide or restore communications service via 4G or VSAT. Hub routers are also used at some locations to support digital distant-MSCF communications from DoD base weather stations to remote DoD WSR-88D radars. The existing Cisco 2901 Hub routers will be replaced with Cisco ISR 4331 Hub routers in the near future, and will support new terrestrial and back communications service in conjunction with the NOAA-wide GSA Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) transition contract.

  • RDA GPS Server
    The current RDA GPS Server has reached end of life and end of support. As of Build 20, it is being replaced with network-based, Network Time Protocol (NTP) time sources provided by National Level II.The NL2 NTP servers provide reliable and accurate UTC time to multiple network devices in the RDA and the RPG, e.g., servers, routers, and switches. NL2 NTP servers provide accurate timestamps for weather data and products as they are generated. To be useful, weather products and mosaics must have accurate time stamps for meteorologists to issue forecasts and weather alerts to the public. NEXRAD relies on the NL2 NTP servers to provide an accurate and reliable time source for the RDA and RPG components. Precision timing is a critical factor in the quality and reliability of products disseminated by the NEXRAD weather radar.

  • RDA LAN Switch Refresh 
    The current RDA LAN switch is end of life and end of support. The LAN switch is a critical device that houses connections to the console server, router, radar signal processor and power admins. This device allows all of the connected devices to talk to each other on the same Local Area Network (LAN), which is an important role in the dissemination of radar data. Sustainment efforts have allowed the ROC (Radar Operations Center) to find a replacement lan switch that meets the current requirements. It is also estimated that the refreshed lan switch will offer longer availability times. The refreshed RDA LAN switch is currently scheduled to deploy with Build 21.0.

  • FAA CSS-Wx System
    Systems Engineering created a new comms manager and assigned four new RPG TCP ports and dedicated lines for the new FAA Common Support Services - Weather (CSS-Wx) system that will replace existing FAA Weather and Radar Processor (WARP) and Integrated Terminal Weather System (ITWS) connections fleet-wide. CSS-Wx distributes weather radar data, products, and imagery within the National Airspace System (NAS) for integration into air traffic decision support systems, improving the quality of traffic management decisions and reducing controller workload during severe weather. The current WARP & ITWS connections use a separate comms manager and TCP ports than the new CSS-Wx lines, so FAA systems can operate in parallel. FTI is currently increasing bandwidth to each radar from 128Kbps to 640Kbps as a standard. The CSS-Wx Interface Certification Testing (ICT) was completed in August 2022 to allow for the new IP subnets, user IDs and TCP ports to connect from two test systems at the William J Hughes Technical Center (WJHTC) into KCRI systems at the ROC. Advanced Volume Coverage Pattern (VCP) and FAA-specific product testing is currently being conducted between KCRI systems and WJHTC. The FAA key site acceptance testing is scheduled for the Atlanta and Salt Lake City CSS-Wx nodes in Summer 2023 and field site testing and acceptance is planned for Fall/Winter 2023.