WIESBADEN, Germany -- Soldiers, Civilians and Local Nationals gathered to witness the end of an era at a decommissioning ceremony of the legacy Electronic World Switch Digital (EWSD) hosted by the 509th Signal Battalion March 3, 2017 in Longare, Italy.

The decommissioning follows the 509th Signal Battalion's successful upgrade of the legacy analog time division multiplex (TDM) telephone switching systems at the site to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, a $250,000 investment representing a significant reduction in operating costs and labor.

Commissioned in 2004, the Longare EWSD telephone switch was part of the larger Defense Switched Network (DSN) providing U.S. Government dialing services worldwide, however, advances in communications technology in recent years rendered the switch obsolete.

Todd Hunt, 509th Signal Battalion Network Infrastructure Division chief, said the legacy systems at the site have been replaced with the latest converged network technology.

"The advent of unified capabilities has enabled us to stand down extensive communications facilities, significantly reducing our operations and maintenance footprint across the theater while enhancing the quality of voice services to the warfighter," Hunt said.

The 509th Signal Battalion began instituting VoIP services as the primary means of telecommunications in September 2016 with a campuswide migration of all analog voice subscribers from the EWSD switch to the regional VoIP enclave. Subsequent upgrades to the VoIP network introduced several key service enhancements, including voice mail and call handling capabilities.

The Longare EWSD is the first of five sites scheduled to be decommissioned over the next 18 months across the 509th Signal Battalion's area of operations spanning Italy, the Balkans, the Black Sea region and Africa.

"The decommissioning of the EWSD switch represents an honorable end to an analog era on the Longare campus," Hunt said.

---

2nd Signal Brigade builds, operates and defends Mission Command System and networks to support unified action anytime, anywhere.