What is it?

PSN is the trusted, shared infrastructure that connects increasing numbers of organisations delivering public services to each other and to cloud based and hosted services they can use or share. Developed in 2011, after the Cabinet Office asked Industry to design an inclusive eco-system, the PSN was based on common Enterprise standards including performance and service, it’s made up of inter-connected commercial networks from many competing suppliers, so ensuring best value.

Why is it trusted?

To create the right environment for public service providers to share information and services, trust must be established between organisations. The annual PSN compliance process does this by ensuring that both suppliers and customer adhere to appropriate standards including security and technical interoperability. Using existing good practice and standard commercial services wherever possible, this approach creates ‘good and safe’ place for the PSN community to do business at least cost. This way, trust can be established  without direct contracts and previous experience.

How secure is PSN?

PSN provides an Assured Wide Area Network (WAN) suitable for using with information classified as Official (or Protect/IL2 in old terms). All services certified as PSN compliant are pre-accredited to ensure this and so cover the great majority of government requirements. Where information is classified as Official-Sensitive (similar to the old term  Restricted/IL3), then PSN can also meet this need with Protected WAN overlay services, using common agreed encryption or connectivity utilising  the Inter Provider Encryption Domain (IPED).

What’s the objective?

PSN aims to save the Public Sector money by better utilisation of conectivity and a greater choice of consumption and services and enable more efficient and joined-up public services. The initial aim was to provide a demonstrable £500m a year savings. This was achieved in 2013, according to HM Treasury.

What’s the benefit?

PSN saves money straight away by helping consolidate multiple networks, doing away with duplicate connections to other organisations, allowing the purchase of standardised, rather than bespoke services and promoting open and dynamic competition between suppliers.

Most importantly, PSN enables much larger benefits by providing the conduit for shared services, better collaboration and greater efficiency; transforming the way public services are delivered. Digital delivery to the citizen means that the public services ‘supply chain’ of processes, applications and information must be seamless and online too. PSN provides the trusted means to do this across departments, agencies and authorities.

How do I know if a service is ‘PSN’?

Before any supplier’s service can be connected to PSN it must be certified as complying with the relevant PSN standards. PSN compliant services can provide network connectivity plus a wide range of applications including voice, video, conferencing, collaboration, hosting, mail and many others. You can find a list of compliant services and those undergoing certification on the PSN website.
If in doubt, ask your supplier for the PSN compliance certificate for their service.

What about the PSN Frameworks?

Two procurement frameworks were let by the Crown Commercial Service in 2012, covering network connectivity (PSN-Connectivity) and a range of network services (PSN-Services). Although called ‘PSN’, the frameworks include both compliant and non-compliant services. To be clear, a PSN compliant service can be bought through any legitimate procurement mechanism and not solely through the PSN frameworks. Likewise, a listing on the PSN frameworks does not itself mean that a service is PSN compliant. Although extended into 2016, the PSN frameworks are due to be replaced with a new framework in 2015 called Network Services Framework which will list services that are PSN Compliant as an attribute, so removing any confusion between frameworks and compliance.

How do I connect to PSN?

Before connection to PSN as a user, you need to have PSN Compliance. This certifies that your network environment meets the basic requirements to connect to PSN, and ensure that you’re able to share and consume services across the PSN community. Find out more about becoming a customer from the PSN website. You also need to acquire a certified PSN connectivity service, whether that’s a complete WAN or just a single connection into PSN.

How do I make a service available on the PSN?

Any organisation, commercial, public or voluntary, can make services available to consume on PSN. Think of PSN as a ‘wire frame’ connecting hundreds of organisations on which shared services from communications to line of business or critical support applications can be hung. Doing this generally means gaining appropriate PSN certification as a service provider for each individual service before it can be connected to PSN.

More guidance on how to become a service provider is on the PSN website. Innopsis as the industry association for all PSN suppliers provides invaluable support from compliance workshops, networking and information to regular meetings with key stakeholders. PSN services can be sold through any legitimate procurement mechanism including the Digital Marketplace.

What’s the market for PSN services?

There’s a dynamic and open marketplace for PSN network connectivity and services, with many suppliers competing through the PSN frameworks, G-Cloud and other commercial routes. It is estimated that approaching £500m has been spent to date through the PSN frameworks and on PSN compliant services through other channels.  Innopsis is expanding with around 60 members, at least 50% of whom are SMEs entering the growing PSN market.

PSN General Documents and Technical Standards

Ever wondered what a vPoC is? Where does a PoI fit in? What exactly a DNSP is? What is PSN? What documents are in the overalll PSN Standards? The answers are here.

The core of the PSN Operating Model is the Technical Design Document (TDD). This describes the minimal technical standards of PSN Services.

To view or download the documents, please click here

Service Management Framework

In an environment where end to end service may be dependent on suppliers or other consumers who are uncontracted, there has to be a set of rules to obey, a way or working and a common vocabulary that all can understand. There needs to be an agreed ‘way of doing things’, otherwise there will be chaos. This does not have to be difficult or onerous, just following common sense practice.

The Service Management Framework decribes how PSN runs, day to day. For details of the documentation, please click here

Compliance

How does a Supplier or consumer know that any services connected or connecting meet the agreed standards? Compliance provides a short cut to experience. Services and Customer Environments that meet the conditions described in the PSN Operating Model, and can be backed up by verification, also a rapid trust environment to be established.

How is this done? The PSN Compliance documentation provides the information.

To see the documentation, please click here

Openreach Shows BIG Increase in UK Data Traffic Over Past Year

Openreach Shows BIG Increase in UK Data Traffic Over Past Year

Network access provider Openreach (BT) has just posted a summary of the internet download and upload (data) traffic that has passed across their national UK broadband infrastructure between December 2019 and March 2021, which helps to highlight just how much data we’re all gobbling vs before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Openreach typically supplies numerous broadband ISPs, mobile operators and other networks across the country. As a result of all that their network often sees the impact of big events, as well as any key changes in consumer or business behaviour.

BCP Council in UK deploys drone technology to take out trash

BCP Council in UK deploys drone technology to take out trash

The Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council in Dorset county, the UK, has announced the start of a pilot programme that will deploy drones for taking out trash.

The issue of litter in the three towns of Dorset county, in the UK, will soon be resolved with the use of drone-based technology.

The trial has been proposed to be implemented this summer through a partnership with Hubbub and McDonald’s, an environmental charity.

This unique approach will ensure that the intelligence acquired through drone data will be used in the future placement of garbage bins, street cleaning schedules and drives that urge visitors in the responsible disposal of litter.

Last summer, the same technology was employed in Sorrento, Italy, which enabled authorities of the Italian town to cut down cigarette butt waste by 69% and overall trash by 45%.

Future OneWeb LEO Broadband Satellites May Adopt Laser Links

Future OneWeb LEO Broadband Satellites May Adopt Laser Links

The UK MD for Defence and Space at Airbus, Richard Franklin, has reportedly said that future ultrafast broadband satellites from OneWeb could integrate lasers to help create an “unjammable” backstop for if a hostile country (e.g. Russia or China) were to ever launch attacks against our vulnerable undersea fibre optic cables.

After last week’s launch OneWeb now has a total of 146 small Low Earth Orbit (LEO) platforms in space and the initial plan is to build a constellation of 648 satellites, which is enough for a reasonable level of global coverage by around the end of 2022. After that they have future approval for a total of 2,000 satellites and 1,280 of those will be a second-generation model that sits in a higher Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) of 8,500km, but that would require much more investment.

After Brexit and Huawei, UK must weigh big bet on chips

After Brexit and Huawei, UK must weigh big bet on chips

When it comes to chip shops, the UK looks spoilt for choice. Some 19 “fabs” that produce semiconductors of one variety or another are sprinkled across the land, from Glenrothes in Scotland to Plymouth in the southwest.

It is even better served by designers of high-end silicon chips used in the most sophisticated gadgets. “We have the second-highest number of design companies outside the US,” says Andy Sellars, the strategic development director at the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult, a not-for-profit research and technology association that advises industry and government on semiconductor strategy.

Cambridge-based Arm, which designs processors used in most of the world’s smartphones, is perhaps the UK’s shiniest semiconductor asset. But other design jewels include Imagination Technologies, XMOS and Graphcore. Based in Bristol, the latter is working on what Sellars describes as the world’s most complex microprocessor. “It is an AI microprocessor with 59 billion transistors,” he says. “The chip in your phone has about 2 billion, and so this is about 30 times the complexity.”

Dstl UK is conducting debut sessions on virtual work experience

Dstl UK is conducting debut sessions on virtual work experience

Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) UK is conducting its introductory sessions on virtual work experience, in which over 60 pupils from across the country will be participating.

Organised over a period of three days, applicants participating are teenagers within the age group of 14 to 19.

The event will provide people with an understanding of what Dstl is all about, along with the science inside UK defence and security.

Key areas of work pertaining to space, cyber, psychology, chemistry, and energetics are included in the three-day event.

Speakers for Schools, an educational equality charity is collaborating with Dstl to offer virtual work experiences to British youth.

As in-person placements still appear unlikely, virtual work experience is the only avenue at present that connects young people with the world of work, giving them scope to consider different career possibilities.

6G: Vast and mysterious promises

6G: Vast and mysterious promises

I know what you’re thinking. “6G? He wants to blather on about 6G, when we barely have 5G?”
Point taken. But 5G’s seemingly interminable rollout should not preclude wildly premature and breathless anticipation over its successor. Let’s face it, the time will come when we’ll all be complaining about the limitations of puny little 5G. Plus, isn’t wildly premature and breathless anticipation the essence of technology publishing?

The first thing to know about 6G is that it’s still in the conceptual stage. Standards are several years away, and deployment may not come until 2030. Nonetheless, there is good reason for enterprises IT professionals to be excited about what 6G will enable once it’s widely available.

NaaS: Network-as-a-service is the future, but it’s got challenges

NaaS: Network-as-a-service is the future, but it’s got challenges

As-a-service offerings have been around for more than 10 years with roots that are decades older than that, and now this ever-expanding category of service offerings includes enterprise network-as-a-service.

NaaS enables enterprises to outsource network functionality at network Layers 4-7—such as software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) and application delivery controller (ADC)—as well as Layers 1-3, which includes switches and routers.

How to prepare for hybrid workspaces

How to prepare for hybrid workspaces

Hybrid working is set to become the future of the workplace. Some say working from home is now becoming the new normal. Today, I would agree with this statement, but as the world gradually opens up, the majority of us will eventually go back to our offices – even if it’s not every day. The return to offices will not happen overnight; it will be a gradual process as Covid-19 cases reduce, and remote working will become a part of common working practice.

Embracing flexible working technology has been critical for organizations during the pandemic, and now is the time to prepare for a new hybrid model, where teams will need to be able to work together both in person and remotely. This means employees will need to be ready to work just as effectively at home or in the office, and management teams need to prepare their workforces and offices for this flexible working arrangement.

This is not necessarily a straight-forward process. We all know that being forced to work from home has caused many professionals to feel isolated, battle with finding work-life balance and experience ‘burn out’ from working longer hours than usual, or juggle home life around work commitments. While breaking up remote working with some time spent in the office and freedom to spend our spare time differently may be a key part in improving this, there is still a risk of imbalance or feelings of exclusion when members of staff have different working habits to each other.

4 Trends That Will Drive Hyperscale Data Center Demand In The Next Five Years

4 Trends That Will Drive Hyperscale Data Center Demand In The Next Five Years

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know the data center industry is hot and getting hotter by the day. Every report, every analyst projection, and anyone who’s been in the industry for any length of time agrees that despite the global economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic – which prevented more than 60% of planned new facilities construction in 2020 – the data center industry is poised for significant and sustainable growth in the next four years.
While much of the industry focuses on traditional colocation facilities, enterprise and hyperscale data center growth is also expected to explode in the coming years, growing at an average of 21% per year through 2024. On the surface, it would seem that the surge in cloud adoption, increase in remote work and new technologies, and rising demand for data center facilities driving the growth in the colocation space would also be keys to hyperscale growth. But a deeper look reveals four emerging trends that are likely to be true drivers of hyperscale growth over the next five years.