Senior Airman Darrius Robinson, 455 Expeditionary Communication Squadron network technician, checks the network speed of a fiber which supports the Vulture Net morale wireless network on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, May 31, 2012. Robinson was part of the crew that expanded the Vulture Net coverage area. Robinson is deployed from Barkesdale Air Force Base, La., and is a native of Robbins, Ga. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jeff Nevison)
Lt. Col. Bob Poremski, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing deputy chief of Wing Plans and Programs logs on to Skype using the 455 AEW Vulture Net morale wireless network to watch a webcast of his son's high school graduation in California while serving at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, May 25, 2012. The network, a service provided by the 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron, enables deployed Airmen to stay connected to friends and family back home while they support military operations here. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Raymond Geoffroy)
A laptop connects to 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Vulture Net morale wireless
network at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, May 25, 2012. Airmen from the 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron worked with the 455th Force Support Squadron to triple the amount of free wireless bandwidth and increase the coverage area available to Airmen supporting military operations here. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Raymond Geoffroy)
by Tech. Sgt. Vernon Cunningham
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
5/31/2012 - BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- The 455th Expeditionary Communication Squadron and 455th Force Support Squadron teamed up to upgrade Bagram's Vulture Net; the morale wireless network service available at Morale, Welfare and Recreation areas and some work centers at Bagram.
The morale wireless network is available to all Airmen and any Marines or Navy service members who are hosted by the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing. The bandwidth was recently tripled and the network coverage area was expanded.
"Ultimately, everything is better," said Tech. Sgt. Song Chon, 455th ECS Network Management noncommissioned officer in charge. "It gives a faster service to our users. Skyping is a big deal out here for morale. You will now be able to get a better picture and better sound quality. Also, if people wanted to shop online, that can be done much quicker."
Chons's team of network managers worked out the technical solution and put the plan to improve and expand the network into place. They also worked with the 455th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron, who helped identify the need to expand coverage and helped decide what new areas needed to be covered.
"Anything morale related falls under FSS," said 1st Lt. Chasmine Jones, 455th ESFSS director of staff. "The nature of our job is to improve the morale, the life and well-being of all the troops that are serving over here in the AOR.
"BAF is a massive base," said Jones. "We want our customers to be able to feel like they can Facetime, Skype or use internet in their areas. Depending on where they are on Bagram it could be hard for them to make that connection with their loved ones back in the states and vice versa. That is where we came to Comm to look at the footprint and try to make it better."
With a larger coverage area come more user access spots. To further improve service, the network professionals tripled the internet bandwidth available to Bagram users. This increased speed and reliability for the morale wireless internet connection.
Capt. Ivan Brown, 455 ECS Operations Flight commander, said whether it is the wing commander directing his troops or Airmen having conversations on the morale side, the unit's job is to allow people to talk.
"We are trying to keep the base safe," said Brown. "It is important to have some time to decompress, whether it is surfing the internet aimlessly, talking to friends and family, or some kind of hobby they are researching. It gives them some time to put their energy in a different direction than the normal high-stress environment that we are dealing with day to day. Then they can come back to work with a fresh mind and approach."
Information about accessing the morale wireless network and locations for the expanded wireless network coverage is available to base users here.
General high-traffic hours are 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Peak high-traffic hours are from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Connections may experience some decreased quality during these time periods. Users should plan their web use accordingly.