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Avaya builds massive Wi-Fi net for 2014 Winter Olympics

James Careless | Dec. 17, 2013
BYOD for 30000 people creates extraordinary network demands

"But we expect this equation to turn on its head at Sochi, with wireless being the four and wired traffic being the one. That's why we have had to change our approach."

Another lesson from Vancouver, he says, is that "requirements evolve and change during the Games, and that you have to be able to adapt the network configuration to accommodate these changes. We have also seen that ease of use is paramount: With so much going on, network operators must find it simple to make changes on the fly."

In Sochi, Avaya's Wi-Fi network will be split into five virtual SSID-based networks. There will be one network for the athletes, two for media (one free, one paid), one for Olympics staff, and one for dignitaries.

Each group will have its own access password, and extra layers of password protection will be added where needed. The Wi-Fi traffic will be distributed using about 2,000 802.11n access points across the Olympics Game sites; including inside the stands for the first time.

The network will be headquartered in a primary Technical Operations Center (TOC) in the coastal city of Adler, alongside the Primary Data Center. The secondary TOC and Data Center will be at the Sochi Olympic Park, located 10 miles northwest at the Games site.

Each TOC will be in a 50-foot by 70-foot control room. While one TOC is in use, the other will be kept in standby mode by a skeleton crew. Each TOC will be connected to the outside world by 10GB pipelines provided by Rostelecom, Russia's national telecom operator.

"We have built the TOCs in separate locations to ensure redundancy in the case of a natural disaster or man-made incident," says Frohwerk. "Should the Adler TOC go down, we would simply send the next shift to the Sochi TOC and carry on."

The data and voice backbone is built on Avaya's Fabric Connect, an open virtualization platform based on IEEE 802.1aq Shortest Path Bridging that enables a network fabric within/between data centers and the sites they serve.

At the core of the network are four Virtual Enterprise Network Architecture (VENA)-enabled Virtual Service Platform (VSP) 9000 switches, one in each TOC and one more in each of the mountain cluster points of presences.

Using Avaya ERS 8800 switches located at the network's edge, the whole Sochi network will be virtualized at Layer 3 instead of Layer 2.

"Using a Layer 3 virtual software layer means that our switches can act intelligently locally, and do a better job of routing traffic," Frohwerk says. "This reduces traffic jams, which means more uptime and better network speeds. It's a step up from what we did in Vancouver, because the demands we're facing are so much bigger here."

 

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