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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

Using Layer 3 will let Avaya's network operators serve many more endpoints than they could in Vancouver. Each device logging in will get its own media access control address: Avaya will use pre-installed 802.1X certificates, the MAC address, or a captive portal to authenticate the device, while controlling the access level and bandwidth with the company's Identity Engines software.

Avaya is also providing voice services and 6,500 voicemail boxes at Sochi using Avaya Aura Communication Manager (CM), Session Manager (SM), System Manager (SYMGR) and CM Messaging.

Challenges
Moving goods into Russia can be time-consuming in the best of situations. But moving massive amounts of equipment in time for the Games has been a real challenge for Avaya.

"This is why we have had people in Sochi for the past 18 months, to keep things coordinated and to make sure supplies get where they need to be," says Frohwerk. "You can't leave things to chance."

Even with this level of supervision, it's been a nerve-wracking experience for Avaya, like the time one of its equipment trucks lost radio contact for days while travelling through rural Kazakhstan.

Another truck arrived in Sochi with unprotected/uncushioned computer hardware after driving over hundreds of miles of bumpy, rough roads. "In both cases, the equipment finally arrived in usable shape," he says. "But we had a few tense moments there for sure."

Another challenge is training. In line with their agreement with Avaya's Russian partners, the company is training 170 Russian technicians to provide Tier 1 and Tier 2 network support during the Games. A 30-person team from Avaya Global Support Services will provide Tier 3/4 support from Sochi's TOC, supported by Avaya R&D staff around the world.

The training of these Russian technicians is under way and Avaya staff has rotated on site to "train" for the Olympics.

"We are doing our best to be well-prepared for whatever the Games throw at us," Frohwerk says. Avaya's outdoor systems are designed to handle extreme weather: "We're not worried if it snows," he says. "In fact, we hope it does, because these are the Winter Games, after all."

At press time, Avaya had completed installing all of its equipment in Sochi. The company is now moving into test mode, pushing the network's limits by putting it through multiple types of failure scenarios.

Apres ski
After the games end on Feb 23, much of Avaya's infrastructure will be removed. But the telecom facilities it has built for the Games including the telephone and IP networking for the Olympics skiing venue in the Caucasus, where a new resort town is being erected, will remain.

The company will also be helping to develop telecom facilities for the Grand Prix auto races that will held in Sochi later in 2014, and soccer matches there that will be part of the 2018 World Cup.

"We will be leaving behind quite a legacy telecom system when we leave Sochi," says Frohwerk.

 

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