In Pictures: Avaya builds massive Wi-Fi net for 2014 Winter Olympics

BYOD for 30,000 people creates extraordinary demands on the network

  • Avaya engineers are putting the final touches on a network capable of handling up to 54Tbps of traffic when the Winter Olympics opens on Feb. 7 in the Russian city of Sochi.

  • ABOUT SOCHI Sochi is a sprawling city of 350,000 people located on the Black Sea. At 145 kilometers (90 miles), greater Sochi claims to be the longest city in Europe.

  • RUSSIAN RIVIERA Archeologists have found human remains in the greater Sochi area that date back tens of thousands of years. Today, Sochi’s subtropical climate makes it a popular Russian tourist spot.

  • GREENFIELD SITE The two locations where the Olympics will take place -- the Olympic village in Sochi and a tight cluster of Alpine venues in the nearby Krasnaya Polyana Mountains -- are completely new construction, so this project represents a greenfield environment for Avaya.

  • STARTING FROM SCRATCH In addition to investing in a telecom infrastructure, Russia is spending billions to upgrade Sochi’s electric power grid, transportation system and sewage treatment facilities. “The whole town is nothing but a constantly changing, $50 billion construction site; for instance we’ve seen the road outside our hotel be torn up at least four times. As for modern IT infrastructure? There was none to speak of. We have really had to start from scratch, right down to the laying of conduit before we could even begin installing fiber and cabling,’’ says Dean Frohwerk, Avaya’s Chief Network Architect.

  • BYOD The Sochi network will serve 30,000 athletes, administrators and staff, media, IOC officials, and volunteers with data, voice, video, and full Internet access through the Games sites. Adding to the challenge, “We expect these people to be carrying and using multiple wireless devices,” says Frohwerk. This means that we really have to have the capability to support up to 120,000 users on the Sochi Wi-Fi network, without issues or interruptions.”

  • HD TV Plus, Avaya has to deliver 30 IPTV dedicated HD Olympic channels via its telecom backbone, and has to make these channels available to Olympic family users over the converged network.

  • Redundant TOCs The Avaya 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. Each TOC will be connected to the outside world by 10GB pipes 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.

  • Switch fabric backbone The Wi-Fi network of more than 2,000 802.11n access points connects to a data and voice backbone running Avaya’s Fabric Connect solution, an open virtualization platform based on IEEE 802.1aq Shortest Path Bridging. 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 PoPs.

  • Moving up the stack Using Avaya ERS 8800 switches located at the network’s edge, the whole Sochi network will be virtualized at Layer 3. “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.”

  • 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 be 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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