World Cup network includes wireless links

Mega-network set up for supreme soccer tournament

The voice and data network deployed by Avaya to support the World Cup is the largest ever built for any sporting event, according to the networking company.

Avaya officials estimate 15 trillion bytes of data (the equivalent of 100 million printed books) will travel through the communications network during the 31 days the tournament takes place. The network connects 12 host stadiums; international media centres in Munich, Berlin and Dortmund, and the Berlin headquarters of FIFA, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association. Hotels, airports and train stations are also part of a network that is being used by fans, journalists, athletes and others monitoring the 64 soccer matches. FIFA officials estimate the World Cup has a potential audience of billions worldwide, taking into account the number of viewers who will watch multiple matches.

Avaya will not release the cost of the network, but spokeswoman Deb Kline says the company has spent US$100 million (NZ$159 million) on its sponsorships of men’s and women’s world soccer since 2001, including the current operation in Germany, as well as networks for the 2002 World Cup and the 2003 Women’s World Cup. The 2003 tournament had to be shifted suddenly from China to the US and Avaya was able to create a new network in less than three months, she says.

The converged voice and data network has about 45,000 connections and 30,000 network devices, and will support player and journalist accreditation, results reporting, materials tracking, ticketing and transportation, Kline says.

The network will also support wireless data transfers, including digital photos. The network is also deemed 99.99% available, based on more than 400 tests, according to Avaya.

Details on security were not released, but Avaya says software will allow technical experts to locate the source of any viruses or network intrusions.

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