The Black Sea coastal city of Sochi will be the venue for next year’s Winter Olympic Games. Russia’s largest resort getaway is also the site where business communication and collaboration systems provider Avaya Inc. is building one of its most challenging Wi-Fi network projects yet.
The company is putting the finishing touches to a network that will handled up to 54 terabytes per second of traffic for more than 30,000 athletes, International Olympics Committee officials and staff members, volunteers and media. who will need full Internet access, video, voice and data capability throughout the games.
Unlike Avaya’s previous 2010 Winter Olympic Games project in Vancouver, the company will be starting from scratch, according to Dean Frohwerk, Avaya’s chief network architect who is based in Ottawa.
The telecom and network services Frohwerk and his team built for the Vancouver Winter Olympic games was capable of handling only 4Tbps.
He also said that in Vancouver, they had to provision for only one device per user but in Sochi people will be using multiple wireless devices so they will actually need support for 120,000 users.
Russia is pouring in billions of dollars to upgrade Sochi’s telecom infrastructure, electric power grid, transportation system and sewage systems but as far as modern IT infrastructure is concerned “there was none to speak of” when Avaya began work, said Frohwerk.
Avaya will also be delivering 30 IPTV dedicated HD Olympic channels through its telecom backbone. IPTV support is an Olympic first on the network. It will eliminate the need for a separate CATV HFC network.
If there’s one thing Frohwerk’s team learned in Vancouver, it’s that requirements change throughout the games. Network operators need to be prepared to make changes and upgrade on the fly.
In Sochi, the Wi-Fi network will be split into five virtual SSID-based networks: One for athletes; two for media (one free, one paid); one for Olympics staff; one for dignitaries.
Each group will have its own access passwords and extra layer of protection when needed. Wi-Fi traffic will be distributed through 2,000 802.11n access points across the sites. For the first time, Wi-Fi will be available on the stands.
There will be a primary technical operations centre (TOC) in the nearby coastal city of Adler, alongside the primary data centre. There will be a secondary TOC and data centre at the Sochi Olympic Park 10 miles from the Games site.
Voice and data is built on Avaya’s Fabric Connect and open virtualization platform based on IEEE 802.1aq Shortest Path Bridging.
Four Virtual Enterprise Network Architecture (VENA)-enabled Virtual Service Platform (VSP) 9000 switches will be used. There will be one in each TOC and one more in each of the cluster points of presences.
Avaya’s ERS 8800 switches will be used at the network edge. The Sochi network will be virtualized at Layer 3 instead of Layer 2.
This set-up, Frohwerk said, will reduce traffic jams and will provide better network speeds.