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World Cup wireless LAN holding up

World Cup wireless LAN holding up

Avaya is scoring a major goal at the World Cup soccer tournament in Korea and Japan this month.

The Lucent Technologies spin off built the world's largest wireless local area network to tie together 20 stadiums in Japan and South Korea and tens of thousands of volunteers and media during the world's most watched sporting event.

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Since it went live June 18, the massive IP-based converged voice and data network has carried four terabytes of information, roughly 75 times the volume of information stored in the Library of Congress.

"We have seen four to five times more network traffic than a large Fortune 500 organization," said Doug Gardner, who is heading the Avaya network project.

Avaya, which makes communication equipment and software for integrating voice and data services and network cabling, Basking Ridge, N.J., donated the network to the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), which needed it to handle a number of tasks.

One of the most important was providing organization and management communications between FIFA and the organizing committee offices in Japan and Korea. The network also had to manage the credentials for the 40,000 volunteers and media representatives at multiple accreditation centers in Korea and Japan. Match officials and the media used the network to track and report match statistics. The network was also to be used for generating computer graphics and running Internet Protocol (IP) telephones between the numerous venues.

Girard Gouillou, director of IT projects for the FIFA World Cup, said he is very impressed with the network performance and the cooperation he and his FIFA IT team are getting from Avaya. The network is being administered by FIFA's five IT personnel in Switzerland and 12 World Cup event network personnel in Korea, and Japan. About 500 other network engineers from the Korean and Japanese organizational committees have helped keep the network running.

The project took about eight months to implement and Avaya invested about $100 million in the project, which is expected to be used by FIFA during the 2003 Women's World Cup and the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Gardner said the biggest obstacles encountered when implementing the project were business culture and language issues.

"There were some business culture things that made things a little more difficult, not that it was a problem, just more difficult," said Gardner.

A mixture of technologies that had to be integrated for the project to be successful, Gardner said.

"We had to work with two service providers, NTT and Korea Telecom, and their different networks, one frame relay, the other ATM," added Gardner.

Gardner says that the FIFA-Avaya relationship is mutually beneficial: Avaya is gaining name recognition from the popular sporting event and FIFA is being provided with technology to make the World Cup a world-class event.

Gouillou said FIFAI chose Avaya to build the network over many other vendors, which had the technology and equipment to build a suitable network, because the company was so enthusiastic.

"Being able doesn't mean that you have the will to do it, when FIFA and Avaya began to talk together it was obvious that the spirit was there, Avaya was willing to do whatever it took to make the World Cup a success," said Gouillou.

Gouillou said FIFA will save money on its communications thanks to the network.

"In addition to traditional data traffic, the FIFA network is carrying an average of 100,000 IP phone calls a day. By routing voice calls over its own data network, FIFA has simplified its network administration and has reduced the cost of connecting the stadiums and FIFA remote headquarters for a cost savings conservatively estimated at more than $200,000 over the month-long event," said Gardner.

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