Avaya Delivers on Olympic-Sized Network

Michael Phelps. Usain Bolt. Simone Biles. We’re just a week away from watching these decorated athletes take the world stage at the Rio Olympic Games. With millions watching from around the globe, records will surely be broken in the pool, on the track, and atop the balance beam.

I love the Olympics. While the world struggles with so many negative events (including some that are plaguing the Olympic host city of Rio), every two years the Olympics remind us to be proud of our roots and our fellow countrymen, to support teammates and to strengthen bonds across cultures. It’s truly an event that inspires us to celebrate. There are quite simply no other events that come close to bringing us all together like the Olympics.

A Look Back: Avaya in Sochi

In 2014, Avaya had the privilege and challenge of building an Olympic network for the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. It was a significant undertaking. We needed to construct a brand-new network infrastructure under a tight, unmissable deadline (they wouldn’t postpone the Opening Ceremonies for us—I asked!). We needed to respond to an ever-evolving scope of work. The physical location of Sochi and limited means of access provided some interesting scenarios for equipment logistics. And, here’s the kicker, we needed to deploy and manage the world’s largest guest network. No pressure!


Let’s talk about that physical location. The Sochi Olympics were a first for Russia and the rural environment required that the infrastructure and venues had to be built from scratch with multiple organizations involved in delivering each location. The Avaya team worked ‘round the clock for two years to deliver on our network. Thanks to the vast expanse of the Olympic venues, we ended up creating the world’s largest Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) network via Avaya Fabric Connect. It was truly an amazing feat, years ahead of what others in our industry had been accomplishing.

Avaya Atop The Medal Stand

During the Games, we ended up serving 40,000 athletes, administrators and staff, media, International Olympic Committee officials and volunteers with data, voice and full Internet access. And we unveiled a number of firsts as the Official Supplier of Network Equipment:

  • Built our most ambitious network ever, a cutting-edge, multi-service, all-IP network that was able to support the demands of the first mobile device generation.
  • Supported 40,000 users with an estimated three devices per user.
  • Built seven separate (stealth) networks, virtualized and redundant and deployed with Avaya Fabric Connect.
  • Speed of up to 54 Terabits per second and linked by 90 kilometers of optical fiber.
  • First deployment of IPTV in Olympic history with 36 HD IPTV Channels.
  • 2,500 wireless access points.
  • 6,500 IP phones.
  • 50,000 Ethernet ports.

Phew…that’s a lot of firsts! If we were an athlete, we’d have plenty of hardware around our necks.

Olympic torch

So where are we now? You might think we plateaued at Sochi with our Olympic Network, but it was really just a blip in our Networking story. At the time of the Olympic Games’ closing ceremonies, we had 100 fabric deployments worldwide. That number has since grown to 700. And it’s safe to say we’ve expanded further than large venues. Our exponential growth is now evenly distributed across eight industries: education, government, hospitality, healthcare, finance, manufacturing, transportation and telecom. Avaya itself fits into that last bucket, with more than 200 fabric nodes deployed (and growing) internally by our own IT department while inter-connecting labs over a carrier IP MPLS network with Fabric Extend.

Avaya Networking Reaches New Heights

One of our biggest (literally!) accomplishments since Sochi happened in Dubai…about 1,500 miles south of the Olympic venues. Here you’ll find the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa and it’s outfitted with, you guessed it, Avaya Networking.

Burj Khalifa

The team responsible took a legacy network configuration and transformed it into a multi-tenant network split into logical domains with eight cores and four server farm layers. The complex implementation was completed without interruption to any services and zero downtime. Talk about reaching new heights!

I’m proud of our Avaya team for continuing to bring home the gold with every new Fabric deployment. And if you’re keeping track of our medal count, then you know we’re well ahead of the competition!