FIFA Plays it Safe With the World Cup Network

15 Apr 2002
It's one of the most watched sporting events in the world. Billions of fans are expected to pack the stadiums and tune in by television when the World Cup kicks off late next month in Japan and Korea, where 32 countries will compete in the world's premiere championship soccer tournament. 
There will be plenty of action in the data centers, too: The World Cup will run its first-ever integrated voice and data network, straddling Japan and Korea. It's the first time the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup has been held in two countries, and building the network meant melding two systems: the Japanese portion of the network is an ATM WAN, and the Korean, frame relay. 
But from the opening whistle, the network got off to a slow start. In 2001, the Swiss firm that owned the marketing rights to the World Cup went bankrupt, which delayed the contracts for the network. That left FIFA and Avaya, the lead vendor and architect, with only about 10 months — half the time it usually takes — to build the network for the 40,000 users at the event.