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Wireless and VoIP feature heavily in the communications network for the World Cup, which was completed by networking supplier Avaya last week.

Avaya's converged Internet Protocol (IP) network features 40,000 connections and an estimated two million metres of cabling among 20 stadiums, two international media centres and two FIFA remote headquarters locations. It will be used to schedule games, accredit participants, report results, track materials inventory, confirm accommodations and maintain security systems.

The accreditation system has been operating in Korea and Japan since May 5, following the successful completion of live simulation testing.

Tens of thousands of officials, volunteers and journalists, watched by an estimated two billion footie fans worldwide, are expected to use the network.

To accommodate a huge number of users economically, Avaya designed a series of separate virtual private networks (VPN) that were linked together to form the global VPN. Each sub-VPN serves as its own private tunnel through the Internet to deliver secure communications via shared IP lines, rather than using more expensive private leased lines.

The VPNs are linked via a combination of Avaya Enterprise Class IP Solutions (ECLIPS) and multi-service networking products, applications and services. Avaya also established wireless local area networks (LANs) at media centres and both FIFA headquarters locations.

Onsite systems were tied together via Avaya GigaSPEED cabling, optical fibre and Cajun backbone data switches, while KT and NTT long-distance network services were used to create the end-to-end global network.

Journalists and FIFA officials can use Avaya-provided IP telephones to dial into the converged network from anywhere involved in the tournament via laptop computers to send files, manage e-mail, transmit faxes and simultaneously talk over wired or wireless connections.

Security was a key issue in developing the network, not least because teams will be keen to avoid leaked details of squad line-ups falling into the hands of the opposition prior to games. To cater for this, Avaya has provided a single platform for security management featuring the installation of Secure Management Servers, IP Security client software and "its most powerful firewall".

New-Jersey based Avaya is an official sponsor for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, the FIFA Women's World Cup 2003 and the 2006 FIFA World Cup tournaments. Networking equipment for the last World Cup, France98, was supplied by Hewlett-Packard. ®

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