Why Olympic chiefs don’t want cutting-edge tech

The Olympics feature the best athletes in the world, but the organisation running the London Games doesn’t want cutting-edge technology.

Why Olympic chiefs don't want cutting-edge tech

All the network switches and other infrastructure supplied by Cisco to the games is at least two years old, at the request of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), to ensure it’s reliable and tested.

Ian Foddering, Cisco UK’s chief technology officer, revealed the company’s contribution to the Olympics – including thousands of switches, IP handsets and three massive virtual networks.

Q. What infrastructure has Cisco rolled out for the Olympics?

A. We’ve had some 2,200 switches and 16,500 IP telephony handsets that are deployed through the BT HUCS (hosted unified communication service), a cloud offering, all underpinned by Cisco technology – and that is an example for the first time of cloud technology deployed into an Olympic games. We also have WebEx being deployed… underpinned by Cisco cloud technology. The final cloud element is email security.

It’s an example for the first time of cloud technology deployed into an Olympic games

We have over 1,800 wireless access points… and we have in the region of 65,000 active network connections across the various Olympic venues around the country.

The different venues have been designed based on LOCOG’s requirements – LOCOG is basically the customer here – BT is the technical design authority for the network infrastructure, and we’re providing the network infrastructure equipment that’s helping pull all that together – the routing, switching, wireless, security and voice, that’s all our technology.

Q. Will any of those wireless networks be open to visitors?

A. What we have is three virtual networks that have been deployed within the infrastructure. One is called the games domain, that is for the timing, the data points and a lot of the information that’s presented.

The other is the office domain, providing all the connectivity for the LOCOG, as a business…. for employees to send emails to each other, just like any organisation would. The third element is about providing connectivity for a portfolio of services that LOCOG offers to all of the partners and organisations that are helping to deliver the games.

Q. How long has Cisco been working on this?

A. We’ve been engaged now for four years. The equipment has been in since the Games Ready events that were run [earlier this year].

That infrastructure has been in a long time, and since then they’ve been testing it, going through scenarios – let’s assume a fibre connection gets broken, a JCB drives through it or whatever, all of these scenarios.

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