UEFA Euro 2012: Key ICT Partners Stay Close to the Pitch

S. O'Boyle

S. O’Boyle

Summary Bullets:       

  • Being local and having staff available to UEFA at its key sites is as critical to the organization as the ability to be a good partner that can support its ICT system.  What’s often overlooked as we get caught up in technology is that the human touch and ability to anticipate and solve problems quickly counts for a lot with customers when it comes to contract renewal time.
  • With full ownership and control of its network, Interoute offers customers high-performance services, fast provisioning times and competitive pricing.  Interoute has significant network assets spanning 100 European cities and featuring 21 MANs across Europe, as well as PoPs in Eastern Europe, which is a key requirement for UEFA.  Ownership of eight data centres and strength in hosting services has evolved into an expanded cloud services portfolio.

It’s showtime for UEFA (Union of European Football Associations), as Euro 2012 is now underway in Poland and Ukraine.  The two Eastern European countries will play host to 16 teams and an expected 1.4 million football fans over the course of the competition which happens just once every four years.  The total predicted global TV audience for Euro 2012 (including qualifiers) is 4.3 billion, and it’s not just football on the pitch, as so much work goes on behind the scenes at the big stadiums, including security, emergency services, catering to journalists and broadcasting networks and the supporting technology and communications. The International Broadcasting Center (IBC) in Warsaw is the temporary home to all the key broadcasting and press outlets covering the event as well as UEFA’s ICT team.  This is a live event where no downtime can be tolerated.  UEFA does not take chances, even with the power grid, relying on diesel generators instead to power its ICT during the event. Read more of this post

Beating Wired Psychology with 4G/3G Fixed Wireless Broadband Access

B. Washburn

B. Washburn

Summary Bullets:

  • Mix 4G, 3G, CPE, and processes: wireless broadband can be drop-in T1 competition.
  • For enterprises having a tough time accepting wireless, a trial should be simple.

With carriers’ 4G build-outs progressing, will wireless data finally become an eligible alternative to traditional T1 access sales?  Fixed wireless as an alternative to copper or fiber has been around practically forever: see microwave.  Widespread 3G rollouts sparked wireless carriers’ interest in adapting mobile wireless broadband for fixed applications, a cheap and easily deployed alternative to microwave systems.  In 2007, carrier support of Cisco Systems’ 3G high-speed WAN interface card (HWIC) for its Integrated Services Routers (ISRs) helped legitimize the practice.  Besides direct sales by major providers AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint, CLECs, network aggregators, and international carriers doing business in the U.S. have jumped on board with the major wireless providers.  Among businesses, fixed access for 3G wireless broadband has been a smashing success – sort of.  The “sort of” is because most of the time, 3G fixed wireless broadband is in the back seat.  The technology wins jobs such as backing up primary (wired) access; fast-in, temporary connectivity until wired service is in place; or as a primary connection, as a last resort.

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Your Friendly Neighborhood 100 Gbps Modem

B. Washburn

B. Washburn

Summary Bullets:

  • 100 Gbps wavelength deployment appears to be picking up, a year later than expected.
  • A good deal of optical gear is using 25 Gigabaud modem techniques to achieve 100 Gbps.

I have been on the fence about 100 Gbps wavelengths for a while now.  Sure, the technology will become mainstream eventually.  However, 10 Gbps long-haul waves came through the door years ago and ramped up fast; they are cheap and plentiful on competitive routes.  Meanwhile, major U.S. service providers touted that they would add 100 Gigs commercially by late 2010, but well into 2011, the U.S. service providers as a whole had only confirmed operating a handful of 100 Gbps terrestrial routes internally.

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Squeezing Maximum Juice Out of Your Corporate WAN

J. Stradling

J. Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Your network service provider should be able to provide applications performance management and WAN optimization.
  • Poor applications performance damages corporate productivity; meanwhile, understanding how applications are performing and behaving should lead to cost savings and a faster network.

Like going to the dentist, IT managers should be encouraging their data network suppliers to work together to conduct regular network performance audits to learn about how the data WAN is running between all connected business locations, including data centres.  Performance on off-net, IPSec-connected sites continues to raise challenges, but all of the major telecom companies, including AT&T, BT, Telefonica Multinational Solutions, Tata Communications, T-Systems, Orange Business Services and Verizon, for example, now support broad ranges of applications performance management and WAN optimization/acceleration tools, which can help considerably to improve applications response times over the available bandwidth.  Typical third-party partners that carriers use for delivering such services include Bluecoat, Cisco, Juniper, Ipanema and Riverbed.  Just to frame what one could be missing: A major European carrier has claimed 20 times faster WAN response and 63% bandwidth reduction following one such consultation.  Applications performance is also evolving rapidly for mobile networks and devices; a handful of telcos are deploying a Gomez (Compuware) platform to assess end-user experience from mobile devices to corporate Web sites and Web applications, whilst Riverbed provides acceleration to mobile users using a ‘Steelhead Mobile’ client.

With Poison in the Well, Is It Time to Head for the Cloud?

B. Ostergaard

B. Ostergaard

Summary Bullets:

  • Poison in the Well: APTs threaten basic Internet trustworthiness
  • Head for the cloud (services), but look for open standards to avoid vendor lock-in

Network-centric cloud services are emerging as the new computing paradigm for performance-hungry, cost-conscious business customers.  Recent surveys show that businesses are looking at the full span of private, hybrid and public cloud services in their adoption plans.  Yet, most IT security professionals express serious and legitimate concerns about the security of cloud services, as well as how cloud adoption can adhere to corporate governance, risk and compliance (GRC) policies.  IT security professionals are also increasingly alarmed by advanced persistent threats (APTs) that are undermining the very structure of the public Internet.

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When Slower Is Better: Low-Speed Ethernet Access Gains Ground

B. Washburn

B. Washburn

Summary Bullets:

  • Copper-based Ethernet has two primary flavors, with differing characteristics
  • For sourcing copper-based Ethernet, look beyond those making the most noise

Enterprises want Ethernet: easy, cheap, fast Ethernet access into which they can plug, without dealing with leased circuit transport details.  Carrier Ethernet access is easy enough to get at addresses served by fiber.  However, addresses served by copper are also coming online, with two Ethernet flavors: