Telstra works to fault proof Olympic networks

Telstra is not taking any risks with its networks during next year's Sydney Olympic Games.

In addition to existing network management tools and fully redundant networks, the telecommunications provider is deploying an additional monitoring system specifically for the Games.

This system will have the ability to pinpoint the exact location of faults and problems along the fibre-optic network, said Roger Johns, manager for assurance, broadcast and Olympic services from Telstra business services said.

Telstra is the official telecommunications provider for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Selected from a tender process about two years ago, Hewlett-Packard's Optical Fibre Monitoring (OFM) system will allow Telstra to monitor its Olympic fibre-optic network throughout Sydney.

Linked with MapInfo, a graphical satellite system, Telstra is able to visually pinpoint the location of the network outage down to the street location, Johns said.

The company is deploying the OFM system specifically to monitor the Olympic fibre-optic network, but may extend it throughout Sydney and other capital cities, depending on its performance following the Games, Johns said.

"It's fairly expensive," Johns said. "We will see how it runs. If it is useful, then we'll roll it out." Using it in conjunction with Telstra's existing Nicad (Network Integrated Computer Alarm Display) system, Telstra will be able to monitor its Olympic Millennium network from a single point in the technology command centre (TCC) of the Sydney Organising Committee for Olympic Games (SOCOG).

The Olympic Millennium network comprises several different networks to be used during the Games: the trunk radio, mobile, ISDN, Cable TV, PSTN and data networks.

According to Johns, the Telstra-developed Nicad system originally only monitored the telco's ISDN network, but has since been adapted to monitor other networks.

The TCC, operated by SOCOG, will be the nerve centre for Telstra's network, Johns said. Company staff at the centre will handle all calls relating to problems on the networks, except the Cable TV network, he said.

The telco and technology providers IBM, Fuji Xerox, Samsung, Panasonic and Swiss Timing will each be represented in the TCC, which will operate 24 hours a day from June 2000.

The centre is already in operation, but with limited capacity, Jones said.

According to Jones, Telstra will have about 150 staff working at the TCC, with 55 people working the day shift and 10 to 15 working at night.

Total staff for the TCC will be around 300, he said, including 10 help desk consultants; eight to 10 fault managers; and representatives from Telstra business units, who are specialists on specific networks.

In addition, three mobile repair trucks will be on the road to attend to and fix any faults.

According to Johns, the telco will operate a separate command centre from the International Broadcasting Centre to monitor the Cable TV. This centre is expected also to have 55 staff on board.