Cisco broadcasts HD videos images of the Commonwealth games.

E. Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on January 11, 2011

Sandeep Raina   -  Businessline

The recently held Delhi Commonwealth Games 2010 was a great success for India -- winning more gold medals and organising the event with grandeur. The opening and closing ceremonies will be in memory for a long time.

Millions of television viewers cherished every moment of the games thanks to technology in the background by Cisco to broadcast high definition (HD) videos and images of the games.

Many firsts

The CWG 2010 was the first global project where huge volume of HD uncompressed video (~400Gbps) was broadcast to help viewers witness uninterrupted high quality video of the games, said Sandeep Raina, Senior VP, India & SAARC, Cisco.

Cisco deployed its largest ‘Internet Protocol (IP) Next Generation Network’ Medianet solution – this combines video technologies in home, business, and service provider networks -- for any sporting event at the CWG 2010, he said.

Also, for the first time in the history of broadcasting, a disaster recovery site was deployed for the main studio (IBC) for the HD uncompressed video contribution service using IP multicast technology. This solution enabled the Government of India and CWG Organising Committee to deliver games applications, communication services and standards of collaboration services to athletes, officials and guests from all over the world, he said.

The services were delivered on the communications network from MTNL and the implementation was undertaken by HCL Infosystems. The deployment included ‘quad-play architecture’ that bundles mobile, fixed-line, Internet and TV services into one package. The Cisco unified communication and collaboration solution was provided through 3500 IP phones including high-end video phones, he said.

Complex network

Sandeep says Cisco’s IP NGN infrastructure had two separate networks – Managed Data Network (MDN) and Broadcast Network (BN). Both the networks were built on IP MPLS technology to deliver multiple services concurrently. The core of the networks was built using 12 high-speed Cisco CRS-1 routers that were located at four locations in Delhi to create the information super highway. The four core locations had connectivity between each other on multiple high-speed links of 40Gbps and 10Gbps bandwidth, he said.

Separate networks

Broadcast network – this was the most critical one that carried live video from the various gaming and non-gaming venues to a central broadcast centre set up at Pragati Maidan. In this centre Cisco had all the international broadcasters (Right holder broadcaster). Cisco created a network, which was redundant, secure and carried ‘uncompressed high definition’ video feed from the stadium at some of the non-gaming venues like India Gate, Qutub Minar and Lal Kila (Red Fort), and from there the broadcasters sent to their respective channels. It created this IP Network from all the 49 venues.

Security Data Network: This was required to provide the surveillance solutions. There were a lot of surveillance cameras across the stadium and across the city in places like markets, entry – exit points and periphery of the stadium. The network was required to carry this surveillance traffic to the police headquarters from across the Delhi NCR. Cisco carried this traffic to make sure it is 100 per cent redundant and provide services without any congestion.

Games Data Network: It was set up to provide the Internet access, facilitating some of the gaming applications, ticketing applications.

In addition to these networks Cisco set the contribution network (CATV network) where we were to connect almost 3,000 LCDs across the eight different venues like Ashoka Hotel, where anyone could watch live ceremonies. These LCDs were connected on a contribution network.

Voice over IP Network: A few government buildings wanted a network wherein they could pick up the phone and talk to anybody they want on extension. Cisco provided around 2000 plus phones and connected them over the VoIP network.

Security operation centre

The US-based specialist in networking set up a separate team that had many security specialists to monitor the live traffic coming at the Internet bearing points. This is to make sure if there is some kind of malicious attack or traffic, it should be proactively barred of prohibited and Cisco did witness multiple attacks.

Everyday a scan was run to check the vulnerabilities on the system, which were coming from all over the world. Security was one area that ‘we did not want to go wrong.’ Besides putting firewalls, Cisco protected the systems from ‘Distributed Denial of Service attack -- an attempt to make a computer resource unavailable to its intended users. Cisco brought experts from the Cisco security team from US before the games to check the vulnerability of the entire network, he said.

Cisco had 70 people working full time and brought in experts from the US and Australia to work on the project, he said.

Published on January 11, 2011

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