Successful Championship with world class wireless network
Holmenkollen Ski Jump is one of the world’s most technologically advanced winter sports arenas. A big part of the credit goes to Telenor Inpli for building a class leading wireless network at the arena. The network’s baptism by fire was the 2016 Biathlon World Championship.
As IT supplier to the Municipality of Oslo, Telenor Inpli was crucial in bringing World Championship at Holmenkollen in 2016 out to sports enthusiast all over the world.
Everything worked perfectly from a technical perspective when it accommodated an audience of 200.000, more than 100 accredited media professionals as well athletes, support teams and functionaries.
«The collaboration worked excellently and we are very satisfied. I am proud to say that the Biathlon World Championship turned out as an event of the highest international level»
Aziz Elkhou, Head of IT
Network and security health check
The Municipality of Oslo took over operation and maintenance of Holmenkollen in 2015. Telenor Inpli’s first assignment was to conduct a “health check” of the existing IT infrastructure.
“We soon realized that we needed to upgrade the arena’s IT infrastructure. The 2016 Biathlon World Championship was the first truly big event since the World Ski Championship in 2011, and IT had developed quite a lot since then. We therefore initiated Project Health Check”, says Aziz Elkhou, Head of IT at KID [the Municipality of Oslo].
Telenor Inpli was a supplier during the 2011Championship in as well, and has been a supplier to the Municipality since the Test Championship in 2010 – at that time, as a subcontractor to Telenor.
“Together we performed a troubleshooting of the entire wireless network, cable networks, firewalls and ensured that routers and communications could handle the massive pressure we knew they would be subject to. Once Project Health Check was completed, we ran three “disaster checks” to achieve a realistic risk assessment. We were therefore confident that we could handle the expected strain on the network”, he says.
The foundation for digitalized communication
Today’s media reality has raised the bar for IT and communications solutions at big sports events. An entire world follows the action simultaneously on TV, online, through smartphones and other devices. The demand for capacity is gigantic, which means all technical aspects need to work perfectly.
“Since the World Ski Championship in 2011 the need for capacity has increased dramatically, mainly because the media now deliver real time content. With the world as their audience, the media are very demanding customers”, he explains.
“It is an absolute must that we can provide IT solutions which handle live TV transfers, streaming and the continuous uploading of news articles online – as well as heavy image files uploaded directly from cameras via Wi-Fi to ftp servers. With national and international media all covering the event live, we simply cannot afford any margin of error”, Elkhou states.
All media content from the 2016 Biathlon World Championship was sent through Holmenkollen’s fiber network and out to sports enthusiasts worldwide – without any downtime.
“We experienced only one single incident with downtime ahead of the Championship, but were back up and running in less than a minute. In conclusion, everything played out as planned”, he adds.
«With national and international media all covering the event live, we simply cannot afford any margin of error»
Aziz Elkhou, Head of IT
The network was first used during the 2011 Championship, but was upgraded to meet more modern demands. Telenor Inpli has delivered all switches, routers and wireless access points at the arena, in addition to solutions for IT security, the platform for the wireless network and the telephone landline network.
During the 2016 Biathlon World Championship five different wireless networks were in operations: Two for functionaries with a maximum number of users of 850 and 500 persons; one for employees of The Association for the Promotion of Skiing (Skiforeningen) with approximately 100 users; one for press with approximately 250 users and finally one for press with older equipment with approximately 50 users.
The organizers experienced that some media used older equipment. Two networks for media were therefore created to provide the best possible conditions. That way media with equipment supporting 5GHz WLAN used one network, while media with older equipment only supporting 2.4GHz WLAN used the other.
Around 1.800 users were simultaneously connected to the wireless network at Holmenkollen at the most.
“Two zones were especially critical. One was the media center, the other the so-called “mixed zone” – the area the athletes pass through after having finished, and where they meet the media”, the Head of IT explains.
Due the Telenor Inpli’s experience from other big sports events, the Municipality of Oslo was confident that a collaboration would work well. They had previously delivered network solutions to other sports arenas, most notably to football stadiums Ullevål and Viking Stadion.
”The collaboration worked excellently and we are very satisfied. I am proud to say that the Biathlon World Championship turned out as an event of the highest international level” Elkhou ends.