SD-WAN Key to Sky TV's Rio 2016 Olympics ICT strategy

August 24, 2016

By Michael Guta, Contributing Writer

Considering all the things that could've went wrong at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the event pretty much went without a hitch, and it was considered a success except a couple of glitches here and there. For Sky TV, which was broadcasting the games, the deployment of the Citrix NetScaler SD-WAN platform provided the necessary technology to manage the random network capacities, tools and data it needed to deliver that different events for its audience around the world.

One of the challenges in broadcasting the games from Rio was the infrastructure that was in place in the city. For sky TV this meant having a system in place that could quickly compensate if there was any type of disruption with the local network in Brazil. Citrix (News - Alert) was able to ensure the ICT needs of Sky would be addressed by providing the network resiliency it needed to address any potential risks.

The Citrix NetScaler SD-WAN was selected by Sky after several vendors were vetted for the job. According to Sky’s director of technology, Julian Wheeler, NetScaler was, "Easiest to deploy by overlaying our existing architecture without having to change the underlying network or modify our site layout in Rio. We’re already looking beyond the games to see how SD-WAN can support big sporting events in the future."

NetScaler SD-WAN helps organizations increase WAN throughput while accelerating enterprise grade applications to deliver better performance and availability for mission-critical services such as the one Sky was providing for its global audience. The platform has been designed to lower bandwidth requirements and increase performance with the flexibility of a hybrid WAN architecture.

NetScaler continues to maintain high performance even when a network link has failed by logically binding multiple MPLS, broadband and wireless network links into a single virtual WAN. It then measures and monitors each link for loss, latency, jitter and congestion continuously to ensure availability.

As noted by Wheeler, it simplifies IT with integrated appliance options to reduce server footprint and further expands WAN capacity with low-cost broadband connections, while maintaining MPLS-level quality and reliability. This gives organizations a total cost of ownership that continues to generate value because it is always looking for the most cost effective solutions in the marketplace to deliver services.

By lowering bandwidth consumption and optimizing the use of existing capacity, Citrix says enterprises can save on the ongoing bandwidth expenditure and serve up to four times more users, while reducing bandwidth consumption per desktop by up to 80 percent. This includes lowering traffic by up to 95 percent for bandwidth-hungry applications such as video viewing, file transfers, software distribution, backups and enterprise data replication.

The Paralympics don't generate the same number of viewers as the regular Olympics, but as they get ready to begin, Sky will be secure in knowing the Citrix NetScaler SD-WAN it has in place can handle the largest sporting event in the world.

Edited by Maurice Nagle