"Siemens were presented with the challenge of finding a solution to this problem in December 2004 by Telstra," says Marco De Luca, who works in Siemens' Telstra Solutions Group, and has worked closely with Telstra Global Business over the last few years.
Official FIFA World Cup free-to-air broadcaster SBS will rely on Telstra for all match telecasts. Siemens' solution to ensuring end-to-end service across disparate networks was the placement of devices called SDH (Synchronous Digital Hierarchy) multiplexers at either end of the signal path.
SDH multiplexing (SONET in America) is a flexible, high-speed communication technology that has been adopted as a global standard for digital signals carried across optical and electrical networks.
Traffic passing through the multiplexers is then monitored at both ends by a network management system, and via data collation the multiplexers' placement allows the receiving carrier to view the signal travelling across the various networks as a single unbroken stream. To enhance this model, with the co-operation of each network, multiple multiplexers can be placed within each network along the line. This provides the end carrier with the ability to narrow down communication problems by segmenting the view of the network stream.
A good analogy of the system is to think of two users wishing to communicate between networks, where the connecting networks are serviced by different carriers. Administrators at either end have to rely on the routing capabilities of those carriers, and have little control or information as to what's actually happening. Implementing a point-to-point VPN allows each end to view the data path as a single unbroken stream, even though it follows the same route as before. It also gives the administrators access to monitoring tools and the ability to proactively detect and troubleshoot problems.
Multiplexer units have been installed at the International Broadcast Centre in Munich and the Telstra exchange in Sydney -- the stream is then carried by Telstra to SBS' studios. The live stream is tranported from Munich to Telstra's site in London by Deutsche Telekom -- this site is manned by over 200 Telstra staff. It's then run via various networks, including the Reach network, on to Sydney. Both Munich and Sydney have one active plus one redundant multiplexer, ready to spring into action should the primary device fail. In Siemens' head office in Bayswater, Melbourne, there's a remote connection straight into the multiplexer in Sydney, allowing Siemens experts to be on-hand to provide technical backup and troubleshooting.