Tour de France: Meet the tightrope walker that keeps cycling's travelling circus online

Tour de France: Meet the tightrope walker that keeps cycling's travelling circus online

Summary: When the Tour races into town, it also brings 12 tonnes of tech with it to keep operations running smoothly - take the tour.

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TOPICS: Networking
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  • Away from the cameras the Tour looks more like a truck stop writhing with all manner of cables. There is plenty of wi-fi around too, but solid connections are still essential — up to 25km of cable to support the 12 tonnes of IT infrastructure that needs to be moved daily.

    "Today is a difficult stage and we connect 12km of cable just on The Mall. It is very complicated like an alpine stage, because this area is very long," he explains, and stewards must scour the course for any tiny pieces of debris that might cause problems for the riders.

    But across the epic journey, awkward spaces are among the least of the challenges. "We have snow sometimes and trucks run on your cable and cut your cable, many things," Terreaux says.

  • The 500 connections on the finish line are all routed through this truck, one of the 120 lorries' worth of kit that the Tour carries with it.

    "If you disconnect this — no commentary," Terreaux says. "This truck is very, very important to the race."

    The truck also provides IP connectivity for broadcasters (70 percent of video is sent via fibre, the rest via satellite).

     

  • This is the commentary building which hosts 20 positions for radio upstairs, and 20 for TV downstairs.

    Among the needs of the Tour — a fibre optic network in the press centre and technical area at a constant speed of 2Gbps for the press and other professionals, plus a set of dedicated wi-fi networks for organisers, journalists, television channels, photographers, and commentators. For the UK stages, that meant an extra 21 international gigabit Ethernet circuits between England and France.

    Because the press centre is often kilometres from the end of the race, interviews with the riders are done via high definition video conferencing using a 20Mbps connection between the 'interview bus' to the press room.

     

Topic: Networking

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