Handling everything from players’ and journalists’ accreditations, to transmitting photos and match details around the world in real time, the converged network from Avaya, an official partner of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, achieved a halftime score that any football professional or fan would envy: a communication network that’s free of errors, and thoroughly prepared for the final phase of the biggest sports event in the world.

Avaya Inc. , a leading global provider of business communications applications, systems and services, is the official partner at the World Cup that pulls every player, every match, everything together with a champion communication network. The converged network — which combines voice and data on the same infrastructure — connects the 12 host stadiums, the stadium media centers in Munich, Berlin and Dortmund and the FIFA headquarters in Berlin. Players, coaches, volunteers and fans alike benefit from the network that is being used to issue accreditations for players and journalists, report results, track materials and inventory, confirm accommodations at FIFA’s official hotels, and maintain security systems.

According to Avaya, at the halfway point in the tournament, the network has performed flawlessly and without any downtime, which is critical for a highly visible event such as the FIFA World Cup. For example, for the first 20 matches, the cumulative worldwide television viewing audience was almost 1.26 billion people. The total of voice and data bytes transferred over the network since it went “live” on June 1 is 9.8 terabytes (or 9.8 trillion bytes of traffic). The average amount of traffic transmitted on Avaya network each day during the FIFA World Cup is 250,000 gigabytes. People have logged onto the converged communications network approximately 567,000 times, to date, and over 296,000 phone calls have been made on the network, which represents 632,297 minutes of calling time.

Thousands of people have been using the high-speed Wireless LAN access from Avaya that have made connectivity easy and convenient for staff working temporarily in an area of the stadium or FIFA Headquarters Hotel. Journalists and photographers working in the stadiums can quickly connect to the Internet via an Avaya wireless LAN network and send photos and stories directly from the field.

“Whether it’s our team of Avaya technical experts or the team of players on the field, the same rules apply: excellent preparation is critical to success,” said Andrea Rinnerberger, director of the Avaya FIFA World Cup Program. “For months, the network Avaya built for the FIFA World Cup underwent rigorous testing in configuration, fail-over and resiliency. You might say we were in ‘intensive training’ for the tournament. Achieving 99.99% network availability and reliability to date is the result of these high-powered IT ‘workouts’ that enable us to be fully ready for the expected and unexpected.”

The unexpected arrived for the Avaya team of technicians working at a match at the FIFA World Cup stadium in Munich when Argentine football legend Diego Maradona ducked into the stadium’s technical center to escape autograph seekers, and found himself surrounded by blinking monitors and racks of media servers and gateways that comprise the network Avaya built for FIFA. After his — and the Avaya team’s — initial surprise, the former football star was introduced to the world of high technology, with a tour of the network that Avaya deployed.

“It’s a ‘World Cup moment,’ but it illustrates Avaya’s dedication to being prepared for anything and everything,” Rinnerberger said. “We bring the same dedication to the enterprise customers we serve around the world.”