Cisco Securely Connects the Rio 2016 Olympics to the World

All roads to the Olympics start with a dream. For the over 15,000 Olympic and Paralympic athletes from 205 countries who congregated in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, it’s the dream of competing at the highest level possible. It’s also about standing on the podium wearing a gold medal while their country’s flag rises and the national anthem plays. For Cisco, as a proud supporter of the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio, it also starts with a dream: that when we securely connect everything, anything is possible. Supporting a global event of this size is a monumental task that demands a network like no other. The Rio 2016 Games required connectivity, bandwidth, security, and support for:

  • 37 competition venues
  • More than 100 support venues
  • 15,000 athletes
  • 70,000 volunteers
  • 9 million ticketholders
  • 25,000 media personnel
  • 123 network broadcasters from around the world

All this while delivering 170,000 hours of video content and providing infrastructure for 5 billion TV viewers – up from 4 billion viewers for the London Olympics in 2012. In short, if this network were competing in the Olympics, it would break world records. However, simply providing the infrastructure wasn’t enough. Cisco also had to provide effective security.



Rio Summer Olympics 2016
1,000+ Employees
Sporting Event
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  


"The challenge we faced at Rio 2016 was making memorable Games, and one crucial aspect was to provide uninterrupted connectivity to our athletes, guests, media, and critical systems, all while keeping everything secure,” said Marcelo Souza, Technology Systems General Manager of the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games. “We needed a vendor that could handle the traffic demands in a complex environment and deliver the security needed for such a monumental event."

Comparisons don’t come easy when we talk about a world stage event such as the Olympic Games. Securely connecting the Games required 60 tons of equipment and more than 60,000 hours of work. As the official networking and enterprise server supporter and supplier, Cisco deployed over 5,000 access points (a 400 percent increase from the London 2012 Games) and over 113,000 local area network (LAN) ports. Cisco also supplied 440 Cisco Unified Computing SystemTM (Cisco UCS®) servers, 480 vehicle routers, and 177 security devices. In addition, the Cisco network protected core activities such as accreditation, volunteers, sports entries and qualifications, and workforce management.

The network connected 183,044 unique devices of which 168,158 were wireless (92 percent of all devices). Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) and Cisco TrustSec technology were used to identify devices and segment accordingly. Any unrecognized device would connect to the guest network. Network traffic was extremely heavy – 2.144 petabytes of traffic over the course of the Games. To put that into perspective, it’s equivalent to 950,000 hours of HD video, which would take more than 110 years of nonstop streaming to watch.

At the network edge, Cisco Firepower Next-Generation Firewall and Next-Generation Intrusion Prevention System appliances prevented close to 7 million security events during the Games. On the network, millions of devices were monitored for anomalous activity through Cisco Stealthwatch®, and potentially vulnerable endpoints were identified and automatically segmented away from the rest of the network using Cisco ISE and Cisco TrustSec technology.

In a span of just 40 days, Cisco successfully secured and connected key networks that made the Olympic and Paralympic Games a resounding success. From London to Rio, to Tokyo and beyond, there has never been a better time to build an Olympic legacy.

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The result was an amazing experience for everyone in Rio. Cisco provided us with the connectivity and security that allowed Rio 2016 to connect with the world.

Marcelo Souza, Technology Systems General Manager