- Entertainment company depends on reliable network performance for operation
- Meraki 802.11ac APs provide 3x faster speeds and a dedicated security radio
- SSID segmentation permits IT to enforce varying group policies
Most famously known for Angry Birds, the mobile game that has taken the world by storm with over one billion downloads, Rovio Entertainment is an entertainment media company headquartered in Espoo, Finland. Rovio has grown to 700 employees in offices around the globe and has expanded through acquisitions, partnerships, and investment into new business ventures. However, the IT team consists of just five people to manage the network and provide on-going support for this growing team.
“The company is producing mobile entertainment products and all devices, including employees’ devices, are heavily dependent on wireless network performance in their daily work,” explained Kalle Alppi, IT Director for Rovio Entertainment. With such a heavy reliance on WiFi, having a reliable and robust network is crucial to their business. However, the previous network was pieced together using systems from various wireless providers, each with their own management style and each lacking visibility. “We were missing the overall control and performance statistics,” explained Alppi. He needed to overhaul how Rovio’s network management was being handled. A cloud-based solution would provide the IT team with added flexibility in handling a distributed, world-wide deployment without having to physically be on-site to diagnose issues or perform basic maintenance.
Rovio had previously deployed some Meraki 802.11n APs in their Los Angeles offices and were familiar with the devices, but were drawn to the 802.11ac performance. Alppi deployed both 802.11n and 802.11ac models in a test environment to assess their coverage and user experience. With 3x faster wireless speeds using enhanced modulation, double the channel bandwidth, and radios dedicated to 2.4 GHz clients, 5 GHz, and dual-band security radio, the Meraki MR34 802.11ac access points were an easy choice. “We chose Meraki because it’s a promising technology,” said Alppi. “Our POC tests proved the product is an excellent fit for our needs.”
With Meraki we got a unified view of all our wireless networks, improved security, performance, and analysis tools to support our business.Kalle Alppi, IT Director
Alppi and his team deployed the Meraki wireless solution in 4 countries and the equivalent of 17 office floors. With the assistance of an electrician and their technology partner, the optimal location for each device was decided taking certain factors into consideration, including building layout, high-density areas, and usage type. For the main office, it took the team two days to configure and install the devices and just a single day at each of the other office locations. “The physical installation was quick and straightforward,” Alppi explained. “The devices are deployed to the main floor switches with several VLANs configured through single 1GB connections.”
The benefit of this being a cloud-based solution is that at any point during the physical on-site deployment of the devices, the team could configure the network settings in their Meraki dashboard. To optimize network performance and create a secure environment, guest traffic flows through an isolated VLAN on a segmented SSID, while corporate traffic has been divided between SSIDs based on user and device type. For instance, there are separate SSIDs for devices using the 5 GHz frequency, users with specific authentication requirements, and corporate devices needing specific configurations.
Each of the SSIDs can additionally be customized with per-client bandwidth limits, Layer 3 firewall rules, Layer 7 application firewall and traffic shaping settings, as well as a variety of other optimization settings. The granular settings enable the Rovio team to throttle down non-critical applications and prioritize those applications which are crucial to business operation. By monitoring network statistics and device usage, the team was able to fine-tune configurations in the weeks following the deployment, ensuring optimal performance and happy users. “With Meraki we got a unified view of all our wireless networks, improved security, performance, and analysis tools to support our business,” Alppi explained.
Rovio is also taking advantage of Meraki’s mobile device management platform, Systems Manager, on the company’s Windows and Mac OS X laptops. Systems Manager permits the IT team to keep an inventory of issued devices, remotely push applications, set device-based restrictions, and enforce security policies - all from the same dashboard used for managing the wireless network. “We were lacking this feature before,” commented Alppi. “It gives us many controls and reports to improve security and give better service to our business units.”
Having a cloud-based solution was important in the initial setup and configuration of the network devices, and it continues to be an integral part of the management experience. Because each location is visible in the unified dashboard, Alppi and his team are able to remotely ensure that each site has the proper settings, while also gaining deep visibility into how bandwidth is being used by application, user, or device type and making adjustments as needed with just a few mouse clicks. Because this is a production network, they have also configured automatic alerts to be sent in the event of a wireless threat or device problem. This visibility and control provides peace of mind for the team, as well as overhead cost savings at sites without on-site IT.
Over the past few years, Rovio has grown rapidly and with the Meraki solution, they can add capacity or add brand new locations in a matter of minutes. Any new devices they add to the network are seamlessly integrated, providing a scalable solution. Rovio is also looking into the Meraki Security Appliances, a unified threat management device that would provide added security and integrate into the same unified management they already enjoy. “The wireless network is operating smoothly and our visibility to our mobile service is better. We love the service,” said Alppi. “It’s an excellent fit for branch offices.”