Virtual reality company relies on Meraki network for gaming experience
Network issues decreased by roughly 50% since implementing Meraki
Thousands of TBs of data flow smoothly through Meraki network daily
Growing a team of 1 to a team of 26 and one site to global locations in a single year is certainly no small feat for any organization. Yet, Melbourne-based Zero Latency has been able to accomplish just that. Imagine placing a virtual reality (VR) set onto your head, carrying a backpack PC, and walking into an empty warehouse space with 5 of your friends, who you will soon consider comrades. From there, a game master turns the game on and you step into another world. Every motion you take, every direction you face becomes your new reality, though you are in an empty, unmoving room. In your head, you are in a zombie-infested city, where your senses are completely awakened. With its VR simulation technology bringing players’ conscious minds to a science-fiction world, Zero Latency has been able to transform VR technology beyond living rooms and into established event venues, where groups of people can play games competitively. Another portion of the business lies within the real estate space. With this technology, home or apartment buyers, sellers, and development planners can see and give demonstrations to walk through the exteriors and interiors of buildings, as if they’re seeing the homes in-person.
As Zero Latency completed its first crowdfunding campaign, Hunter Mayne, the Lead Systems Engineer, was intrigued with the use of the technology in a new arena and how it was being brought to the masses. Similar to the founder, Mayne could see the possibilities of VR beyond the commonly-mentioned use cases, and reached out to the founder to see where he could help with his extensive IT background. With that, he became Zero Latency’s first employee. Today, Mayne’s IT team consists of 4 people who look after everything from equipment deployment to support tickets. 2 on the team focus on maintaining the network and keeping a pulse on the Meraki dashboard at all times.
Prior to implementing Meraki, the network consisted of a hybrid of products, none of which were enterprise-grade or able to be managed remotely, two key qualifications of the IT team. They also needed a system that would allow for high bandwidth and low latency connections over the wireless links.
We were making huge amounts of changes very quickly and the lack of visibility and management made it impossible to identify the root cause of problems.
Lead Systems Engineer
Upon evaluating Meraki by attending a webinar and getting his hands on some trial equipment, Mayne saw that “with cloud management and the quality of the equipment, there was no contest.” He kept the trial gear for the initial deployment, which included a few MR Access Points and MS Switches, all of which were deployed in two days within the Melbourne site. The network was quickly up and running, and the team could easily make adjustments, as needed. After a few months, with some tweaks to settings and features within dashboard, the network perfectly fit the dynamic environment that they aimed to create for guests. Additionally, once Meraki was implemented, the level of network issues decreased roughly 50% from what they had seen with the previous ad hoc system. Wireless communications were much smoother and instances with wireless dropouts went away overnight. “We are so reliant on wireless links, these Meraki APs have been a godsend.”
The level of features it [Meraki] gave us really were stronger than the other devices we looked at.
Lead Systems Engineer
When the company was first founded, there was always a vision that as it grew, it would deploy the same set of VR gaming and networking gear to each location, regardless of where it was in the world. With Meraki, Mayne is able to support a growing network infrastructure globally, as he can place an order with Meraki, have it delivered to a remote branch, ask someone on-site to plug it in, and every piece of equipment will download its pre-configured settings from the cloud. This bonus, along with the deep visibility into the network, provides the IT team with immense confidence in maintaining a stable, reliable network globally.
At the Melbourne site, there are two separate networks. One runs the more complex game system to support guest experiences, while the other runs the office network to support staff members. All backpack PCs and VR gun controllers connect to the wireless network, while communicating back to the central game server to operate the experience. The bulk of Meraki equipment is involved in handling and transferring the thousands of TBs of data that flow across the network every day. Additionally, to ensure that groups of players don’t run into each other in the warehouse space, there are 120 cameras connected to the network, all of which are continuously tracking the locations of players and communicating it back to the central game server. With the innovative gaming system in place, a crucial wireless network serves as the backbone to make these experiences come to life.
With heavy reliance on Meraki APs, Mayne loves using the spectrum analysis tools to ensure that there is always high performance wireless and that interference is at a minimum. Having the ability to view wireless interference in the area in real-time is critical to the team. Also, being able to see what devices are connected, the data rates, and the packet capture rates are helpful when it comes to diagnostics and troubleshooting.
When it comes to Meraki switches, the main benefit to the team is the immense visibility. While the IT team can drill down into technical specifications and analyze traffic, they can also download data charts within the dashboard to share with the larger team at Zero Latency, always ‘wow-ing’ them with how much data is used in their daily operations. The team is able to use the Meraki dashboard to provide proactive support, as they usually know when something is wrong before receiving any tickets or questions. With the alerts activated in the dashboard, the team is always up to date on anything that is negatively impacting the network, regardless of where they are in the world.
The expansion of Zero Latency’s business is imminent and the IT team is now well equipped to handle it with the Meraki cloud managed solution as they manage all networks centrally from Melbourne, and later from the US as well. They’ve also implemented Systems Manager mobile device management. All backpack PCs are enrolled in Systems Manager, making it incredibly easy for the team to diagnose issues right away. Additionally, they can use the remote desktop feature to gain an extra level of visibility on these devices. As the organization grows and deploys more gaming equipment, asset tracking features within the centralized dashboard will certainly come into use as well, particularly with scattered remote branches.
The Zero Latency business is certainly gaining traction worldwide and the Meraki cloud managed solution is serving as a scalable partner to support the growth every step of the way.
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