Image credit: QTNet
eSport enthusiasts are finding each other and competing in all types of new and exciting venues. What had been a limited space for groups of players and viewers has grown from 335 million in 2017 to a total eSport audience of 465 million in 2021, according to Newzoo. By 2024, the audience is expected to spike to 577 million. The overall growth, which has traditionally been located in Northern America and Western Europe, is expanding globally.
QTnet, which provides telecommunications and IT services throughout Kyushu, Japan, entered the eSports market hoping to capitalize on this growth space at its large-scale eSports complex in Tenjin, Fukuoka. The complex includes a stadium that holds up to 5 vs. 5 matches, a public play area, a booth for video streaming, a study room for learning about eSports, a store, a cafe, and other amenities. The "esports Challenger's Park" (Challepa), serves as team Sengoku Gaming’s home stadium.
What makes eSports so appealing for players at Challepa is the chance to compete against others from all over the world while in Japan via a network connection. To fully enjoy the matches, network performance must deliver amazing gaming experiences. Fast response times and no latency are critical, as they can influence match results.
"In the world of eSports, even a difference of 10 milliseconds can be enough to cause a loss, let alone a difference of 100 milliseconds. We needed a high-quality network with a low latency of around 20 to 30 milliseconds in order for players to perform at their peak,” says Kei Nishida, Group Manager of the YOKA Professional eSports Business Group, Corporate Strategy Division, QTnet, in a Juniper customer case study.
More and more, gamers are playing eSports with smartphones and tablets, which require a Wi-Fi environment with low latency and high throughput. Security is also important for players and QTnet, but security can’t come at the cost of a positive experience. Gamers need a secure, streamlined connection that works across all types of devices and users—and doesn’t impair performance.
Image credit: QTnet
The Network as a Game Changer
All these requirements push network operations to maintain a high-quality and high-performance environment across both wired and wireless networks. To keep the network at top performance, QTnet decided to implement the AI technology built into Juniper Networks solutions. AI gives QTnet an advantage in maintaining a trouble-free network that is capable of recovering quickly in the event of a failure.
Juniper highlights a self-driving network that uses AI and ML to reduce network incidents, helpdesk tickets, and onsite visits—without human intervention. A combination of real-time insights about users, devices, and applications help prevent performance lags and network issues. Automated configuration, troubleshooting tools, and a virtual assistant support AIOps needs.
"Mist, which is entirely cloud-based, has an easy-to-use web interface.Because it is AI-driven, we can maintain a stable Wi-Fi environment. We believed that by integrating Juniper into the facility, we could significantly reduce operational load while also providing a high-quality user experience for both players and the general public," Nishida says.
The goal, according to Nishida, was to "design a network that would be an integral part of the facility." By focusing on simplicity, facility staff can easily maintain the network and restore it in the event of a failure. The network is also adaptable enough to accommodate future improvements to the facility and services.