The explosive growth of collegiate eSports, part 3

Here’s a quick look at the technology behind the game

In terms of spectators, SUNY Canton’s new eSports arena features a production station where an announcer can broadcast the games live on Twitch. However, these streaming features, which are critical for attracting gamers, spectators, and advertisers, broadcast every glitch or delay. Spectators are less likely to tune in, and advertisers are less likely to pay, if there are lags and delays during the viewing experience. Having a strong, reliable connection is essential in keeping spectators and advertisers happy.

To address these challenges and ensure its eSports program was set for success, we deployed Extreme’s suite of solutions. This included high-bandwidth, low-latency Wi-Fi and ExtremeSwitching for high-performance connectivity. Extreme Management Center and ExtremeControl were installed to simplify control over network activity anytime, anywhere. The college also deployed ExtremeAnalytics for increased visibility and insights on users and devices on the network.

Harnessing the power of network analytics
Popular eSports games like Fortnite, Overwatch, League of Legends, and others take up more campus bandwidth than any other application on the network. Schools with eSports programs need to pay special attention to their networks to allocate appropriate bandwidth to these activities. If not properly monitored, eSports players will suffer from game lags, putting players at a major disadvantage during competitions.

Using network analytics, IT staff can keep track of bandwidth distribution across campus and ensure arenas are prioritized and receive proper bandwidth during games for a seamless experience. Wi-Fi network analytics are also essential to ensure quality of experience. They enable IT staff to manage and monitor all connected devices, including unauthorized devices or connections that could interfere with the game.

Beyond ensuring proper bandwidth and reliable connectivity, there are unique environmental characteristics in gaming facilities that IT teams must account for. To get ahead of these inherent challenges, schools can take advantage of AI-powered networks that automatically adapt to changing situations and learn over time. For example, Wi-Fi signals can change based on how many people are in a room and even what they’re wearing. AI algorithms can ensure that despite the changing characteristics of the environment, every user gets lightning-fast connectivity without delays or glitches. From a staffing perspective, AI can help schools with limited IT staff save money by taking on these formerly labor-intensive optimization tasks.

Ensuring a successful eSports program
The eSports market is only growing. As schools adopt eSports programs, the first area to be addressed is their network infrastructure. Without a reliable, high-performance wired and wireless network, schools could be setting themselves up for failure. To be successful, the network throughput network must be high, and eSports arenas and labs of every size must be equipped with the right components—from wired switches to wireless access points to deliver signals and the analytics responsible for tracking network activity. Once the proper infrastructure is in place, schools are at a significant advantage to recruit and retain talent—and to win.

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