Insomnia Gaming Festival Provides Network Access for Thousands of People with FS Networking Solution

Partnering with FS, Insomnia, the UK's biggest gaming festival, optimizes its infrastructure to build a reliable network that supports substantial traffic from more than 3000 computers.

A Golden Age for Insomnia Gaming Festival to Restart

When Mathew Burnett took on the role of a network engineer to run the Insomnia gaming festival, he realized it was time to refresh network equipment.

Insomnia 69

Insomnia gaming festival started in 1999 when there were only a handful of people coming together to play games. With the rapid development and popularization of the internet, game enthusiasts are emerging. The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating existing trends within the gaming industry, promoting the gaming marketplace to new heights.

However, offline e-sports tournaments and events have been severely affected. "It'd been a difficult time for events as none of them had been running," Mathew Burnett said.

Now, in the post-epidemic era, Insomnia Gaming Festival gets a golden opportunity to restart. Mathew said, "Today, nearly 23 years later, it's a huge community-focused gaming festival, bringing in thousands of people." Over 30,000 people attended Insomnia Gaming Festival i68, enjoying all things gaming related. As Insomnia69 approaches, Insomnia Gaming Festival is full of ambition. Mathew Burnett said they wanted to host some of the biggest LAN parties that Europe's seen, let alone the UK.

However, the popularity of gaming festivals has posed an unprecedented challenge for Insomnia. Tens of thousands of people will come to visit the festival. And Mathew's team needs to provide reliable wired and wireless network access for more than 3000 users. This is a really daunting task.

Given the aging on-premises infrastructure and the goal of providing more connectivity, Mathew went looking for kits that would serve them for their next big goal.

After experiencing many failures in solution selection, Mathew decided to try FS.com and contacted account manager Moon. That was followed by Insomnia Gaming Festival's network analysis and solution provided by FS solution engineers. Subsequently, Insomnia's network upgrade went smoothly.

For Insomnia, Network Upgrades are Essential but Difficult

For an e-sports event, consistently reliable network connectivity is the most essential thing that needs to be assured. It's an issue related to the user experience of thousands of customers online and offline and can significantly impact Insomnia's reputation and future development.

"Going away and coming back gives us an opportunity for a new lease of life," Mathew Burnett said. Insomnia had to seize the opportunity and host Insomnia 69 successfully to the fullest.

However, the visitors to i69 would be enormous, even tens of thousands, which put super high demands on network quality. "My primary networking problem is 3,000 people all with their computers from home," Mathew said. "All wanting to play games and download large games."

But the kits they collected over years pre-Covid are not enough to support large gaming festivals. Mathew explains they'd not invested in some equipment for a long time and some of them were very old. Looking for new devices is a must.

At that moment, they were faced with another challenge. As a consequence of the pandemic, global supply chains and shipments slowed, causing worldwide network equipment shortages.

"I need bandwidth, I need connectivity, and I need to be able to cover quite an epic amount of people at once." - Mathew Burnett

"When we went looking for that kit, we discovered that most of the major names you'd recognize we're taking about six months nine months of lead time. And when I went looking for the price, they were looking three, four, five times as much," Mathew said. "So I thought I will try FS and I will see what they look like. "

Mathew added FS to the list of potential partners and got an account manager, a lady called Moon. "My account manager is amazing, and that was the part of dealing with FS I really wasn't expecting," he said. "She looks after me for my orders, for upcoming availability for kit, and also for great and surprisingly fast access to technical support."

Moon noted that, with Insomnia planning to expand the i69 gaming festival, they need to ensure a stable network, so the network equipment should be updated and upgraded as soon as possible.

Moon added, FS switches were used in the backbone network back at the last Insomnia Gaming Festival and performed well. "We are pleased that Mathew is satisfied with our switches and thank them for continuing to choose FS," Moon said, "We will be proactive in solving their network problems, enabling worry-free operations."

Overcoming Challenges with FS Networking Solution and Support

Mathew Burnett was delighted with the cooperation with FS, especially FS's prompt technical support.

"I get quick answers to my questions. I get answers to questions I didn't know I needed to ask yet," Mathew said. "They get good foretelling of what the market is gonna look like and whether their stuff is the sort of things I might need next year." What's more, Mathew added, on top of that, if he was uncertain about how a selection of things worked, FS would provide a custom technical solution and guarantee that it would work for him.

Looking back, Mathew noted, the process for implementation of the network set-up and upgrade went very smoothly. "It was a surprise to us as it took us about a weekend to get from nothing to the start of a working network," he said.

"We are able to arrive onsite with everything in the box turned off. On a Tuesday morning, I take it off the lorry. On Tuesday afternoon, we worked into that," Mathew said. "And by Wednesday lunchtime, I've got a network big enough to support 3,000 people."


Sean Mei, a technical engineer for data center at FS.com, led Insomnia's network upgrade project. He recalled, after receiving Mathew's needs, FS technical team immediately analyzed their networking problems and provided corresponding solutions for their diverse connectivity requirements, such as N8560-32C supporting VRF function as the core device and S5850-48T4Q providing MLAG connectivity, etc.

Account manager Moon noted that FS's competitive pricing helped to shave thousands of dollars off Insomnia's network upgrade costs. "FS's powerful performance in timely inventory updates, free technical support, and standard after-sales assurance was a key foundation in driving the network upgrade forward smoothly," Moon said. "We are grateful that Mathew was pleased with our networking solution and support."

Insomnia's Networking Optimized for Current and Future Generations

Mathew said, he and his team, with help from FS, replaced switches in the entire aggregation layer. "I'm starting to now sweep across all of my extra switches as well. So my entire backbone is now FS kit," Mathew said. "They have quite surprisingly wide features there, especially considering what great value they are. "

Partnering with FS, Mathew's team's ability to support heavy network traffic has increased significantly, and the network services provided to visitors are now more available than ever. "Having FS backbone has upgraded the bandwidth that I can get from one end to the other, from a few gigabits to I'm now using hundred-gigabit links and I can support that traffic all the way down to the edge."

The i69 report shows that 93% of Insomnia customers enjoyed Insomnia and 84% were likely to return to Insomnia. The Insomnia network upgrade deserves part of the credit.

Mathew indicated that FS is a networking solution supplier that is worth recommending. "I, so far, have recommended FS to pretty much everybody trying to buy a switch, in the strange post-COVID times," Mathew said. "I've been extremely happy. I think of turning a few people who run a more traditional brand on to having a look and see what they can see."

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