DreamHack is an immersive gaming lifestyle experience where the community comes to life. The 24-hour-a-day festival featuring everything gaming under one roof is recognized by the Guinness Book of Records and Twin Galaxies as hosting the world’s biggest LAN party and computer festival with the world’s fastest Internet connection and most generated traffic. Together with ESL Gaming, DreamHack has shaped the history of esports, creating more opportunities for participation and progression than any other sport. The DreamHack brand is a part of ESL Gaming, the world’s leading esports company.
Netgate worked with DreamHack to upgrade its IT infrastructure with TNSR to offer more powerful, secure networking capabilities and large-scale network address translation capabilities on the DreamHack network.
Netgate recently spoke to Ross Barber and Riley Childs from ESL Gaming to gain insight into their decision to leverage Netgate and TNSR and how working together created an incredible gaming event.
Q: Can you tell us a little more about DreamHack?
A: DreamHack is a gaming lifestyle experience that brings together millions of fans with DreamHack broadcasts, 24-hour-a-day festival weekends, professional esports tournaments, amateur and varsity gaming tournaments, world-famous bring-your-own-computer (BYOC) LAN parties, and more.
Q: How many participants did the latest festival have?
A: DreamHack Dallas 2022 had over 33,000 in total attendance from 29 countries over the three-day festival weekend, June 3-5, 2022. This was a large crowd, and with DreamHack Dallas being one of our more popular festivals, there was no room for failure. With a crowd of this size, it had to work.
Q: How did you find out about TNSR?
A: We've been a Netgate customer and have used pfSense software for different use cases. Netgate actually provided the Netgate 1541s appliances which we used to run TNSR this year a while back at the DreamHack Dallas 2019 festival. They worked great, and the transition from pfSense to TNSR on those appliances was seamless. Working with the Netgate team helped to ensure that we were going to be successful.
Q: What other options did you consider, if any, and why did you choose TNSR?
A: We considered multiple other vendors but ultimately decided on TNSR because it had the right feature set to meet our NAT needs. TNSR had the right feel for what we were looking to accomplish in this very specific and critical use case. In the end, it performed extremely well.
Q: Please describe your environment.
A: DreamHack runs a Juniper EX4600 based collapsed core with a pair of MX204s as border routers. We provide a mix of Direct Internet Access and Enterprise services to Bring Your Own Computer (BYOC) attendees as well as exhibitor stages and expo vendors. We leverage TNSR to handle NAT translation between the private IP space and our public IP block that is announced during the festival.
Q: What problem were you trying to solve with TNSR?
A: The primary issue we faced was performance bottlenecks on pfSense related to NAT. As you can imagine, our network is huge, with thousands of users. We needed something that could keep up while making the network performance seamless. Further, in order to achieve the desired NAT configuration, pfSense required a tedious number of clicks and manual editing of single entries in the GUI simply based on the scale of our network. We were looking for a system with lower operational overhead, and TNSR fit in very well to solve that problem.
Q: How easy was it to install and configure TNSR?
A: The initial configuration of the device was fairly straightforward. Netgate documentation covers zero-to-ping in detail, and achieving an initial functioning router is not difficult.
Configuration became moderately more difficult once we began configuring specific items such as NAT and VRFs. It required a slightly deeper dive into the documentation and reaching out to TAC, who was able to help us through any snags we hit. But overall, the configuration experience was good. We did not encounter any problems we were not able to resolve in a short period of time.
Q: How was your experience with the TNSR support team during your deployment?
A: Support was phenomenal throughout our entire engagement, from early on during the sales process and into the festival setup. We were able to interface directly with many of the engineers who guided us through complex questions for some of our unusual scenarios. This was a significant transition for our team, making reliable support key to our success. The Netgate TAC performed to our expectations, and working with them was a great experience.
In addition to knowledgeable staff, we could typically rely on a quick response from support when reaching out either by phone or e-mail. In addition, anytime the front-line folks were unable to provide answers, the appropriate resource was rapidly engaged to reach a resolution.
Q: Would you recommend TNSR to others, and why?
A: Depending on the use case and needs, absolutely. TNSR provides a high-performance product at a reasonable price. While it doesn’t have much in the way of frills, it gets the job done and meets the needs of the typical network with room to grow. We will definitely be deploying TNSR at future events based on the results we’ve seen thus far.
TNSR is a high-performance software router that combines VPP’s extraordinary packet processing performance with Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK) and other open-source technologies to provide a turnkey high-performance router which enables businesses and service providers to address today’s edge and cloud networking needs at extremely low cost. Learn More About TNSR >>>
About the Netgate 1541
The Netgate 1541 1U system is a state of the art Security Gateway appliance, featuring the Eight Core Intel® "Xeon-DE" D-1541 2.1 GHz, with AES-NI to support a high level of I/O throughput and optimal performance per watt. Combined with TNSR® software, the Negate 1541 can be configured as a 10 GbE firewall, LAN / WAN router, or VPN solution - capable of fully exploiting its underlying hardware to accommodate the most demanding traffic processing conditions.