Dreamworld upgrades switches as network demand ramps

Number of connected devices on the rise at Gold Coast theme park

The BuzzSaw at Dreamworld. Credit: Ardent Leisure Group

The BuzzSaw at Dreamworld. Credit: Ardent Leisure Group

Dreamworld has upgraded its network to handle an increasing number of connected machines in the theme park.

Dreamworld is the largest of 138 sites owned by the Ardent Leisure Group across Australia, New Zealand and the US. Other sites include WhiteWater World, the SkyPoint Observation Deck and several health clubs, marinas and bowling centres across the ANZ region.

“People don’t often consider the infrastructure requirements to keep a park the size of Dreamworld connected,” Steven van Rooyen, Ardent Leisure Group's network administrator told Computerworld Australia.

“The reality is as we continue to move into a data driven work environment, the more important our network becomes," he said. "More and more systems like turnstiles, ticket scanners, etc., require connectivity to provide us with real-time data feeds.”

The Ardent Leisure Group sought to address poor performance, reliability and manageability in local area networks at its properties. At Dreamworld, for example, the throughput of WiFi access points was constrained by 100Mbps performance limits.

“Our portfolio is diverse and IT demands vary, but one thing we certainly need across all sites is much better manageability,” said van Rooyen. “As we acquire sites—such as the gyms we bought at the end of 2012—we generally find that they are running consumer-grade equipment.”

Ardent Leisure looked for a LAN service that was not expensive and would “work without fuss when installed,” he said.

Also, the group wanted to have better monitoring and reporting of the network, he said. “We still had a lot of unmanaged equipment at our remote locations, so moving to a consistent and manageable platform made sense.”

Ardent Leisure chose Brocade switches for the new Dreamworld network, which has been deployed by ASI Solutions and is nearing completion.

Ardent Leisure has installed a Brocade ICX 6610 switch stack in its server room for the network’s core. Across the Dreamworld site, the group has deployed several Brocade ICX 6430 switches that can provide gigabit Ethernet network access, with power over Ethernet capabilities that support WiFI access points and VoIP phones.

“As a result of the initial investment, we also have the majority of our remote locations upgraded, however at this stage we have no timeframe for completing the remainder,” said van Rooyen.

Van Rooyen said he has been pleased with the networking upgrade at Dreamworld.

“The result is that all the performance bottlenecks have been eliminated and, thanks to manageability of the entire infrastructure, it takes five minutes to turn on a feature whereas it used to take all day to change switch configurations.”

Follow Adam Bender on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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Tags NetworkingWiFinetworkLANswitchesGold CoastDreamworldArdent Leisure Grouptheme parkamusement park

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