Southern Theatres, a movie theater company that operates venues in 13 states across the U.S., is deploying Mosaic NetworX software-defined wide networking (SD-WAN) in all 40 of its locations.
Prior to deployingMosaic’s VeloCloud-based SD-WAN, Southern Theatres network “was just a mess basically, from a technical standpoint,” said Ben Strauss, the company’s network administrator. According to Strauss, the company was using “a spaghetti mess” of handcrafted tunnels with combinations of Sonicwall firewalls, third party tunnels, and Cisco ASA firewalls. The result was “awful and unreliable” connections.
The movie theaters require internet connections for a variety of tasks, including ticketing, credit card transactions, and streaming events, which Southern Theatres allows for special events. Southern Theatres needs third party tunnels for services like Fandango for its ticketing and to connect to companies that maintain its projection networks.
Southern Theatres wanted to begin reforming its network, increase its network’s scalability as the company grows, alter configurations in a reliable manner, have two internet connections and a failover at each site. That’s why the company decided to migrate to an SD-WAN architecture.
Mosaic offers its VeloCloud-based SD-WAN service, all under the product line SoftWave, with three tiers of managed support including routing configurations, firewall rules, policy controls, and multiple diverse transport links. The service includes its WAN design, pre- and post-sale engineering support, dedicated project implementation management, on-site SD-WAN installation, configuration and activation, and proactive SD-WAN and Internet circuit monitoring and management. VeloCloud was purchased by VMware last November.
While Southern Theatres evaluated a number of options, including a single-carrier solution from AT&T, it selected Mosaic because Strauss said the VeloCloud orchestrator gave him the level of administrative control, network visibility and scalability that he needed.
So far the movie theater company and Mosaic have deployed SD-WAN at about a dozen locations.
“We have faced some challenges as far as getting good internet connections at some of these sites,” said Strauss. “Our goal is to actually have two solid internet connections at every site, plus 4G. At some of these sites it’s been a little bit tricky, and that’s one of the challenges Mosaic has been helping us with.”
Depending on the location, Southern Theatres is using a variety of broadband-grade circuits, including fiber circuits, cable broadband, and fixed wireless.
“We may not have 100 percent confidence in the circuits we can get, but if we aggregate them through the edge, we’re good,” said Strauss.
The company is using VeloCloud edge devices with a separate Mosaic router on the inside and is using 4G modems as failover. At some locations they are using 4G as an initial connection while they find two diverse connections.
For Strauss, fully using SD-WAN for central management, link aggregation, error correction, easy failover, and scalability will solve many of the company’s network issues. “I’m looking forward to completing this project,” he said. “It will be really nice when we have all the locations on SD-WAN.”