Field Report: Tieline Bridge-IT


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When public data routes carry critical broadcast audio, care and planning must be exercised in knowing how IP gear will behave. By way of preparing for heavy network traffic, auto jitter adapter, fixed buffer level and forward error correction (FEC) can be configured when lost data packets compromise broadcast quality. Auto jitter adapter is adjusted by buffer priority, meaning Bridge-IT will introduce latency to make up for lost or late packet delivery. Each auto jitter setting is a compromise between delay and audio quality. The codec will make necessary adjustments based on how the priority is set.

The user can set a fixed level buffer, which prescribes the amount of latency on the audio stream. The delay is constant at all times. Forward error correction uses more bandwidth, but it allows Bridge-IT to duplicate a certain percentage of the audio stream to account for lost data packets. In situations where bandwidth is limited, FEC can make the situation worse, so use caution. FEC is recommended for connections that have plenty of data headroom, but lose packets occasionally. Packet and stream data and connection statistics can be monitored via the web GUI or front panel.

Bridge-IT also features QoS settings, where data packets can be instructed for different prioritization through several different networks. This is achieved by changing the DSCP field in the data packet header. IT administrators should be contacted when using the QoS settings. The codec uses "line quality" readings to monitor connection stability. "L" shows the quality of the local connection. "R" indicates network behavior on the remote end. A reading of 99 on both ends is optimal.

Contacts list

Sometimes a single Bridge-IT connects to several remote Bridge-IT units or other codecs for differing purposes. When this is the case, the GUI is useful for storing lists, programs and contacts previously set up by the user. Creation of programs allows for one-button dialing to other units. For example, a remote talk show studio may connect to a network master control each day. Instead of having to enter the IP address, algorithm, connection type, bit rate, jitter buffer and several other settings each time, a program can be configured with a contact. This allows for quickly calling another codec.

Sometimes a single Bridge-IT connects to several remote Bridge-IT units or other codecs for differing purposes. When this is the case, the GUI is useful for storing lists, programs and contacts previously set up by the user. Creation of programs allows for one-button dialing to other units. For example, a remote talk show studio may connect to a network master control each day. Instead of having to enter the IP address, algorithm, connection type, bit rate, jitter buffer and several other settings each time, a program can be configured with a contact. This allows for quickly calling another codec.

Tieline
◊ 888-211-6989
www.tieline.com
sales@tieline.com

In the event the codec is being used as an STL, and the connection is lost for an extended period, an SDHC card loaded with music or special messages can be inserted in the receiving Bridge-IT. The codec will begin playing the MP3 files until the audio stream is restored. This prevents dead air situations if IP connectivity is lost.

In an era of exploration that puts our valuable audio chains on the public IP infrastructure, having robust gear to navigate is vital. Bridge-IT is smart and concise in its operation. It negotiates difficult networks well, and makes up for costly data packet errors. It takes up very little space in equipment racks, and it travels unbelievably well. The front screen LCD display and buttons provide quick, on-the-fly operation, meaning everyone from seasoned engineers to new sportscasters can use Bridge-IT to accomplish fantastic remote or STL audio connections.


Wygal is the programmer and engineer for Victory FM at Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA.




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