CALIENT Technologies, a provider of optical circuit switching technology, has announced it is working with remote broadcast production industry leader CP Communications (Elmsford, NY), to develop a new fibre-optic network supporting 4,000-pixel resolution (4K) ultra-high definition television for its next-generation live sports and event broadcast production trucks.
CP Communications is a leader in providing digital solutions for audio and video, including delivering comprehensive fibre-optic equipment and engineering services. The remote broadcast production industry is transitioning to fibre-optic cabling for cameras and other systems in part to provide the bandwidth necessary for 4K UHD television broadcasts.
The company selected CALIENT’s S320 Optical Circuit Switches for its HD21 project, a 53’ long transmission and master control truck to be used at major sporting events. CP Communications recently won contracts to provide services for major golf events broadcast by FOX Sports and NBC/Universal’s Golf Channel. In the coming year, the company will cover more than 100 golf events in addition to hundreds of other events.
The S320 is a 320-port optical circuit switch used to create an all-optical network fabric with total throughput of more than 32 terabits per second. The switch allows any-to-any, layer one network connections with almost no latency and can be reconfigured on demand under software control. Each switch port is transparent to bit rate and can support data speeds to 100Gbps and beyond.
Once installed in the HD21, the S320s will provide a high-bandwidth interconnect for all transmission and master control functions. This means interconnecting equipment on up to 30 production trucks providing specialised broadcast services (such as graphics, audio, video, replay, etc.) and camera equipment on every green. For larger events, such as the U.S. Open, the broadcast production network will need up to 100 miles of fibre-optic cable.
‘The scale of fibre-optic infrastructure deployed at live broadcast sporting events is staggering and requires very high port-count and capacity switching and management. This makes the S320 an ideal solution,’ said Daniel Tardent, CALIENT’s Vice President of Marketing. ‘CP is a leader and expert in fibre-optic broadcast networks, so we view this design win as a significant endorsement of both the application and our S320 optical circuit switch.’
‘CALIENT’s technology really advances the state of the market for broadcast production networks due to its high-density, software control and flexible protocol support,’ said Kurt Heitmann, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at CP Communications. ‘The HD21 is our flagship transmission and control truck and it was an obvious decision to add the S320.’
In addition to networking the complete fibre-optic infrastructure between cameras and vehicles at an event, the S320 provides specific production capabilities such as dynamic connectivity between cameras and camera control units. Each camera is connected back to a camera control unit (CCU) in the video truck, however there are typically many more cameras than CCUs. So, instead, each camera is connected to a port on the S320 and then switched to an available CCU when in use. This allows the production company to allocate CCUs to the appropriate cameras based on the activities taking place on the golf course.
Another valuable feature in the S320 is its optical power monitoring capability, which allows the production team to monitor light levels on the fibre feeds to ensure high signal quality and simplify troubleshooting.