Advanced Television

APT IP codecs chosen for Estonian broadcast audio network

October 1, 2013

APT, the audio codec arm within WorldCast Systems, has announced the sale of over 100 Horizon NextGen IP audio codecs with SureStream technology to Elion Ettevõtted AS, the largest provider of telecommunications and IT services in Estonia.

The APT units were purchased as part of a major overhaul of the main audio contribution and distribution links that Elion operates on behalf of ERR, Estonia’s public broadcaster. The existing 2 MB X.21 circuitry was updated to bring it in line with the latest optical and IP topologies used throughout Elion’s core network and Horizon NextGen audio codecs were installed linking the 5 main studios in the capital, Talinn and the 13 main transmitter sites located throughout the country.

Veiko Praakel, Network Development Specialist within the Multimedia department in Elion, explained, “This mammoth task was planned and researched for several years but the actual deployment and operation was painless and quick and we now have a highly reliable audio contribution and distribution network with intelligent back-up and “always-on redundancy.”  The “Always-On Redundancy” required by Elion was stated as a key reason in their decision to select the SureStream option on APT’s IP codec.

SureStream technology is an award-winning technology enabling highly reliable broadcast audio over all types of IP connections, and even the public internet. As a telecommunications provider, the cost of managed IP links was not as significant a factor for Elion but the reliability of APT’s optimized version of redundant streaming ensures that Elion can meet the required levels of customer satisfaction. The provider operates a dedicated IP link and an optical SDH link between each location and, according to Praakel, “Over the course of their operation, we have had several issues with power outages, lightning strikes etc which have either reduced the capacity or permanently disabled one of these telecommunications links. With SureStream in place, none of these issues have had any impact on the continuity or quality of our customer’s broadcasts. The SLA we have in place with ERR radio permits up to 9 seconds downtime per year but SureStream has ensured that we have had no downtime at all thus far.”

Praakel also cited the control capabilities offered by the Horizon NextGen as a deciding factor. Elion have utilised the unit’s ScriptEasy software to design and implement an extensive back-up plan whereby, should there be a major fault at any of the main studios in Tallinn, the transmission can automatically switch to a specified back-up studio established in a different city. Elion’s customer has access to MasterView, the front end software of ScriptEasy which shows them the current status of each codec and also enables them to autonomously switch transmission between the main and back-up studios with no need to call Elion to arrange this for them.

Deployed in early 2013, the Horizon NextGens have been working well in operation. Praakel commented,” our experience with the Horizon NextGen has been very positive, ERR told us that the audio quality was ‘significantly better than anything else they had heard’ and we have found SureStream technology to be an essential tool in meeting our customer expectations.”

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