Barix and StreamGuys Support IP Program Distribution Network for University of North Dakota

Lighting Sioux Radio Network distributes live UND football and hockey games to 12 broadcast affiliates in two states

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND, November 8, 2010 — Barix AG, a pioneer in IP-based audio, intercom, control, and monitoring, has partnered with streaming media provider StreamGuys to establish a low-latency IP distribution network for University of North Dakota football and hockey broadcasts.

Twelve radio stations across North Dakota and Minnesota comprise the Fighting Sioux Radio Network.  The network, seeking to expand its broadcast footprint, selected IP distribution after comparing costs and automation capabilities with competitive distribution systems.  The choice enabled a lower startup cost while ensuring uptime and smooth operation at unmanned facilities.

The network deployed Barix Exstreamer 1000 professional IP audio codecs across the distribution chain.  The Exstreamer 1000 encodes and decodes program audio and relay signals, all delivered over the StreamGuys streaming platform.

“The Barix Exstreamer 1000 has balanced audio inputs and outputs, and that made it perfect for the broadcast environment where cleanliness of audio is a must,” said Jeremy Eisenzimmer, IT Director and Network Engineer.  “The devices also have built-in closures that enable automated functions for our unmanned facilities, delivering relay signals to trigger stop-sets, legal IDs, liners and other elements from studio automation systems.   StreamGuys provides the bandwidth, low-latency delivery and turnkey network development and support we need to keep the network running smoothly.”

Flagship station KQHT-FM in Grand Forks, North Dakota encodes the audio using the Exstreamer 1000, which passes the encoded signal and relay closures to the StreamGuys platform.   StreamGuys deploys Barix Real-Time Protocol (BRTP) to deliver the signal across the network with very minimal delay, and provides plenty of bandwidth to eliminate network congestion.  The Exstreamer 1000 devices at the affiliate stations decode the signal, separating the audio and the relays.  KQHT monitors the entire network with a backup Exstreamer 1000, configured in “Streaming Client” mode to verify that the audio and relays are reaching the affiliates.

Eisenzimmer added that the Barix/StreamGuys solution costs one-quarter the price of satellite distribution, and hopes to add more affiliates in the future.  This is achieved simply by adding a Barix device at each new affiliate and notifying StreamGuys of the new destination points.

“IP distribution was without question the best option for cost, and the availability of high-speed connections made deployment quick and easy,” said Eisenzimmer.  “The automation functions have been nothing short of a dream for the network.  This allows smaller stations that are low on resources and manpower to carry the games for their hometown fans.  It’s entirely a win-win.”

Eisenzimmer also noted that setup is simple, only requiring that he load the firmware and enter the stream information, and that affiliates wire and plug in the devices to be up and running.  “The simplicity of it will allow our network to grow,” he said.

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