MADRID — Top Radio Spain is one of the stations belonging to the Mexican media group, Multimedios Radio. Our programming is mainly based on unforgettable music of all times; we also generate special Spanish programming that can be used by other Multimedios stations in Mexico. In Madrid, we mix news and current affairs with music and an in-depth coverage of the city’s traffic situation.
Any radio station depending on communications with outside parties, notably listeners, must have a reliable communication system offering maximum flexibility, yet trying to minimize the operational costs. Our needs are complicated in that some of our listeners/callers are in Mexico.
I had been shopping for a cost-effective telephone and talk show solution for our studios in Madrid for some time when I came across the Systel IP 12 from AEQ. I asked their sales team if they had some kind of hybrid system that would allow for VoIP telephony. Not only did I receive an affirmative reply but all the technical support that I required.
The solution from AEQ is a relatively simple one and is helping us to reduce the costs for our telephone service. What we eventually acquired is a Systel IP 12 that spreads its system resources between three studios using analog inputs and outputs. We are in the process of changing our legacy analog telephone system for VoIP. Our station’s external lines consists of two PSTN or POTS lines, a mobile phone line adapter, two B channels of an ISDN line and an ADSL. AEQ installed the necessary devices to adapt the different types of telephone lines that we have to VoIP. These devices or “Gateways” convert the PSTN/POTS and ISDN lines to VoIP channels.
The AEQ Systel IP 12 basically consists of 12 VoIP audio codecs using SIP (session initiation protocol) and a 12 x 12 routing matrix for analog and digital I/Os. The main advantage of this system is the capability of using any of the phone lines in any of our studios and at any time. While it is possible to use more than one output of the Systel IP for each studio, we have opted to connect one input and one output for each studio.
The standard way of placing calls on-air is through the “call queue” mode. However, the Systel IP is capable of multiconferencing the calls.
Controlling the Systel IP is as simple as opening the Web browser at any workstation in our LAN and providing the IP address, user validation and the ID of the program and studio you are going to control.
Systel IP also includes four ports to connect dedicated operator or producer handsets for each studio. It also allows for using a standard IP telephone set as a system handset. For each line there is an on-hook/off-hook button that will also deactivate or activate the handset. Also, there is an “On-Air/Wait” button; a button that will allow you to access the controls for audio send and receive levels for the line; and a button to choose between “Queue” and “Multiconference or Multiplex” mode. Another feature allows running a short text message chat between the operator and the producer. The system is multiuser but for simplicity of our operation we are only validating a single user per studio.
The AEQ Systel IP 12 was installed in the technical equipment room using part of the network infrastructure dedicated to interconnect IP telephone sets and handsets. Since we didn’t have an IP-based PBX, we installed an Asterisk PBX on a standard PC to manage all the extensions, voicemail, call diversion, etc. The lines are distributed according to the studio and program in production. The photo shows Studio 1 with a program using eight lines.
In addition to standard telephone-quality calls, Systel IP 12 offers HD Voice (G.722) communications. This allows us to connect with soft codecs on smartphones or AEQ audio codecs with high-quality audio.
At this stage we are still not using the power and features that the AEQ Systel IP offers, but we will soon expand our uses. One of the things that we are eager to explore is using the system for multiconferencing our corporate meetings with our headquarters in Mexico. One of the Systel IP 12 outputs available on its routing matrix will be used to send the multiplex to our conference room.
More information, contact Peter Howarth at AEQ in Florida at (954) 581-7999 or visit www.aeqbroadcast.com.