AoIP has touched thousands of radio and audio facilities to date, but the audio over IP landscape continues to evolve and grow. Radio World’s new ebook “AoIP for 2020” — our biggest ebook ever — asked manufacturers and industry experts about trends and best practices.
Aaron Farnham is the chief engineer for Bonneville Salt Lake City and former chief for Bonneville Phoenix; he has been in radio engineering since he was 16.
Radio World: What is your company’s philosophy in 2019 about audio over IP? What equipment are you using?
Aaron Farnham: AoIP is the next evolution in audio and the death of analog audio, with a few exceptions, i.e. microphones, speakers and headphones. The capability to pass hundreds of audio channels, status and GPIO down one Cat-6 cable drastically reduces the amount of cable needed to operate a facility.
Being able to take one feed from your console and take it all the way into the transmitter without ever leaving the AoIP world means no conversions take place. There are no chances for sample rate issues. For every box you had to go through in the past, you added delay because every box needs to reclock the signal.
We use Wheatstone LXE for our consoles, Telos VX for phones and we are working with Comrex on the Access multirack.
RW: What features do you want to see or anticipate from manufacturers?
Farnham: AoIP needs to be more plug-and-play. AES67 allows the devices to talk to each other but you need to know the multicast address for everything. This leaves the potential for collisions since no two systems talk directly to each other.
I would love to see integration with video, as more stations do live video; it would get rid of the need for so many converter boxes.
RW: How have AoIP trends affected design of technical centers, rack rooms and control rooms?
Farnham: Because of AoIP you need far less space in your rack rooms and control rooms. In the control room you are able to use one rack because equipment can live in the rack room without large amounts of wiring. AoIP allows many channels of audio and logic over one Ethernet cable. In the rack room, redundant power and network are a great idea. Systems are getting smaller. In technical centers you can have all audio come through your center, leaving the ability to monitor all streams at once with visual and audible alerts.
RW: What should someone new to AoIP need to know?
Farnham: Don’t be afraid. A well-laid-out plan will have you running AoIP fast. Manufacturers are happy to help you lay out your system. Think about your sources, lay out your air chain and write it down. Network switches are key to your AoIP system; quality switches will make your life better and help with troubleshooting later on.
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