System Base - IP Codecs
I stopped at another small booth with three 1RU boxes on the tables. I spoke to Andrew Steward, technical director of SystemBase, a manufacturer of IP codecs. He said his units are used primarily for point-to-point linear audio transmission. Not unique, considering there are other manufacturers that do the same. However, he believes one of his competitive edges is the fact that he writes his own software. He said that understanding how to make an audio algorithm work over IP is key to reliability and stability. Also, since his system is embedded and not running on Linux or Windows, the boot time is the fastest I've ever seen. Steward had two systems running in his booth connected to each other through a network and he unplugged one in front of me. When he plugged it back in, audio was back in seconds. It booted and framed incredibly fast.
The system can be purchased with front panel control or without. If you buy it without you can control it fully by using the Web interface. It supports linear audio from 8kHz sample rate in mono all the way up to 48kHz stereo. He also has added configurable forward error control (FEC) to help with poor network performance. Delay on the 48kHz stereo setting is anywhere from 4ms to 23ms, which is pretty low latency.
His systems can support multiple connections without interrupting the main connection in case you need the same audio to go to more than one location. And he has built in auto negotiation. The system can support SNMP for monitoring.
His systems also support apt-X compression and g.722 in the case bandwidth is not available. He said a system was installed on a 2Mb/s up, 10Mb/s down Internet line at the World Cup in South Africa and never failed for two weeks.
Ghielmetti -Audio Monitor System GMS 2100
Another item that caught my eye was a 2RU audio test set made by Swiss manufacturer Ghielmetti. Perfect for a rack room, it has two high-quality speakers for monitoring any one of three analog or four digital stereo sources that are selectable by the front panel. The third analog and the fourth digital input jacks appear on the front panel so if you need to throw a quick patch cord in, you don't need to dig into the back of the rack.
Metering includes level and peak indication -60dB to +24dB, sample rate and phase. It has a built in signal generator that can generate 800Hz or 1kHz. Metering ballistics are selectable and include DIN 45406, Nordic N9, BBC British IIa and digital. Users can also select peak, or peak and average.
A headphone jack is on the front panel with volume control and a mute button, too.
2WCOM - Network Monitoring via IP/SNMP NC06
I met with Werner Drews, managing director of German-based 2WCOM. In addition to manufacturing a full complement of DVB satellite receivers, his company makes a neat 1RU box called the NC06 that can take a contact closure from a legacy piece of equipment (an alarm, for example) and convert it to an SNMP message. At Dial Global, we use Ipswitch's Whats up Gold to monitor all of our servers and broadcast equipment across the company. Having the ability to trigger an SNMP alarm via a contact closure is a great way to keep your monitoring consistent.
In addition, the NC06 can accept SNMP commands and provide relay closure commands to your devices in order to throw a switch or start up an alternative piece of equipment if the main goes into alarm.
A pretty simple device, but a great way to integrate your legacy equipment into your modern network monitoring system.
NKK Switches - OLED switch
For the mad scientist who likes building or modifying things, I saw a very cool display at NKK Switches. On display was a pushbutton switch that measures about 3/4" x 1/2" that display video. When I walked up to their booth, my face appeared on a few since they had a camera aiming directly at me.