Michael Bradford, CPBE, Broadcast/Audio Services, Jackson, MI, encountered a problem with two ISDN codecs at the Michigan Farm Radio Network uplink in Lansing, MI, that was beginning to become a real pain.
Every now and then, one of the codecs would lock up or lose sync for no apparent reason. Of course this always happened right in the middle of a Detroit Tigers baseball game or Red Wings hockey game. Further, it always seemed to happen on a weekend or late at night. Usually an associate engineer, who lives only 20 minutes away, would go to the site and reboot the offending codec. Sometimes, however, Bradford would have to travel all the way to the site (about 45 miles from his home office) to reboot the unit.
He says, "I guess I'm losing my sense of humor in my old age, but these trips were costly and the interruption of the games was making affiliates mad, not to mention the listeners who would lose coverage at the most inconvenient time."
That was when he ordered a Web Switch from Broadcast Tools. This Web-based dual-outlet ac controller is accessed via the Internet. The Web Switch comes with two CAT-5e cables: one is a cross-over cable intended for direct connection to a PC or laptop, while the other is a "straight through" cable for connection to a modem or 10/100Base switch and the Internet.
The Web Switch is self-powered with an EIA cable, and the two ac outlets are controlled separately, so each of Bradford's codecs could be monitored and controlled individually. The "quick start" document with the Web Switch was all he needed to get the proper IP address, gateway, sub-mask and other data entered with the direct connection to his office PC. Once he set up the user name and password and labeled the two switches, he was off to make the installation.
The Web Switch has mounting holes at each corner, which he used to mount it safely behind the codecs on the side-rails of the station's Middle Atlantic racks. Once the ac was connected and the CAT-5e cable connected to the ISP modem, the unit came to life immediately. He is now able to access the Web Switch, as can the program provider in Detroit, to reboot the offending codec from anywhere. No more 45-mile trips late at night, no more mad affiliates and no more listeners miffed at missing that shot-on-goal that won the game.
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