Trailblazin with Tieline Wireless 3G Remotes
-When you think of trailblazers John Wayne may spring to mind, but here at Tieline we think of people like Jerry Heckerman.
In his spare time Jerry is a ham radio operator who enjoys the challenge of communicating over short-wave frequencies from remote mountains and wilderness locations. Complete with portable generators, wireless links into ham radio repeaters around the globe and Bluetooth wireless interfaces, he truly exhibits the traits of a trailblazer.
In his day job as Chief Engineer at Renda Broadcasting in Florida, Jerry is a trailblazer of a different kind. Responsible for four radio stations in the Fort Myers and Naples regions, Jerry has embraced Tieline 3G with excellent results.
"We do a lot of remote broadcasting and in the past we've found it's expensive and difficult to order ISDN lines quickly," he said. "When I discovered the Tieline 3G solution I called Kevin Webb at Tieline's office in Indianapolis and took him up on the free trial of Commander units."
Impressed by their performance, Jerry purchased a pair of Commander G3 field units and has since put them to work around the US and overseas.
When we spoke to Jerry he had just returned from broadcasting using 3G at the Country Music Awards in Nashville, Tennessee. He travelled there with the popular morning show team of Valerie St. John and Scott Fish from WWGR Gator Country 109.1FM to cover the event.
"We were connected for six hours and on the air for four hours straight on each of the two days that we broadcasted from the awards - and we didn't go off the air once," Jerry said. "We were very happy with the performance and reliability of the Tieline units." He also remarked that the team back at the studio said "it sounded so good it was like we were broadcasting from the studio next door!"
At the remote end Jerry connected using an EV-DO Rev A network with Tieline's EV-DO plug-in module. In the studio his codec was attached to a dedicated DSL connection to ensure reliable data rates were achieved.
He connected using a default stereo profile that uses the Tieline Music algorithm and he achieved 64kbps consistently over the EV-DO network, sending reliable, high quality stereo audio in both directions. "Sometimes we can connect at 128kpbs using EV-DO networks," Jerry said, "but in this case we found that 64kbps was most reliable and gave us good link quality readings of 85-99." Tieline codecs also connect over 3G UMTS/HSDPA networks.
Jerry only needed to send mono program to the studio but he selected a stereo profile configuration for a different reason. "I like to provide our announcers in the field with a stereo mix-minus return from the studio and they really seem to appreciate it," he said.
With the higher connection bitrates available over 3G cellular networks these days stereo broadcasts over wireless remotes are now a real possibility. Now more than ever before, it is possible to send stereo high bandwidth audio to the studio, and provide ‘silver service' stereo foldback to announcers at remote locations - they'll really think it's just like being in the studio!
Also, Tieline has discovered that you get better connection reliability, lower delay and higher audio bit rates over 3G if you use the same 3G provider as your studio Internet Service Provider (ISP). This is because the Telco can provide a direct path from the 3G cell to the studio via its own private WAN and usually bypasses the Internet.
Jerry was one of the first users to take advantage of Tieline's new automatic jitter buffer feature, which automatically manages packet delivery fluctuations over IP networks to seamlessly deliver streaming audio.
Jitter is the delay associated with sending and receiving data packets over IP networks. Unlike POTS and ISDN, packets arrive at irregular intervals over IP so a jitter buffer is required to reorder incoming packets and play out audio reliably from a codec. Jerry used the ‘best compromise' setting, which Tieline recommends for most connections and he found that the jitter buffer delay was very acceptable.
Tieline's auto jitter buffer is also tailored for the needs of different broadcast applications. Users can choose from five delay presets depending on the requirements of a broadcast situation. For example, ‘least delay' can be used for bidirectional speech where both a host and remote talent are chatting live on air.
Jerry programmed Forward Error Correction (FEC) of 20 percent at the remote codec. When sufficient connection bandwidth is available, FEC sends a secondary stream of packets over IP networks in case some are lost over a connection. Lost packets are replaced from the secondary stream to maintain a high quality audio connection.
Jerry has used his Tieline codecs successfully over LAN connections as well. "Last year we used the codecs to broadcast live over the Internet from Jamaica on Mix 104.7 WSGL-FM," he said. "We connected via a wireless media bridge into a DSL connection at the Beaches Resort and broadcasted live for a week." One of the next gigs for the Tieline units is at the Academy of Country Music Awards in LA in May.
No stranger to new and challenging endeavors in the wild, we asked Jerry where he would be going for his next vacation to operate his ham radio setup. "I am planning to stay alone on a remote island next year - I am not quite sure where yet."
One thing is for sure - in true trailblazing tradition, you can be sure that Jerry will be at the forefront of the next chapter of the new broadcasting frontier.
Jerry L. Heckerman
JLH Broadcast Services
Phone: (239) 770-8798
Ham radio call sign: n5ict
Tieline codecs that feature POTS, IP, 3GIP, SIP, ISDN, GSM and X.21 interoperability are on display at NAB2008 in the Radio Hall at Booth N8817, or they can be ordered for demonstration at any Tieline international office in the US, Switzerland, and Australia or from any listed Tieline dealer at www.tieline.com.
About Tieline Technology
Tieline Technology (www.tieline.com) is the world's leading supplier of high-quality remote broadcast digital audio codecs. In fact, Tieline derives its name from the popularity of its award-winning codec line as the company changed its corporate moniker in 2001 from Audio Video Communications (AVC) to Tieline Technology. Tieline Technology today is supported by a global distribution network spanning the Americas, Europe, UK, Africa, Asia, Middle East and Australasia.
Tieline Technology, Tieline Technology logo, Commander G3, i-Mix G3 are trademarks of Tieline Technology. Other trademarks may be property of their respective owners.