• Key Considerations for Choosing a Control Room Multi-Window Display Solution

     Jan 10, 2017  Black Box

    Control Room operators typically need to monitor large amounts of information and interact with mission-critical systems. This often requires the need for simultaneously presenting the operator with multiple video or HMI sources. In some environments desktop monitors and a single large screen display may be sufficient, in other environments a large-scale video wall with multiple screens may be required to better support situational awareness across multiple operators.

    There are essentially two ways to create a multi-window visual environment in a control room – with a multi-viewer or a video wall processor.

    Multi-Viewers
    Multi-viewers are generally purpose-built devices with embedded operating systems for viewing multiple windows on a single display.  The number of windows typically ranges from 4-12.  In the broadcast industry, multi-viewers scale to even more windows, but are more specialized in their video inputs and also display things like audio meters and advanced labelling.  These broadcast-specific multi-viewers are not the subject here of comparison to video wall processors.  A typical desktop multi-viewer will contain four images and ones used on larger displays might use more.  Multi-viewers can be connected to any type of display device, including projectors, to create a single large, multi-window image.

    multiviewer vs video wall processor 1multiviewer vs video wall processor 2

    Since multi-viewers can display multiple windows, most support various types of layouts such as quadview, picture-in-picture, and windowed, and the window sizes can sometimes be adjusted as desired by the operator. Some advanced multi-viewers also support keyboard and mouse functionality so that the operator can have full KVM control of multiple sources displayed on a single screen, and some also might have more physical inputs than supported output windows which allows for a limited switching type of function.    Multi-viewers generally support external control through either a serial or Ethernet interface to make basic operation easy through a push-button or touchpad device.  A growing trend is for multi-viewers to also directly decode H.264 streams.

    Video Wall Processors
    Control room video wall processors behave similar to multi-viewers in creating a multi-window display, but are designed to create that output across a range of multi-display combinations such as 1x4, 2x3, 4x5, etc. Smaller scale video wall processors are generally designed around embedded operating systems while most of the large-scale video wall processors are designed around Windows platforms.  IP-based platforms are also based on embedded operating systems.  Centralized video wall processors are generally based on adding cards to one or more system chassis while distributed, IP-based processors are based on having one transmitter per source and one receiver per display.  Either architecture can provide a highly scalable solution.

    Multiviewer vs Video Wall 3

    Control room video wall processors support having essentially an unlimited number of windows based on practical viewing size, not just a pre-defined limit (i.e. 4-12) as is the case with multi-viewers.  While video wall processors can also be controlled through an external control API by push-button and touchpad controllers for switching layouts and content sources, there is typically a separate user interface for managing the system that is more capable than an external control device.  The software interface can support various levels of permissions with some advanced system options being limited to administrators, with users only controlling the video wall with external control devices.  Multiple video walls can also be administered from a single system.

    Content sources can be duplicated multiple times inside the processor and displayed in different windows simultaneously with different parameters such as cropped, frame rate, color hue, etc.  This enables subsets of content from a single source to be viewed in separate windows or on separate video walls.

    The larger-scale systems also have the capability to receive H.264 streams from hundreds of video cameras.  And with so many sources to potentially view, content carousels can be configured to create groups of content that are rotated inside of a window with preset rotation timing between each source.  In order to eliminate content gaps to display the next camera in the sequence, simultaneous decoding is performed on the active and next stream.

    In addition to user permission levels, some control room video wall processors also support activity logging to capture changes to the wall such as user log-ins, parameter configuration changes, layout changes, source switching, and more. 

    General Comparison of Control Room Multi-viewers and Video Wall Processors

     

    Multi-viewer

    Video Wall Processor

    # of windows

    4-12 typical

    Unlimited

    Multi-Display

    No

    Yes

    Wall layout

    N/A

    Multiple arrangements

    Keyboard/mouse control

    Some

    Some

    Multiple wall control

    No

    Some

    Window scaling

    Limited

    Unlimited

    Operating system

    Embedded

    Windows or embedded

    External control interface

    Yes

    Yes

    Activity logging

    No

    Some

    Architecture

    Single chassis

    Single- or Multi-chassis, or Distributed (IP)

     

    Visit our product and solutions web pages to learn more about multi-viewers, video wall processors, and control room solutions


    Full story
  • Technology for Smarter Meeting Spaces

     Jan 4, 2017  Black Box

    Avoid overbooking your conference rooms and hold more efficient meetings with smart scheduling and automated room control. Innovative, easy-to-use solutions can help you focus on your meeting, not on the technology.

    Room scheduling

    A conference-room scheduling system ensures your spaces are used to maximum ability. It makes it faster and easier for your team to find an available meeting space, instantly reserve a room or make last-minute changes such as extending the meeting time.

    Many scheduling systems are accessible from a desktop, mobile device or convenient touch panel immediately outside the room. At a glance you can see the room name, current meeting and its duration, as well as the extended calendar for future scheduling. Some touch panels feature LED indicator lights, so people can easily determine from a distance if a room is occupied or available.

    Intuitive room schedulers require no programming and are quick and simple to set up. For ease of implementation, choose a system that integrates with your existing programs, such as Outlook or Google’s G Suite.

    Conference room control

    Once inside your conference room, you can keep your meeting running smoothly with help from a room control system. Using a touch-screen interface, desktop and wall panels, or a smart phone, you can lower screens, dim lights and begin your presentation. Comprehensive room control solutions enable you to control multiple items from one control panel, including the room’s automation system as well as multimedia, AV, KVM and IP-enabled devices.

    Even if you’re not actually in the conference room, a control system can provide you with remote access. This enables you to set up the room in advance with the swipe of a touch panel. It also gives you the ability to deliver your presentation remotely.

    Don’t worry if your existing system and devices are several years old; many conference- room automation solutions can integrate with new and not-so-new technology.

    Choose flexible, scalable solutions

    When considering a room scheduling system or control system, choose a provider who will work with you to create a custom interface to meet the needs of your specific applications. It is a good idea to select systems that are scalable to accommodate your current environment as well as future growth.

    Black Box offers smart scheduling and control systems to maximize your spaces and streamline your meetings. Click to learn more about how the IN-SESSION room scheduler and ControlBridge™ Multisystem and Room Control System can enhance your operations.

    Full story
  • Fiber or Copper? 5 Factors to Consider When Calculating Cost

     Jan 3, 2017  Black Box

    Fiber network solutions offer several advantages compared to CATx copper cable for government, healthcare, enterprise, retail, and financial networks. Fiber technology provides optimized security, extended reach, unlimited bandwidth, and superior reliability. Despite these benefits, copper remains the most popular choice for networks because it is perceived to be less expensive than fiber. A look at the total cost of ownership, however, reveals fiber cabling in the horizontal costs up to 38% less than copper.

    Consider these five factors to understand the total cost of ownership when integrating fiber to desktop:

       1. Lower installation costs

    Fiber optic cabling is easier than copper to install because of its increased pull strength. Custom plug-and-play pre-terminated fiber further expedites installation, saving 15% compared to bulk fiber with field termination. Additionally, fiber has more than five times the reach of copper. Instead of having wiring closets and equipment throughout the building, fiber networks typically feature a secure central location to house all network equipment. This cuts down on the costs
    of installing network infrastructure and power redundancies.

        2. Lower cost of security

    It is easier and less expensive to secure the single closet used in fiber-to-desktop networks than to secure multiple locations. The fiber itself is also more secure than copper because it does not radiate any signal and can’t be tapped without triggering alarms. For additional security, you can purchase fiber cable with vibration-proof butterfly pins or extra-secure locking pins that can only be removed with a special key. Secure locking enclosures are also an option.

        3. Reduced troubleshooting and maintenance time

    Fiber is inherently more reliable than copper because it resists electromagnetic interference, radio frequency interference, and crosstalk. Reliability reduces time spent on maintenance and troubleshooting and avoids costly downtime. Centrally located equipment further minimizes maintenance time and also results in lower heating and cooling costs.

       4. Reduced size and complexity

    Occasionally, multimode fiber provides a cost advantage because its small size and light weight allow it to be placed in limited duct space. Fiber to the desktop networks also benefit substantially from reduced size and complexity of per-floor telecom rooms.

      5. Decreased life-cycle costs

    Choosing high-quality fiber optic infrastructure results in lower life-cycle costs. All Black Box fiber, for example, is 100% factory tested for quality and guaranteed for life. Fiber also has a longer usable life than copper because it can be upgraded without pulling new cable. Instead, increased data rates are implemented by changing the electronics. Fiber essentially allows you to future-proof your network with unlimited bandwidth to the desktop.

    Ethernet media convertersprovide an affordable way to convert fiber to copper at the desktop without the hassle of installing and maintaining fiber NIC cards. Black Box offers a comprehensive product suite of secure fiber networking solutions and support. To learn more, click to view our free on-demand webinar“Bringing Fiber to the Secure Desktop.”

    Full story
  • Enabling Technology for Air Transportation Control Rooms

     Dec 21, 2016  Harry Ostaffe

    According to Statista, commercial airlines carried more than 3.5 billion passengers in 2015 and are projected to carry nearly 3.8 billion passengers in 2016. Over 100,000 commercial flights per day travel from about 9,000 airports. At any given time, there are around 8,000 to 13,000 planes in the air around the world.

    That’s a tremendous amount of flight activity to control and coordinate across multiple functions including:

    • ground control
    • tower control
    • clearance delivery
    • terminal control
    • en-route control
    • baggage handling
    • terminal security
    • emergency services
    • airline flight operations

    These functions are managed in control rooms and operations centers staffed by multiple people, who often also need to interact and collaborate with people in other control rooms. A control room can be sized for just a few operators or for dozens, depending on the scale and range of functions supported. Control rooms need equipment and connectivity built for mission-critical operation – highly reliable, resilient, and redundant.

    In control rooms, the amount of information consolidated, displayed, and evaluated is large and growing. To make operators more efficient and enable better decisions, they need to access and visualize multiple data streams and video sources. Some video sources might be camera feeds, but many others are user interfaces from different computer applications that require control room operator interactivity. When there is a large number of applications to use or monitor, operator consoles can become increasingly crowded as they are filled with additional keyboards and display screens that can potentially reduce operator efficiency.

    Multiple enabling technologies can improve collaboration across multiple operators in a control room and improve individual operator efficiency.

    Improving Operator Ergonomics and Computing Infrastructure Security
    Removing distractions from a control room environment helps operators to better focus on their tasks and make better decisions. Locate critical computing infrastructure away from operators in a secure equipment room to eliminate noise and heat from the operator environment, free up space, and reduce cable clutter. A centralized location for computing infrastructure enables IT technicians to work on equipment and minimize disruption to control room operators. Use KVM extenders to extend keyboard, video, and mouse signals over CATx or fiber cable to overcome the inherent signal distance limitations. For example, USB signals, used for keyboards and mice, are limited to a native transmission distance of 5 meters (16 feet). KVM extenders transcode these signals into another format used for sending over a greater distance and then convert back to the native signals at the other end. Desktop switches consolidate keyboards and mice for multi-monitor desktops so an operator only needs a single keyboard and mouse to use multiple remote computers, essentially creating a multi-PC, multi-screen desktop that operates like a single system.

    Sharing and Collaboration
    A switched KVM matrix enables control room operators to simultaneously share information from remote computers by multiple operators. This provides all of the benefits of KVM signal extension, plus enables users to reach or switch to any system for which they have access permission. The KVM matrix also allows multiple operators or stand-alone video displays to receive a copy of the video output from the same server. Depending on workflow, a KVM matrix potentially enables fewer staff members to perform the same functions, which can lower operations costs.

    Some KVM technologies are IP-based, which enables sources (PC and servers) to be located and accessed from anywhere in the facility over the LAN. Some IP-based KVM systems enable users to connect to either physical or virtualized servers, including access to servers across the Internet (KVM-over-WAN). Users with different functions in widely dispersed control rooms can access the same servers and back-up control rooms can be more easily implemented. As more computing infrastructure moves into the cloud and is virtualized, users will need to interact in real-time with remote applications.

    Users might need to share content from their desktop to other users or screens. A KVM matrix switch or collaboration software supports screen mirroring so that a specific operator’s desktop can be shared to a video wall or to individual desktop screens.

    Common Operating Picture
    While advanced video walls are not typically used in an airfield control tower, they have other uses within the broader air transportation ecosystem. Video walls enable a common visualization for the entire control room team, and can range from a collection of individual monitors to a canvas-style video wall with multiple windows and limitless layout options. Drive windowed type systems by a multi-viewer or an advanced video wall processor.

    Multi-viewers display multiple windows through a single video output, for example, a quad-view where four windows are simultaneously displayed. Some multi-viewers can support more than four windows and can also be cascaded for additional windows on a single display. Using a multi-viewer with a projection system or with displays that can be daisy-chained can function as a basic, but effective way to control a multi-window video wall for a control room.

    Video wall processors expand on multi-viewers by enabling one or more windows of any size to be displayed across multiple displays in any layout configuration across any configuration of display alignment (e.g. 3x2, 6x3, 10x4). This is the ultimate in flexibility and scalability as video walls can be created to support dozens of screens with hundreds of individual windows. For example, security control rooms can bring in video feeds from hundreds of IP cameras across an airport complex and simultaneously display as many of them as desired.

    Multi-Site Sharing
    Users can share video content with multiple remote users or locations in a view-only capacity with video encoders. Video encoders compress video signals for transport over a network that has limited bandwidth, usually done in H.264 format and increasingly in the newer H.265 format, which uses only half of the bandwidth compared to H.264. A single encoder can send a multi-cast stream into a network so the content can be received by multiple control rooms or mobile users simultaneously. Today, the majority of video surveillance cameras are IP-based and can be easily shared locally or across a network to another site.

    Improving Passenger Experience
    Some data that is available to control rooms can also be used to drive video walls in the terminals to give passengers more information and in a better visual format. For example, flight-tracker applications can show the position of incoming and departing flights instead of just a list of arrival and departure times. Runways can similarly be visualized to show departure queues on the video wall. This information can help passengers make better decisions and better understand factors related to flight delays. Combined with touch screens, additional data about each plane becomes an interactive experience that improves passenger engagement.

    Enabling technology for control rooms helps increase operator efficiency, create a common operating picture to improve collaboration and decision-making, and allows multiple control rooms to share information or operate as back-up sites. Combined with the experience of dedicated air transportation workers, control rooms help keep planes, passengers, and luggage moving around the world.

    To learn more about Black Box’s Control Room solutions, visit our website.

     

    Data sources available upon request. 

    Full story
  • How to Integrate Public Safety Video Feeds and Surveillance for Real-Time Visualization

     Dec 5, 2016  Black Box

    Active shooter incidents and similar threats have become more prevalent. According to data released by the FBI on June 15, 2016, there were 20 active shooter incidents in 2015 and 2014 each. That is six times more than the two-year period of 2000 to 2002, which was when the FBI began tracking active shooting incidents.

    As was demonstrated by the horrific shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, there is often confusion when law enforcement respond to such incidents as they are unable to see what is going on inside, and dispatchers must rely on oral communication in chaotic situations. There is an increasing need for police operations centers and 911 centers to be able to visualize feeds that they are receiving. The information can come from officer body cameras, dash cameras, helicopter and drone video, public and private surveillance cameras and other public safety data. Having the ability to receive this data as it happens with real-time visualizations could aid in response times and potentially save more lives.

    A Technology Solution

    Black Box Radian Video Walls can be integrated with DVRs and video management systems to provide all of the incoming video feeds simultaneously on a wall in the command center or control room for real-time visualizations. The information is streamed via the IP to DVR. Black Box has the necessary components to display it via the Radian Video Wall. 

    Video Compatibility 

    The Black Box Radian Video Wall is compatible with multiple formats and video inputs. You can rely on it to display information from DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, SDI, VGA, and IP. It works with all modern video formats, and it supports 4K. Users are able to drag and drop video feeds on the display and can freely position and size incoming video anywhere on the video wall. 

    Flexibility

    The system has numerous configurations, allowing you to create one or more video walls using up to 64 video outputs. It can handle inputs from hundreds of sources simultaneously. Expansion chassis allow greater scalability and come in 4-slot, 9-slot, and 11-slot sizes.

    Trained law enforcement personnel are human and have human reactions when confronted with severe crises like active shooting incidents. This makes it more difficult for dispatchers and command centers to get a true picture of what is happening on the ground at the site of the incident. In the Pulse nightclub attack, several officers responded within a few minutes of the shooter’s engaging the security personnel in a firefight. The officers had a difficult time initially spotting the shooter but followed sounds back to the bathrooms. They were communicating with dispatchers orally. According to the Washington Post, one officer among the small team that made their way in said that the five were told to hold their position and wait for the SWAT team to arrive. If the dispatchers had had real-time visualizations from the officers’ body cameras to better understand what was going on, it is possible that the response would have been quicker, saving more people on that night.

    It is an unfortunate fact of modern times that violent incidents sometimes happen. Having real-time visualizations along with verbal communication can help public safety professionals to better understand where help needs to be directed. As more incidents continue to happen, having quick, real-time information can end the active shooting much faster, saving lives in the process. 

    To learn more about the Black Box Radian Video Wall system and our technology solutions for public safety, visit our website.  

    Full story
  • KVM Extension vs. Switching: How to Decide What’s Best for Your Control Room

     Nov 18, 2016  Black Box

    When it comes to managing your control room, there are a number of options and issues to consider, but high on that list will be how to extend access to server and other remote data sources through the use of keyboard, video and mouse (KVM) extenders, keeping the servers themselves in a secure, environmentally controlled server room. Two leading options are KVM Extenders and KVM Switches. So what is the difference? When and why would you choose one over the other?

    Generally speaking. The fundamental difference between a KVM extender and a KVM switch is this; an extender provides a point-to-point extension, while a switch is generally a many-to-many configuration, which allows multiple users to access multiple target systems. Overly simplistic, but think of it in terms of an electrical extension cord that simply moves the female plug socket from the wall to wherever you need it. That is the essence of a KVM extender. A KVM switch is more like a network switch you may already be familiar with, which provides an access path from each device plugged into the switch to users on the other side of the switch. This could mean multiple users have KVM access to multiple computers in your server room.

    Options and trade-offs. As technology advances, extenders and switches continue to be endowed with more features and capabilities. KVM extenders provide a point-to-point solution, allowing a user to increase the distance that a keyboard, monitor and mouse can access a remote computer. Switches, on the other hand, are capable of much more in terms of multiple people supporting and accessing multiple remote systems from a consolidated control room, without having to be co-located with the systems being accessed.

    Control vs flexibility. Bear in mind, there is no need to pick just one solution type. There are many reasons to have computer hardware in a server room with the KVM access in a control room somewhere else. For example, it may simply be an individual computer that needs to be outside of a sound studio to avoid the machine noise and yet allows the personnel inside the studio to operate the computer. There, an extender would be ideal. For many, limiting the human presence in the control room is a priority. KVM extenders and switches can help achieve that goal also. Another example would be where many support staff need real-time access to mission critical data sources, being able to switch with ease and speed. This would clearly call for a KVM switch.

    As is usually the case, what is best is going to depend on your specific needs and concerns. After all, that is why both technologies exist and continue to thrive in the market. To net it out;

    Extender: Point-to-point, one-to-one, essentially moves the KVM from where the computer sits to where the operator sits. 

    Switch: Many-to-many access giving many users access to many remote devices, such as servers and other media sources, allowing for seamless monitoring and control, as would be common in a control room scenario.

    It is important to remember that this is actual keyboard, video and mouse connectivity. It is not the same as a remote login, but rather as if the operator were using the physically attached keyboard and mouse. This is a key distinction. Since KVM access is not dependent on network access like remote login, it can be used even when the network is unavailable and is not subject to network vulnerabilities like hacking and data stream sniffing.

    Still not sure what is best for your situation? Black Box makes it easy with comprehensive integration teams, project engineer experts and 24/7 customer service support. To learn how to manage any computer or server from anywhere at any time, visit our website or view our Webinar: KVM Applications Beyond the Data Center

    Full story
  • Black Box Brings Best Practices in Broadcast Virtualization to NAB Show New York

     Nov 10, 2016  Black Box

    NAB Show® New York is under wraps and it was an exciting event to showcase the best in broadcast technology. Black Box unveiled how broadcasters can benefit from virtualization with InvisaPC™. The transition to the virtualized TV station is underway, but hurdles must be overcome. Until then, broadcasters must utilize both physical and virtual resources. Black Box’s InvisaPC is the only solution to make this possible, delivering seamless KVM connectivity through access to physical and virtual machines. As a result, broadcast teams always have access to the technologies they need.

    Black Box’s InvisaPC benefits an array of scenarios through virtualization. This includes:

    • The Newsroom: Whether a large team collaborating during peak news hours, or smaller groups managing live broadcasts during slow points, instant access to technologies they need is pivotal. InvisaPC allows teams to simultaneously work across the same array of computers and virtual machines from a single interface and can instantly re-assign the resources for future events. The result is uninterrupted, high-quality broadcasts viewers expect.
    • The Studio: Broadcasters must quickly change set up from one production to the next to keep up in studio environments. InvisaPC makes this possible, eliminating downtime with access to multiple physical and virtual machines from a single monitor, while routing and re-routing AV, multicasting content and adding or removing screens and interfaces.
    • Disaster Recovery: In the event of a disaster, fast transition from the primary site to the disaster recovery site is vital. Access to disaster recovery systems is achieved using InvisaPC connected to virtual machines; either directly through the facility network or remotely across the company WAN.

    “Broadcasters can realize the full potential of the virtual TV station here and now,” said John Hickey, Senior Director of R&D and KVM at Black Box. “At Black Box, we are providing and constantly upgrading a suite of tools that meet the needs of broadcasters today, and throughout their evolution from SDI to IP workflows. Our customers are armed with the tools and support they need to meet expectations, enhance collaboration and reduce costs to maintain a competitive edge.”

    Download your free virtualization white paper: Broadcast and Post-Production Transition to Virtualization.

    download whitepaper
    Full story
  • 4 Features to Look for When Buying a Presentation Switcher

     Nov 7, 2016  Black Box

    Have you ever been in a meeting where presenters changed or the input source needed to change? Typically, this involves switching cables and changing the source on a display, which wastes time and creates distractions. The advent of the presentation switcher has made awkward and time-consuming fumbling around a thing of the past. But not all presentation switchers are created equally. Here are the key features to look for when selecting a presentation switcher for your conference room:

    1. Easy Connectivity Regardless of Source
    It’s very common to have a variety of analog and digital sources that need to connect to a display during a meeting. A presentation switcher that can accommodate a host of inputs, including DisplayPort, is important to maximize flexibility.

    2. Seamless Switching
    When more than one source is required, it can be inefficient and time consuming to switch in between sources. Look for the ability to switch quickly between sources, like projectors and laptops, without latency. Lulls in a presentation can lead to losing the audience's interest. Look for a presentation switcher with the most seamless switching capabilities.

    3. Built-in HDBaseT Extension
    HDBaseT technology enables users to present from remote sources or to transmit to a remote display over existing CAT5e and CAT6 cable. Presentation switchers with built-in HDBaseT extension enables use to take advantage of existing infrastructure saving both time and money.

    4. Future Proof Technology
    Technology is always evolving therefore it is important to look for a presentation switcher that can accommodate change. Look for a presentation switcher that supports 4K UHD with the ability to scale signals up or down in order to match the display resolution. 4K UHD is currently the best resolution we have, so finding a switcher that supports it ensures you never encounter display issues. Backwards compatibility is also necessary, as well, as you will most like encounter a variety of newer and legacy displays.

    In a technology-focused world, presentations that utilize multiple, multimedia tools are the norm. Presentation switchers have entered the arena to make multimedia presentations more impressive, interactive, and seamless. Not only do they enhance presentations, but they also enhance the collaborative nature of a multimedia presentation. Whether you are switching between sources or switching between presenters, a presentation switcher will ensure the process is effortless.

    For more information on Black Box conference room solutions click here.

    Full story
  • 6 Reasons Fiber Networks Are Best for High-Security Applications

     Nov 3, 2016  Black Box

    High-security networks, like those used in government, healthcare, retail, and financial applications, require a higher level of network security than commercial applications. While fiber optic networks are well known for their speed, they also present significant security benefits compared to CATx networks. The following security benefits are important to evaluate when considering fiber for high-security networks:

    No Radiated Emissions

    CATx cable, the network standard, carries a risk of radiated emissions while fiber optic cables do not emit or absorb electromagnetic energy.  To transmit data, CATx cable uses electrical signals which conduct an electromagnetic field. Although CATx cables might be wrapped in shielding to help prevent leakage, the risk of possible exposure of the data poses a risk to security. The effectiveness of the CATx cable shielding depends on the material, quality of construction, and necessary flexibility. Conversely, fiber does not radiate electromagnetic signals and is extremely difficult to tap.

    Travels Long Distances

    By using light to transmit data at high speeds and great distances, fiber optic cable has very little loss. Unlike the native 328 foot (100 meter) limit of copper, the distances possible with fiber depend on the style of cable, wavelength, and network. As noted in 8 Advantages of Choosing Fiber over Copper Cable, fiber can travel from 550 meters to 40 kilometers depending on speed and cabling. Longer distance requires fewer signal repeaters and signal boosters and therefore fewer breaks in the system that may be exploited to compromise security. The less equipment there is, the easier it will be to centralizing the system, improving overall security.

    Harder to Tap

    Because fiber is extremely difficult to tap, it offers data security unmatched by copper. Any attempt to break the physical security of a fiber network will be immediately apparent because the leak will cause the entire system to fail. Instead of having wiring closets and equipment throughout the building, fiber networks typically feature a secure central location to house all of the network equipment.

    Greater Bandwidth

    While single-mode fiber offers the greatest bandwidth, the exact speed of transmission depends on the specific types of cable. Fiber carries more information with greater fidelity than copper at speeds of 10 Gbps or better.

    Reliability and Immunity

    The core of fiber is made of glass, which is an insulator, so no electric current can flow through, providing extremely reliable data transmission. Because it is completely immune to environmental factors that affect copper such as electrometric interference and radio-frequency interference (EMI/RFI), crosstalk, and impedance problems, fiber cable can be run next to industrial equipment without concern. Fiber is also less susceptible to temperature fluctuations than copper and can be submerged in water.

    Migration

    The proliferation and declining cost of media converters has made migrating from copper to fiber much easier. Media converters provide seamless links that extend the life of existing hardware. Fiber upgrades may include 12- and 24- strand MPO cassettes, cables, and hardware possibly in preparation for future 40- and 100-GbE networks.

    Meeting Future Networks Needs with Fiber

    Fiber optics are the right choice for most modern networks. Although other technologies may be sufficient, the capabilities of fiber are vast. As technology continues to emerge, fiber optics are making great strides, extending its superior capabilities even more.

    Learn how easy it is to bring fiber from the data center to the desktop with our Media Converters Guide or contact us to discuss an upcoming project.  

    Full story
  • 4 Ways to Modernize Your Broadcast Workflow with Today’s KVM

     Oct 27, 2016  Black Box

    As broadcast technology evolves, KVM has advanced to accommodate large distances, high performance, and varying levels of system redundancy and resiliency. But what is behind the KVM technology that allows the system to meet varying user needs? Whether a direct-connect system or customer supplied IP-Network, learn how todays KVM is evolving:

    System Architecture – While KVM was traditionally used to connect a large number of servers to a small number of user stations, analog systems came with use limitations because of their architecture. Today’s KVM has gone digital, and is available as a direct connect or IP network connected system. These systems are designed to offer a high level of flexibility and usability among hundreds of users in a system.

    Connected Options – In former years, finding a fixed input or output could prove troublesome. Modern KVM deploys various endpoints that can be configured as inputs or outputs to offer further flexibility for users. Numerous options exist for the type of endpoint that can be deployed, as well as for copper or fiber interconnections between endpoints and matrix.

    System Resiliency – Broadcast technology has changed, and has transitioned from a background configuration tool of yesterday to a main point of control for today. Maintaining these control points is critical in many on-air applications, and resiliency allows operators to react quickly. In some of the most critical operations, system protections can be integrated to maintain in-sync system configuration and connection.

    Port Flexibility – Today’s direct connect matrix systems not only allow users to configure different I/O port speeds, but to customize connections between endpoints and the matrix. With options like high speed ports, users can take advantage of recent advancements in SFP technology to allow additional connectivity options, allowing high resolution video sources to be switched alongside the traditional UI signals for greater flexibility in monitoring options.

    KVM systems have come a long way since their roots, and as they evolve, they provide a vital link between operations staff and the technologies used to create and distribute content. These important tools have continued to evolve to keep pace with an ever-expanding array of technology and platforms, while at the same time increasing their usability, performance, and reliability.

    To learn more about Enterprise Class KVM Solutions for Media and Entertainment, download our KVM for Broadcast Guide or contact us to schedule a consultation.

    Be our guestRegister to attend NAB Show NY and use guest pass code NY8464 to obtain a FREE exhibits-only pass. Visit us at booth #1508. 

    RegisterNow
    Full story