Networking

Governors State University Switches to Campuswide Audio-over-IP Network

A project that began as a simple upgrade to the campus broadcast production center at Governors State University in Illinois has expanded to a campuswide audio-over-IP network supporting the campus meeting hall, classrooms and nursing labs, in addition to cable TV broadcasts, theater performances and sports broadcasting.

The campus production center is home to two television studios, two control rooms, a master control center for the university's local cable access channel, and multiple editing suites and audio production rooms. Originally, the facility used a fairly traditional broadcast infrastructure, consisting of off-the-shelf Cisco switches and standard network cabling, but the growing need to manage multichannel audio for video productions and remote audio from off-site production locations was pushing the limits of the center's audio network.

Charles Nolley, vice president of media marketing and communications at GSU, wanted to upgrade to a system that was flexible, scalable, easy to use, and that offered exceptional audio quality across multiple points, while also controlling costs. After evaluating numerous audio networking systems, he selected a dedicated Dante audio-over-IP network from Audinate.

The system uses the university's existing dark fiber network and includes Dante-enabled hardware from Focusrite, Shure, Studio Technologies, Symetrix and Yamaha, and it supports low-latency distribution of more than 500 channels between multiple locations on campus. "Dante has all these systems talking to each other, and it gives us incredible flexibility in configuring channels," Nolley said in a prepared statement. "Dante's signal quality has also cleaned up a lot of the artifacts moving between our intercoms and cameras."

Initially, the university used the Dante network to improve its studio infrastructure, but soon realized its potential to support other campus audio systems. The Dante audio-over-IP now supports theater performances, live sports broadcasts, a surround sound system in the main campus meeting hall and a portable audio conferencing system for use in classrooms or other campus locations. The university also implemented a separate Dante network for its new nursing labs, so professors can remotely monitor multiple student nurses as they interact with patients and communicate with them privately using wireless in-ear monitors.

"We originally just looked at digital audio networking to improve our studio infrastructure, but the longer we have had Dante, the more we have realized we can do so much more with the technology...." Nolley said. "And it's so easy to use that we now have students configuring and running setups across campus by themselves. It has enriched the education of our students enormously, because they are now very empowered to quickly understand how to use this technology across many applications. That simply was not possible before."

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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