In Part 1 of Fiber Brings Live Production Home, we discussed the complicated logistics – and costs - of taking a video production on the road. A viable and highly affordable alternative to taking all of your equipment and personnel with you on the road is to use a high-bandwidth transportation system such as leased or dedicated fiber optic links. This allows your editors to work in their own suites, where they are the most efficient, and keeps your valuable anchor talent in the main studio.
But how do you organize the transport of multiple high-bandwidth video feeds, and how do you provide the real-time interaction with remote talent, without having to lease a large number of fiber lines?
The answer is multiplexing.
A fiber multiplexer such as the WDM-16 from FiberPlex allows you to combine up to 16 sources of data on a single fiber pair. The ultra-high data rate – up to 96 Gbps aggregate – enables transmission of multiple channels of broadband video, audio, and data over the fiber.
Optical fiber is highly reliable and is immune to signal degradation. Also, because optical fiber uses light as the transmission medium, its available bandwidth is huge. A multiplexer takes advantage of this extremely high bandwidth by assigning specific signals to specific frequency sections of the fiber signal. At a minimum, two multiplexers are required, one at the remote site and one at the home location. The system can be expanded easily by adding more pairs of multiplexers and fiber lines, as needed. Each signal sent to or from the home location is dedicated to its own channel. In the FiberPlex system, SFP (Small Form-factor Pluggable) modules provide the interconnection between the various signal types and the multiplexer. SFPs are video-optimized for SMPTE video signals.
Backhaul to the remote site is as simple as connecting those channels to the multiplexer at the home site – and transmission delay is not an issue. Remote and at-home talent can interact as though they were in the same room.