As competition for eyeballs increases, broadcasters need to do more with less. For live events, remote production is emerging as an effective way of doing this. It lets broadcasters send fewer people to the event, and instead send raw feed back to their central studio for production. This lets them make the most of their talent who can work with content from multiple locations. When combined with pay-for-what-you-use transportation, it provides real savings. However, implementing this on existing platforms can lead to operational complexity that outweighs the benefits.
Over the past 25 years, The Switch has built a reputation for providing live video transportation on demand for media companies and production houses. Initially, this was point-to-point connectivity within metro networks. However, as broadcaster requirements evolved, The Switch identified the need to interconnect metro networks to enable live media transportation nationally and internationally.
The first generation solution they developed was to use a centrally located, large video router and local star topology. This met the self-provisioning requirement, however, it was not a scalable solution. As long-distance traffic demands increased, it would lead to delays for local connections.
Solving this problem would mean moving to a meshed network. However, this presented far greater technical demands and network complexity. As customer simplicity is a key feature of The Switch’s offering, this was not an option. Neither was any loss of quality. The Switch’s strict quality standards – guaranteed by industry-leading SLAs – could not be compromised.
For a solution that was economical on a national and international scale, a technical platform was needed that could simplify network complexities for both The Switch and their customers. That’s where Net Insight came into the picture. The Nimbra platform is used by many of the world’s largest network service providers to deliver some of the world’s largest live events. It is renowned not only for delivering unprecedented service quality, but also for helping to simplify network complexities.
The Switch selected Net Insight’s Nimbra platform to build its self-provisioned service. Based on software defined networking (SDN) technology it puts their customers in the control, allowing them to book and provision network capacity where and when they need it through through a simple self-service portal.
Touchscreen provisioning sums up the ease with which the Switch’s customers use their customer portal, SwitchIT. Net Insight’s network APIs integrates SwitchIT with the rich functionality of the Nimbra platform. Service provisioning is conducted through ScheduALL’s ScheduLINK management system.
Nimbra’s built-in monitoring system, provides real time and historical data on both service layer and transport layer performance. This is presented centrally via Nimbra Vision making it possible to verify that all SLAs are met. It also makes it possible to locate and troubleshoot potential problems in services offered, customers’ service interfaces and in DWDM connections.
The Switch’s Nimbra-based platform has been in operation since 2011 and has enabled them to expand to new locations and customers. It currently serves the majority of leading media companies and major league sports in the U.S. as well as serving the U.K. and Canada. Each customer has a tailored portal that lets them book and schedule national and international connections within seconds. This allows the customer to pre-book services, ensuring and reserving availability of the service resources while new connections can be added instantaneously as needed. From request to activation, the connection set up time for a coast-to-coast 1.485 Gbps HD connection is a few minutes.
As well as uncompressed feed, The Switch’s network is currently the largest in the world carrying JPEG2000 compressed services. Leveraging the capabilities of their network, The Switch also provides high-speed, self-provisioned Ethernet and large file transfer services with the same guaranteed quality and customer provisioned approach.
By harnessing the capabilities of the Nimbra platform, The Switch enables media broadcasters to work in a simple, new and flexible way. And to embrace the opportunities of tomorrow as they emerge.