If you’re a general manager, considering an Audio over IP network for your facility makes sense. The technology is faster, cheaper, and better than previous methods to build broadcast facilities. By converting to AoIP, you not only tap into the power of current technology, you allow your facility to leverage the enormous universe of “off the shelf” IT devices that are used worldwide, and not just in the broadcast industry. Here are our top five considerations for general managers thinking about a move to Audio over IP.
1. Invest in Central Infrastructure FirstInvesting in your IP infrastructure before you start converting to IP-based studio equipment allows you to enjoy the low cost and high flexibility of an AoIP system before converting your individual studio(s). Get your network started and then you can convert studios as time and budget allow.
2. Convert Your Studio over TimeSome GMs think that converting a facility to IP is something that has to be done all at once, much like old TDM systems. But because existing analog and new Audio over IP can coexist nicely, the conversion to IP can be made gradually, one studio at a time. You can work your way down a hallway containing multiple studios and tackle them individually over an extended period of time, updating as desired or as budget permits. All at a modest incremental price point. Older technologies before AoIP required a wholesale change involving robust infrastructure and many rooms of equipment resulting in very high cost.
3. Converting to AoIP Is Less Expensive Than Replacing an Analog SystemChanging a facility all at once, like a TDM system mandates, comes at a large price even to do a small project. For one, it requires the purchase of a proprietary mainframe that acts as a hub. Unlike TDM and other proprietary systems, the cost barrier to entry is not applicable to AoIP because you can convert room by room. To make it even less costly, Axia consoles have built-in Ethernet switches, eliminating the need to buy an external switch to connect the components within that single room or studio. Finally, integration is faster and cheaper than an analog system because the time and labor required to run and terminate the masses of audio cable previously required is eliminated.
4. Audio over IP Offers Infinite ScalabilityTDM card cages are not scalable, which means you must think about and plan for future upgrades when you first build the system. Not so for Audio over IP systems. Because AoIP is scalable, you don’t need to worry about upgrading other systems over time. It costs big bucks to plan for the future expansion of a proprietary system compared with expandable and price-efficient Ethernet switches. And when it is time to upgrade, having an IP backbone makes it incredibly easy and inexpensive to upgrade other systems—like your on-air phone system, profanity delay, satellite receivers, or automation system. And there are great benefits of upgrading those systems to IP as well. Check out our Broadcast VoIP Telephone ROI eBook on how replacing your old analog phones with a VoIP system can pay for itself in as little as 18 months. TelosAlliance.com/broadcast-voip-phone-system-roi-ebook.
5. Building in Redundancy Is Cheaper
Because they’re all connected by Ethernet, AoIP-networked devices can be swapped out quickly and easily. This makes it affordable to keep spares or reallocate resources in the event of a failure. With an analog system, on the other hand, you have to change out hardware, not just change the configuration. For example, you’ll have to go to the frame to remove wires and re-patch them, move gear, and more. Ultimately, this ability to build in redundancy makes an Audio over IP system more reliable.
About the Author
At age 17, Addison Burnside convinced his high school, the East Valley Institute of Technology, that AoIP was the way to go for the school's radio station infrastructure, becoming one of the youngest people to ever install an AoIP facility.