Making the Jump to Unbreakable Live Broadcast

Broadcasting | Connectivity


The Mitteldeutsche Rundfunk (MDR) is a public broadcaster in central Germany. Founded in 1991, MDR employs 2,100 staff and is a member of the ARD, a joint organization of Germany’s regional public service broadcasters. MDR broadcasts news, information, education, and entertainment over television, radio, and Internet podcasts.

Challenge

The tension rises as the second round of ski jumping at the Nordic World Ski Championships enters its final phase. Only one jumper remains before the champion is crowned. The crowd holds their breath as the trainer gives the start signal. The last ski jumper takes off – all of a sudden the connection to the live broadcast is interrupted. Thousands of fans are left hanging. Anger and frustration at the broadcaster begins to grow.

MDR often provides live broadcasts at outdoor sporting venues, political events, concerts and so on. During which, interruptions like the example above are unacceptable. While stutters can be annoying, interruptions for just a few seconds can be a disaster. These can then result in serious damage to viewer satisfaction and MDR’s reputation. This is even more important when the station is the event’s exclusive broadcaster.

In the first stages of planning, MDR decided to look for a router solution capable of failover to improve reliability and security. In addition, this solution must be flexible enough to support outdoor broadcast deployments and user needs. It must also be compatible with alternative forms of connectivity in the event that wired connection is not available. “Especially in the current business there is the problem of the short-term provision of Internet connections,” explains Uwe Schumann, employee of the Transmission Systems and Networks Department at MDR. “The providers require a considerable lead time of at least three to six weeks to provide the connections. Therefore, we were looking for a solution that would allow us to make capacities available in a timely manner.”

Solution

MDR deployed three Balance 710 hubs to network the data centers and create geo-redundancy for the end devices. In order to achieve this, they installed the devices in 2 different locations. The third router then acts as a backup device if one of the other two should fail. The MAX HD4 and MAX Transit Duo routers can then use the SpeedFusion tunnel to connect to the respective site networks. As a result, a stable high speed SD-WAN connection between the outdoor broadcast location and the broadcasting studio is created. Due to this, data transfer is quick and free of interference. In addition, they chose to install two Balance 710 routers on redundant gigabit fiber optic lines. This creates both a primary tunnel and a secondary tunnel. In case a leased line or even a data center (DC) fails, the devices in the field automatically switch to the still functioning DC.

“The versatile product range including above all the central management platform InControl2 and the flexibility of the network routing corresponded exactly to our ideas.”

Uwe Schumann, Transmission Systems and Networks Department at MDR.

Result

A stable connection is essential in order to give the viewers and listeners an optimal live feel during outdoor broadcasts. Due to Peplink’s router solutions, MDR can bundle all available bandwidths together to ensure reliable data transmission at all times. Another project goal was to be able to offer a central bonding solution for the entire MDR group of companies, including subsidiaries. In the future, these subsidiaries should operate and manage their own routers independently.

“The integration of the Peplink devices and the bundled bandwidth in combination with the existing transmission systems guarantees that maximum reliability is achieved in the transmission of live recordings,” says Uwe Schumann. “The router solutions support us in various application scenarios, for example in the area of ​​audio over IP for radio broadcasting, where actual live transmissions take place into the current program, online reporting or the transfer of contributions and raw material between the outdoor broadcasting location and the headquarters. We can easily manage the solutions via the multi-client capable management platform InControl2 and with the managed service from Peplink we also save time and money.”

“The integration of the Peplink devices and the bundled bandwidth in combination with the existing transmission systems guarantees that maximum reliability is achieved in the transmission of live recordings.”

Uwe Schumann, Transmission Systems and Networks Department at MDR.

Deployment

MAX Transit Duo
  • Installed on redundant gigabit fiber optic lines.
  • Creates a stable high-speed SD-WAN connection that without interference between the outdoor broadcast location and the broadcasting studio.

Balance 710
  • Network the data centers and create geo-redundancy for the end devices.
MAX HD4
  • Creates a stable high-speed SD-WAN connection that allows data to be transferred quickly.
InControl 2 Cloud Management
  • Easily manage devices and solutions.