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ESPN transmission facility

ESPN transmission facility

ESPN's continued rapid growth was the catalyst for a new transmission facility, which opened on July 15, 2010, and was designed with a 10-year vision of growth. It consists of a 5400sq-ft control room, two equipment rooms and a network operations center to support ESPN's private fiber network. The control room was designed to provide the engineers better tools to increase their productivity and to optimize work space.

The consoles in the control room are sleek and display minimal physical equipment. By using GUI displays, ESPN was able to move the hardware to the equipment rooms, thus eliminating heat and noise in the control room.

The heart of the facility is a new automation system, the intelligent resource manager that was developed in collaboration with Evertz Microsystems. This system uses a variety of discrete control systems. The intelligent resource manager provides a common user interface to optimize the use of resources through a real-time data exchange with ESPN's internal event scheduling application. Resources for an event are reserved, configured and routed with just a few mouse clicks, which has yielded significant improvements in
workflow efficiency.

Due to the tremendous growth of ESPNet, the private fiber network that is engineered, maintained and operated by ESPN's network transport team, a unique network operations center was required. Net Insight's Nimbra Vision platform provides service provisioning, bandwidth monitoring and alarm notifications for network events across all nodes in the system, which allows full view and enables fast response times to any network event on a 24/7 basis.

The new transmission facility is connected to various buildings on the ESPN campus via a large Sumitomo air-blown fiber network with more than 2300 connections. Available technical space increased five-fold with respect to the previous facility: 57-unit Stantron equipment racks expanded the usable vertical space by 1500RU. The new facility also houses a multiviewer platform system that provides 304 video inputs, 80 graphical inputs and 64 video outputs.

The facility is 3G-compliant with two 1152-squared Evertz EQX 3G routing systems, two 576-squared ASI routing systems, two 256 x 128 L-band routing systems and dual MADI routers. Streamlined management systems and consolidation of core routing systems reduce the complexity of the day-to-day operational workflow.

Best-practice optical and electrical cable management systems have greatly enhanced the integrity of infrastructure installation and maintenance, eliminating clutter encountered in a shared space. The use of embedded audio has expanded audio channel-handling capability from eight to up to 16 channels, and the Consumer Experience Lab allows for real-time evaluation of ESPN's end product, including 3-D and 5.1 discrete surround sound.

ESPN uses dual-redundant UPS power distribution across two diverse, firewall-protected equipment rooms. All air-critical equipment has been distributed across two rooms for maximum operational resiliency in the event one room is compromised.

  • New studio technology — network
    Submitted by ESPNDesign teamAZCAR: Mike Walter, sr. eng. consult.
    Broadcast Systems Services: Richard White, proj. mgr.
    ESPN: Andy Conklin, proj. mgr.; Rod Lane, lead sys. eng.
    ESPN transmission facility: Bill Lamb, VP; Maura Maloney, sr. dir.; Glenn Scanlon, dir.; Shannon Schaar, assoc. dir. sys.; Lacy Pack, assoc. dir. network transport; Tom Evans, sr. sys. eng.; John Parlopiano, sr. sys. eng.; Matt Armata, sr. sys. eng.; Michael Gugliotti, mgr.; Rich Miska, mgr.
    Evertz R&D: Jeff St. Denis; Colin Brown, IRMTechnology at workAdtec: mediaHUB-HD 422 encoders, RD60 decoders
    ATEME: CM4101 encoders, DR8400 decoders
    Cisco: Nexus 7000 Series switch
    Emcore: Optiva fiber transport platform
    Ericsson: 1290 decoders, 1282 encoders, 8200 decoders
    Evertz: 3000MVP, EQX baseband router, intelligent resource manager, QX CCM (ASI) router, XRF6 L-band router, VLPRO M&C system
    Glowlink: Model 1000 spectrum monitoring
    Net Insight: Nimbra 680 media platform
    Newtec: AZ110 modulators
    Pixelmetrix: REM-TSP120 transport stream processor
    Plura: 24in multiformat HQ monitor
    Quintech: LS12 L-band splitters
    Snell: Alchemist Ph.C-HD
    Sumitomo: Air-blown fiber
    TBC: IntelliTrack consoles
    Tektronix: WVR7120 rasterizer
    Wohler: AMP2-E16-3G audio monitor

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