new york, ny -- Qmedia, a digital media service provider currently in the process of building a nationwide fiber optic network, has found a big taker on the East Coast. It recently signed a deal with MSNBC in which the cable channel will buy capacity on Qmedia's network circuit connecting Washington, DC and the New York City metropolitan region. MSNBC will deliver on-air video content from its Washington, DC facilities and on-location cameras to its O & O stations through MSNBC in Secaucus, NJ, utilizing Dynamic Synchronous Transfer Mode (DTM)-based technology. Net Insight, a Swedish company whose U.S. partner is Qmedia, developed DTM, a circuit-switching technology that runs each type of traffic it routes over a separate channel, thereby keeping interference problems to a minimum.

According to Jeff Coneys, senior manager, Satellite Operations for MSNBC, his company chose Qmedia's network because it was looking for more capacity to deliver its news feeds from the nation's capital. "Qmedia offered a pretty big pipe," he said. Although DTM allows for delivery of multiple types of data over a single pipe, Coneys said MSNBC would be sticking to straight audio and video for the time being. The news network had been evaluating and testing the Qmedia and Net Insight technology since October.

Qmedia's network is based on its mediaTAL/Q (Transparent Asynchronous Lightbeams) technology, which enables fiber to carry asynchronous, realtime video traffic long distance. It can carry SONET in parallel as well. It teamed up with Net Insight to further reduce its overhead costs. To do this, Net Insight collapsed the company's network down to one layer.

"Our value proposition to Qmedia was we collapsed what is usually about 25 percent overhead with ATM and SONET down to less than two percent," said Dan Lutter, vice president of Sales for Net Insight. "The objective was to lower the cost of the transport to Qmedia, as far as their infrastructure requirements go. Our box [the Nimbra platform, which utilizes DTM] is basically an all-in-one unit that does the grooming of the services for the optical wave going from New York to DC and back."

In addition, Lutter said DTM provides much higher quality of service (QOS). "MSNBC did a recent presidential address over the Qmedia network with DTM. For a realtime video feed, we had no jitter in the video transport. Doing it over a traditional packet switch network, like ATM, with the video coming over MPEGÑMPEG packetizes the video stream across a packet network, and those packets don't necessarily come spaced correctly, so you get a burst of packets and then another burstÑit's like trying to watch video over the Internet. So we guarantee that there is virtually no jitter in the transmission, no matter how full the pipe is."

According to Russ Hamm, the founder of Qmedia, what won MSNBC over was the fact that, through the mediaTAL/Q and DTM technologies, his company was able to offer its services in a compact package, without all the equipment traditionally required on a network path. "Qmedia brings the fiber right into the studio, which allows Qmedia to supply enough bandwidth that MSNBC can connect directly to the equipment. There's no need for compression boxes or codecs. There are BNC [from Net Insight] connectors on the equipment, so MSNBC can literally plug the video camera right into the connectors, and it's a clean shot to the other end."

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