ARK Multicasting Turns To HPE To Virtualize ATSC 3.0 Infrastructure

ARK Multicasting
(Image credit: ARK Multicasting)

HOUSTON—ARK Multicasting has chosen Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to power its next-generation ATSC 3.0 broadcast internet network.

ARK will rely on HPE’s edge-to-cloud infrastructure, software and services to transition its stations from a physical infrastructure to a virtualized environment. The transition will make it possible for ARK to move data at high speeds to the consumer edge, the company said.

ARK’s new network delivers TV and data as IP packets via ATSC 3.0. It will help bridge the connectivity gap in rural areas of the United States, it said.

“Last mile connectivity remains a big problem, but by leveraging HPE, ARK can fix the connectivity gap and bridge the broadband divide,” said ARK Multicasting CEO Josh Weiss.

“The power of datacasting can close the connectivity gap significantly faster and in a cost-efficient way. HPE helps us stay nimble and agile so we are open to any customer who wants to get their data from one source to many end users employing the largest unencumbered network in the country,” he said.

“For example, ARK can facilitate distance learning, where even students without any connectivity can connect and receive content," he added. "This will also be a tremendous augmentation to 5G networks providing broad coverage low-latency connectivity for autonomous vehicles.”

Turning to the cloud, rather than proprietary broadcast technology, to power its 3.0 deployments with enable the broadcaster to manage spectrum dynamically and create new channels in minutes, as needed, rather than days, HPE said.

HPE software solutions are enabling ARK to manage the entire end-to-end environment, including HPE Service Director, HPE Virtual Headend Manager and HPE Media Workflow Master. HPE has provided ARK with an edge-to-cloud architecture where HPE software running on HPE infrastructure at traditional edge locations is centrally orchestrated by HPE Service Director, it said.

It orchestrates complex infrastructure and services in a simple, codeless way. HPE Service Director enables ARK to onboard new customers and dynamically manage the spectrum allocation between multiple customers ensuring the maximum possible utilization of spectrum. It also enables the creation of new channels in minutes and for ARK admins to monitor activity across all customers, while customers get the ability to monitor their usage, billing and charges in near real time, it said. 

At broadcast sites, HPE Virtual Headend Manager and HPE Media Workflow Master run on HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge Systems, a compute platform that’s well-suited to ARK’s rural base stations and towers, HPE said.

HPE’s infrastructure portfolio for communications service providers also includes the HPE ProLiant DL110 Gen10 Plus server. The Edgeline EL8000 family of multi-blade servers offer a large-accelerator capability and can also accommodate a variety of vRAN scenarios, as well as non-RAN workload, such as multi-access edge compute (MEC). 

HPE Virtual Headend Manager gives ARK the ability to turn up and down new channels quickly, manage the entire lifecycle from end-to-end of media with integrated transcoders, schedulers, packagers and push media out to the exciter. Media Workflow Master was selected for the capability to manage large volume of media and data assets, it said.

More information on the HPE website (opens in new tab) and ARK Multicasting website (opens in new tab).

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.