Technology Showcase: Fiber Routers and Matrix Switchers
Mar 1, 2008 12:00 PM, Bennett Liles
Fiber takes signal switching further.
For handling relatively heavy fiber routing loads, QuStream offers the Cheetah line of high-definition routers and conversion products including the Cheetah XR multirate routing switcher series in two frame selections. The 512XR can be configured as a 512×512 or 1012×128 or 512×256 in a 27RU frame. Also available is the 1024×512 1024XR in a 41RU frame or as a 1024×1024 in two rack frames. There is internal conversion for HD to SDI, digital to analog, and fiber I/O — all on interchangeable rack cards for custom configuration. Control, configuration, and diagnostics are facilitated with 3500PRO, 3500PRO-LE, PERC2000, and Viewport diagnostic software through redundant matrix-frame controller cards. All frames have single-point lockdown for quick, hot-pluggable removal and insertion of input and output cards, and redundant AC power. There is a 9-pin serial-communications port for RS-232/RS-422 and a looping connector for the Pesa Routing Control (PRC) connection. There are frame and system-control alarm connections, NTSC/PAL and SMPTE reference connections, and an RJ-45 connector for a matrix-frame controller using a 100Base-T Ethernet network. The removable door provides easy access to all internal components, including the high-density, hot-pluggable, front-loading matrix cards.
For long-distance routing of high-resolution video, USB 2.0, keyboard, mouse, and serial and audio signals, Thinklogical offers the DCS digital cross-point matrix switch in three sizes, providing matrix configurations from 32×32 to 144×144 ports. The DCS has a modular design consisting of separate chassis for video and the other signals. The two are connected on a dedicated network and function as one. Both provide hot-swappable, redundant power supplies and fans, along with fiber ports in groups of eight or 16. Video and audio sources may be multicast to multiple ports or broadcast to all output ports. The Linux CPU runs a graphical user interface that allows alphanumerically identified sources to be arranged in physical and logical groups, with configuration changes made on the fly. The Thinklogical line of fiber-optic KVM extenders complements the DCS matrix switch.
The Utah-400 series of digital routing switchers from Utah Scientific covers a wide range of applications including standard- and high-definition video and AES/EBU digital audio switchers in various matrix sizes. The fiber-optic input/output option allows fiber lines to connect to the Utah-400 routing switcher frame with I/O boards, each of which handles eight signals. Internal converter boards hold electrical/optical and optical/electrical converter blocks, which can be removed from the rear of the frame for servicing and field installation. Rear-panel assemblies facilitate access to the converter blocks for fiber-optic cables with either single or dual-LC connectors. Each block carries two signals, and four blocks fully equip each 8-channel board. The eight inputs and outputs per board allow a signal range of 6 miles for HD video and 10 miles for SD. Coax and fiber connections may be mixed in the frame in any combination. The Utah-400 series features a cross-point-redundancy option in all matrix sizes, redundant power supplies and controller cards, signal presence detectors on all inputs and outputs, an internal monitor matrix, and low power consumption. A single 4RU frame unit can house a 64×64 matrix. This can be expanded all the way up to a 160RU, 20-frame unit carrying an 1152×1152 switching matrix.
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