MLB Network Deploys Single-Fiber, Dual-Link KVM Solution From Joseph Electronics

Joseph Electronics (JE) announced that MLB Network has deployed a custom dual-link, dual-image KVM solution to connect its new data center to its postproduction facility. The KVM solution enables MLB Network to transmit and receive production data on a single dark fiber and reroute signals quickly to and from any of 86 edit stations in the network’s 24/7 operation.

Joseph Electronics Logo Master“Joseph Electronics worked with MultiDyne to design a KVM system that could operate on a single fiber strand, which is something no one else could offer,” says Tab Butler, senior director of media management and postproduction, MLB Network. “By covering bidirectional communications in a single piece of glass, we were able to cut our dark fiber costs. At the same time, our editors’ experience with the keyboard, mouse, and video is the same in terms of feel and response time as it was when the computer was located right under their desks.”

To combat space and power limitations at its studio headquarters, which houses the postproduction operation, MLB Network moved its recording encoders, storage systems, computers for 86 edit machines, proxy storage, and MAM infrastructure to a new data center over one mile away. The editors and their work spaces — each of which contains two 24-inch computer monitors with an audio monitor, a keyboard, and a mouse — remain at the studios. The data center and the studios are connected by redundant, point-to-point bundles of dark fiber. Signals from the keyboard, mouse, monitors, and computer audio all traverse back and forth on a single strand of fiber.

Unlike competitive solutions that require two or more fibers to connect the work spaces to each of the 86 edit machines, JE and MultiDyne devised an industry-first KVM solution that requires only one fiber strand per machine, with a unique dual-image, dual-link feature. In this way, MLB Network needs half the amount of dark fiber, which results in significant savings for an operation of its size. Furthermore, editors have almost instant access to the data they need.

At the same time, MLB Network can use the KVM system in concert with an optical router to reroute transmitters and receivers quickly and dynamically if hardware problems occur, eliminating the need to take an edit space out of service. Instead, in only a minute, any physical machine at the data center can be assigned through the router to any specific edit work space at the studios.

“What we are really striving for is maximum uptime because we are a 24/7 production facility, and we need to ensure the editors have full-time access to the content,” Butler says. “This setup enables us to troubleshoot problems by switching the hardware quickly, on the fly, and replacing it with known good hardware so that the edit rooms can continue to operate seamlessly. It’s also very easy to add, migrate, or reconfigure edit spaces without impacting the end user.”

MLB Network’s KVM system consists of 86 MultiDyne transmitters at the data center, connected to 86 Cisco C-240 edit workstations running Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2016 for editing. At the studios, 94 MultiDyne receivers are reserved for 86 HD edit work spaces.

“We worked closely with MLB Network and MultiDyne to deliver a cutting-edge system that solved the network’s technical challenges in a way that’s never been done before,” says Ishan Bhawnani, manager of new business development for Joseph Electronics. “It’s gratifying to have played a role in helping MLB Network accomplish unprecedented advances in their video-production infrastructure.”

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