Imagine Communications Helps NEP Belgium Migrate OB Van To IP Future

NEP Belgium has upgraded one of its main mobile production trucks with a new IP core infrastructure, deploying technology and systems from Imagine Communications. Perhaps the biggest challenge: VP Media Solutions, a local dealer, had to complete installation of all of the systems in a little over a month before it went back on the road.

Geert Thoelen, transitions manager at NEP Belgium, said they wanted a signal distribution solution that would fit into the existing space of the truck’s legacy router, provide all the functionality they currently need while also being future proof for its eventual conversion to IP.

“We could really only take the truck off the road for little more than a month earlier this year, so [VP Media Solutions] had to be capable of moving swiftly to install and commission,” he said, adding that a design, integration and implementation team consisting of local staff working alongside VP Media Solutions brought the skills needed to finish the project.

An Imagine Communications Platinum IP3 router was installed on board, seamlessly integrating uncompressed video over IP.

An Imagine Communications Platinum IP3 router was installed on board, seamlessly integrating uncompressed video over IP.

The truck’s new infrastructure is built around the Platinum IP3 router. In a single 15RU chassis, this router provides very high-density switching of today’s SDI-HD signals. It is also capable of seamlessly integrating uncompressed video over IP, so is ready to form the basis of a migration to IP connectivity to introduce Ultra HD signals at a later date. In Unit 14, the Platinum IP3 router is also fitted with the Platinum SX Pro multiviewer cards, adding functionality while reducing rack occupancy and power consumption.

Imagine’s Magellan SDN Orchestrator provides overall system control in the truck. It is specifically designed to provide unified operational interfaces in a hybrid environment, easing the transition between traditional, SDI-connected technology and software-defined, IP-connected architectures.

“The small frame size fitted well into the truck, but what really made it the right choice for us was the integrated multiviewer,” Thoelen said. “The multiviewer is also much more flexible than our old monitoring setup. Unit 14 might do football Friday, Saturday and Sunday, then entertainment and concerts during the week, so we constantly need to change the configuration. We can set up as many PiPs as we need for whatever the director wants.”

Unit 14 took five weeks off the road and returned to service to cover a Ladies of Soul concert in Amsterdam. The installation work was carried out in NEP’s workshops in Rotselaar, northeast of Brussels.

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