Thursday, September 14, 2006

Sunrise over IP

Spring break in Cancun sounds like a great idea if you live in Chicago during the brain-numbing cold of the winter months. Doing a remote from Cancun and trying to find reliable ISDN service however can be as equally mind-numbing. Clear Channel Chicago’s KISS-FM (WKSC) found this out the hard way.

This past April, the station took a bunch of its listeners down to the perennial Spring party spot for a live remote and to enjoy the beautiful beaches and incredible sunrises. There are worse things in life to be sure. Like…oh, let’s say…your remote gear getting fried! Mark Pietrzak from the engineering staff at Clear Channel Chicago had taken his trusty Matrix portable with him to Mexico but you know what they said about the best laid plans.

“Yep,” says Mark, “I hosed up my ISDN adapter. I couldn't get a straight answer about the ISDN service. For instance, what kind of switch I was dealing with, SPIDs or dialing. I did get lots of polite smiles and well-meaning shrugs. I'm chalking my failure up to inexperience in dealing with Mexican telecoms, the language barrier and the fact that it was the weekend and all the really experienced phone guys weren't in the office. The cool thing is that just about every installer and tech understood what a DSL was.”

And luckily, Mark had taken along his new Comrex Access Stereo BRIC IP codec! Given the fact that Access is both POTS and IP and its ease of use, it was a great choice to have on hand. Says Mark, “We stayed off the hotel's WAN. Instead, the hotel got us a DSL which they wired to the deck outside my Promotions Director's room. Our feed from the station experienced noticeable jitter only twice during the entire show, but we heard no complaints from the station. After the show was over I plugged in my wireless router and had private wireless internet access for both me and my Promotions Director. We even won some major points with the travel agent by letting her log on. We were able to send our photos for the website right from our rooms. Our Bermuda remotes are quickly approaching. We've tested ISDN there but a rack-mount Access is definitely going along.”

As for the melted down Matrix ISDN module? No worries! Comrex Tech Support was able to get it back into working order.

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