Synchronising IT equipment using a time server
SUN radio chooses the Netsilon 9 time server to monitor its IT network and connection status.
The Netsilon time server is used to optimise IT equipment availability and thus reduce the number of interventions of technical staff in a radio studio.
Le Son Unique
Nantes – France
listeners per day
Synchronisation of IT equipment
How is a time server useful for a radio studio ?
SUN radio (Le Son Unique) is an independent, generalist, community radio station broadcasting a wide variety of music, its core purpose being to promote talent and artists from across the Grand Ouest region of France. Its programming schedule is broadcast across different radio frequencies in the towns of Nantes and Saint-Nazaire using FM transmitters, and in the towns of Pornic, La Roche-sur-Yon and Guérande using DAB digital radio. With its eclectic programme schedules, playing music to suit all tastes and ages, it appeals to a very wide audience of listeners aged between 20 and 60.
This local radio station faces the same problems as national radio stations. They all share the same requirement for secure, reliable synchronisation for their clocks and IT equipment. Every day, they need to communicate a correct, accurate hourly time signal to their listeners.
Synchronisation is also used when radio stations have a website. On the vast majority of radio websites, listeners can find the daily programming schedule (hour by hour) together with the current song title and performing artist, according to the day and time of broadcast (to the nearest minute).
Radio stations also have a requirement for reliable timestamping in order to effectively monitor their IT systems for round-the-clock availability. And for good reason, since the continuous live broadcasting of music and radio programmes demands constant vigilance.
Unicast and multicast synchronisation to synchronise systems and monitor the network
The main constraint of SUN's Technical Manager was to be able to synchronise the IT network and computers in unicast and all the clocks in multicast, over an IP connection.
He was also looking for a solution that would enable him to perform reliable, accurate timestamping to provide better traceability of events occurring on vital studio equipment.
He wanted to purchase a high-performance product that was compatible with existing systems (NTP standardised time protocol). The time server needed to have the technical capacity to accommodate future studio developments in order to provide a scaleable long-term solution (upgrade to PTP protocol).
The Netsilon 9, a time server suited to the audiovisual market
A Netsilon 9 has been installed in the studios of SUN radio to meet its very specific requirements. This model provides a comprehensive solution suited to the technical constraints of the audiovisual industry. Specifically:
- precise time synchronisation to provide reliability when broadcasting the hourly time signal and a single time reference across clocks and devices,
- configuration of network adaptors (via option cards) used to synchronise independent networks (local, dedicated, Terrestrial Digital Radio),
- support for SNMP and SMTP protocols to optimise monitoring and the sending of alerts in the event of faults on the network,
- accuracy up to 10-11 second to allow precise timestamping
“In anticipation of future developments to our radio station, we made the decision to install a time server. With its reputation for time and attendance management and industrial clockmaking, we chose to contact Bodet Time. We were happy to place our trust in Bodet as the teams acted responsively and professionally to our request.
We chose to install the Netsilon 9 as it provided us with a secure, reliable and accurate solution. The functional aspects of the product, its accuracy and its price matched our criteria.
We particularly valued:
- the added network card with two Ethernet ports,
- the straightforward, user-friendly system interface, even for new users,
- the ease of accessibility to web server monitoring protocols from any browser,
- the option to use multiple satellite constellations (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo or BeiDouu),
- its integration with our monitoring solution to give improved visibility of connection status,
- the SMTP protocol for sending Netsilon status information and the SNMP protocol for sending automatic alerts in the event of IT errors,
- the supplementary data provided for monitoring the Netsilon status as well as synchronisation (oscillator temperature, alarm management, power status, option cards, event log, etc.).
- the availability of indicators, alarms, graphics and logs to monitor the synchronisation sources specifically (satellite reception quality, time offset, etc.)
Other interfaces currently available on the market are less “user friendly” and the data not so easy to interpret.”
Testimonial from François Picard,
Technical Manager at Le Son Unique