A single IP telephone system servicing three studios and a meeting room

 By Juan Ramón Albarrracín.

Technical director at TOP RADIO.

TOP RADIO Spain is one of the stations belonging to the Mexican Media Group, MULTIMEDIOS Radio. Our programming is mainly based upon unforgettable music of all times but we are also generating special programming linking Spain and Mexico with the rest of the stations in the Media Group. In Madrid we are mixing news and current affairs with music and an in-depth coverage of the city’s traffic situation.

Any radio station pretending to communicate with the outside (the audience - and as in our case, with part of these communications are with Mexico), must have a reliable communication system offering maximum flexibility at the same time as it should contribute to minimizing the operational costs.   

I had been shopping for a cost effective telephone and talk-show solution for our Studios in Madrid for quite some time when I came across the SYSTEL IP 12 from AEQ. I asked the sales team of AEQ if they had some kind of Hybrid System that would allow for VoIP telephony. Not only did I receive an affirmative reply but all the technical support that I required.

The solution from AEQ is a relatively simple one and is helping us to reduce the cost for the call service. What we eventually acquired consists in a SYSTEL IP 12 from AEQ that is distributing the system resources between three studios using the analog Inputs and Outputs. Currently we are in the process of changing our traditional analog telephone system for VoIP. Our stations external lines consists in two PSTN or “POTS” lines, a mobile phone line adapter, two B channels of an ISDN line and an ADSL. AEQ installed the necessary devices to adapt the different types of telephone lines that we have to VoIP. These devices or Gateways are converting the PSTN (POTS) and ISDN lines to VoIP channels. 

The AEQ SYSTEL IP 12 basically consists in twelve VoIP audiocodecs using SIP (Session initiation protocol) and a 12 x 12 routing matrix for Analog and Digital I/Os. The main advantage of this system is the possibility to use any of the phone lines in any of our studios and at any instance. Even if it is possible to use more than one Output of the SYSTEL IP for the Studios we have opted to connect one Input and one Output for each Studio.

The standard way of placing calls On-Air is through the “call queue” mode. However, the SYSTEL IP is capable of multi-conferencing the calls. The controlling the SYSTEL IP is as simple as opening the Web browser at any workstation in our LAN, provide the IP address. After that you need to validate yourself as a user with your credentials indicating what program and studio we are going to control. SYSTEL IP also includes four ports to connect dedicated operator or producer handsets for each Studio. It is also possible to use a standard IP telephone set as a System Handset.

For each line there is an on-hook/off-hook button that will also deactivate or activate the handset. Also, there is an ON-AIR/WAIT button, a button that will allow you to access the controls for audio send and receive levels for the line, a button to choose between “Queue” and “Multi-conference or Multiplex” mode. Further, there is an area that allows running a short message chat between the operator and the producer. The system is multi-user but for simplicity of operation we are only validating a single user per studio.

The AEQ SYSTEL IP 12 was installed in the technical equipment room using part of the network structured cabling available at TOP RADIO to interconnect the IP telephone Sets and dedicated Handsets. Since we didn’t have an IP based PBX, we installed an Asterisk PBX on a standard PC to manage all the extensions, voice mail, call diversion, etc. 

The lines are distributed according to the Studio and program in use. The photo shows Studio 1 with a program using 8 lines.

Apart from the standard telephone quality calls it is also possible to establish Communications in HD voice using the G.722 algorithm. This allows us to connect with soft-codecs on smartphones or AEQ audiocodecs with high quality audio.

At this stage we are still not using the full power that the AEQ SYSTEL IP is offering but we will soon do. One of the things that are still pending to do is to use the system as our multi-conference system for our corporate meetings with our Headquarters in Mexico. One of the SYSTEL IP 12 outputs available on its routing Matrix will be used to send the Multiplex to our meeting room.

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