By Patrick Lemesre
As France’s major provider of diffusion services to many broadcast clients in France, we have to build and operate infrastructure that is flexible and capable of adapting to the widely varying ways our clients want to diffuse their signals. In contrast to an individual broadcaster, which knows more or less what configurations and scenarios to plan for when building infrastructure for its own use, we have to encompass the different requirements of each of our existing customers as well as second-guessing what clients might want in the future. Many of our clients use our services to complement their own transmission networks, so in these cases, we also have to consider how best to integrate with those. In our recent upgrade project for the switchover to DVB-S2 for radio services, flexibility was a major design goal, while keeping the technology as simple as possible. Our choice of equipment for the project would ideally allow us to accommodate all our current client requirements and anticipate any future evolution. 2wcom FlexDSR technology met these aims by providing the widest range of features and options, and the manufacturer worked closely with us to enhance some extra functionality for which we had anticipated a requirement. Beginning in 2013, we installed around 1,700 FlexDSR02/04+ units in our broadcast center and at transmitter sites across the country. These units are involved in TDF’s downlinks and their modular architecture allows us to configure them for different channel capacities and various encoders, depending on client requirements. The ability of the FlexDSR to support multiple backup sources contributes robustness in the case of input failure from satellite, allowing for IP-backup via UDP or Icecast, or playing directly from FlexDSR’s internal memory or from another ASI input. The units also provide an efficient solution for regionalized commercials and regionalized program content insertion, which is another important service for TDF to be able to provide. The ability to implement remote control and content distribution to any transmitter site over satellite bandwidth via the FlexDSR SIRC (Satellite In-Band RemoteControl) also gives us extra resilience and adaptability. The provision of services to many broadcast clients is a particular case where flexibility, with support for multiple alternative operating configurations and scenarios, is very important. But in fact, there is now a strong general industry trend toward keeping future options open, so that adaptability has risen in priority to become one of the most important attributes to consider when building infrastructure.