The release of v5.11 of the Broadcast Radio Hardware Service adds several powerful new features, including a new "Advanced Text Matching" mode for the Virtual Network Device (VND)
This allows you to define different strings for each virtual "Line" on the VND, and also to use string matching on any responses to determine which lines should be activated to be used as status indication, or to be used by a product such as Myriad Playout to carry out an action - for example taking On-Air Control etc.
You will need to have installed the latest Hardware Service (at least v5.11 or higher) and also purchased a CTP Systems DIO8008R Switcher. These are available for purchase from Broadcast Radio.
Attached to this article is a file called "CTP DIO8008R.hwp" - this file is a Hardware preset file that contains much of the required configuration already configured.
CTP Systems DIO8008R Switcher
The DIO8008R from CTP Systems is a powerful 16x16 Dante matrix switcher that also incorporates an additional 8x8 Analogue inputs and outputs. Any input can be routed to any output, as well as mixed with any other input routed to the same output. This results in a 24x24 crosspoint mixer.
The DIO8008R is controlled via TCP commands which can change any crosspoint in the 24x24 mixer.
In this scenario the station has 2 studios - Studio 1 and Studio 2 - which are both Dante equipped, and the requirement is to switch these 2 stereo Dante feeds to the existing analogue broadcast chain.
In the Dante Controller, Studio 1's outputs have been connected to the D1+D2 inputs on the DIO unit, Studio 2's outputs have been connected to the D3+D4 inputs, and the first 2 analogue outputs (A1+A2) are connected to the broadcast chain.
The station wants to initially work in a traditional "exclusive to air" mode - i.e. ONLY Studio 1 can be routed to air OR Studio 2, however later on they may decide to change to using station "mixing" where BOTH Studios could be routed to air at the same time to allow for easier studio switching for less technical users.
DIO Control protocol
Full details of the DIO control protocol are available in the manual, but for the purposes of this article:
- All messages must be terminated with a CR-LF sequence - or '%0D%0A' in encoded characters.
- The unit must be initialised with "ackallon" (ACK ALL ON) followed by the termination sequence to enable "acknowledge all" mode.
- All DIO commands are using the shortened syntax, with spaces removed and all commands in lower case.
Virtual Network Device Configuration
After installing the HW Service and the DIO unit as per the manual, use the Lantronix device installer utility to determine the IP address of the CTP unit and then go into the Hardware Configuration Tool and click Configure. Then right click on the Virtual Network Devices tree node and click Add Virtual Network Device.
Click on Load Preset... in the top right hand corner and load in the DIO8008.hwp file that is attached to this article. This will preconfigure many of the settings for you.
Once the preset has loaded, change the Device Description to "CTP DIO8008R", and ensure that the the Listen on TCP port: checkbox is cleared, that the Connect via TCP to: checkbox is ticked, and then enter the IP address from the Lantronix utility. In our example, the IP address is "192.168.1.50". Finally, make sure that the port is set to 10001 and that Keep Connected is checked.
At this point the VND is fully configured for our scenario and you can click OK to save the new Network Device. You can then tick the boxes in the Hardware Monitor to trigger the routing changes.
This configuration works in the following ways:
Command Terminator is set to "%0D%0A" so that each line message will have that appended to the string being sent.
Send command on TCP connected.. is set to "ackallon%0D%0A" to make sure the DIO unit is always in "acknowledge all" mode. Although this only needs to be sent once when initially configuring the unit, there is no harm in sending it on each connection.
Lines 1 and 2:
The first 2 lines are "mix" lines that will add their corresponding source into the mix, and there is a string set in the "ON" and "OFF" columns. So when Line 1 is turned "ON", it sends the string "d1>a1on,d2>a2on". This routes input Digital Input 1 to Analogue Input 1 ("d1>a1on") as well as D2 to A2. This uses the ability of the DIO unit to receive multiple commands in a single message by separating them with a comma. The "OFF" column REMOVES the lines - for example "d1>a1off" removes the routing for Digital 1 to Analogue 1.
Note: If you wanted to use the Digital outputs, just change all the letter "a" to "d" - i.e. "d1>d1on"
Lines 3 and 4:
These 2 lines are exclusive and will will ADD the new routing for the specified Studio, but will also remove the other studio from the mix.
These only use "ON" strings, and are designed to be used in "pulse" mode - so the message is sent once when the line is turned on, and no string is sent when the line is turned off.
Looking at line 3:
This breaks down into an instruction to route D1 to A1, also D2 to A2 but ALSO to make sure that D3 is NOT being routed to A1, and D4 is NOT being routed to A2.
So when this line is turned ON, Studio 1 will be routed to the analogue outputs, and it ensures Studio 2 is NOT routed.
Line 4 carries out the opposite to ensure that only Studio 2 is routed to the output.
Lines 6 and 7:
These are not intended for control, but instead they are used to indicate what routing changes the DIO has carried out. This works because the DIO unit replies back when it carries out a change.
So when any of the above lines result in a change to the status of the D1 to A1 routing, the message string is sent back by the DIO unit, and the HW Service checks the table to see if that corresponds to any of the lines. If it does, then that line is turned ON, or OFF depending on which column it matches.
So when we trigger line 1, which includes the instruction to route D1 to A1 (i.e. Studio 1 Left to Analogue output 1) then the DIO returns:
as a confirmation. This matches the string in the ON column for line 6, so that line is turned on. When the line 1 is turned off, that includes the instruction to de-route D1 from A1, so the DIO returns:
and as this matches the OFF column, line 6 is turned off. There is no need to match d2 and a2, as the lines are always switched in pairs, so if the left hand side is routed then you know the right hand side has as well.
You can then use the Patch bay to route Line 6 to any other hardware device, for example to another VND that SmartSign is connected to to indicate the studio switching status, or to a relay unit to turn on a physical lamp.