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USB over TCP/IP a mile down road

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Has anyone used the USB to TCP/IP converters to "transport" the USB interface long distance? We are looking at building a show that would also be broadcast on our commerical radio station... I need the controlling computer here at the station due to needing good air audio feed and control of show, then I need to send the USB to the event location miles away.

Thinking of the USB to TCP/IP, install dsl at event location, create a VPN and send the USB thru the VPN tunnel....

Any thoughts?

Rob

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One small problem.

It's not TCP/IP, it is RS485. Two different protocols.

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Rather than use USB to to TCP/IP software, an easier solution would be to use E1.31. E1.31 is DMX over ethernet.

HOWEVER

As soon as you start talking about moving stuff across a public network (IE DSL, cable modems, whatever) you run into latency. And that latency is going to put your show completely out-of-sync. Since latency across networks is typically variable, you can't compensate for it.

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With E1.31 there is basically no error checking, so when you take into account the network traffic and latency then you will most probably see missing commands, commands being recieved out of order and lights stuck on or not coming on.

But no harm in doing a bit of testing and seeing if it works to an acceptable level.

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As stated above, even if you could get that scenario to work, the sync would be out due to latency.

Just thinking out loud here...

Don't know what kind of equipment you have at your disposal, but could you do the reverse with a mobile van feed?

Meaning...

Often, radio stations have a mobile van providing live, on-location, feeds for things like news, events, functions etc. If you had access to something like this, you could feed the audio to your mobile van from your show computer which could then broadcast the audio live from location?

Not sure what your audio signal degradation would be, or if latency would still play a role.

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Time out.. RS-485 is supposed to be good for 4000' And a mile is 5280'. Now you can get repeaters to extend that 4000 to 8000'. I am not sure if there is a limit to how many repeaters you can use. I am sure each one add a little delay. I would think you could get at least 2 repeaters maybe more before problems. So, the only issue will be having a power source available at each repeater site.

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Time out.. RS-485 is supposed to be good for 4000' And a mile is 5280'. Now you can get repeaters to extend that 4000 to 8000'. I am not sure if there is a limit to how many repeaters you can use. I am sure each one add a little delay. I would think you could get at least 2 repeaters maybe more before problems. So, the only issue will be having a power source available at each repeater site.

Granted. But his post refers to it being several miles away and sending the signal over the internet, through a VPN to a DSL connection at the site. Not by running a CAT5 cable along the side of the road from the radio station to the show location :-)

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It can be done and has been done on a large scale in Hong Kong

But i have no idea what they are using to communicate between the buildings and controllers and looks like the sequencing isnt too fast and furious

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well I will continue to play with it and see what I can come up with. we do have remote trucks that we can use but this would be a month long event and I hate to tie up one if the trucks for that long... I do have some Cisco point to point bridges I could try to use to keep the network internal.. I do agree public Internet can be very tricky at times. any more ideas keep them coming I will continue to play with it

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It can be done and has been done on a large scale in Hong Kong

But i have no idea what they are using to communicate between the buildings and controllers and looks like the sequencing isnt too fast and furious

Yes, it certainly can be done. The question is, can it be done for a reasonable cost?

While I don't know exactly how HK does it, I imagine that the network that controls everything is private, & hard wired.

Time out.. RS-485 is supposed to be good for 4000' And a mile is 5280'. Now you can get repeaters to extend that 4000 to 8000'. I am not sure if there is a limit to how many repeaters you can use. I am sure each one add a little delay. I would think you could get at least 2 repeaters maybe more before problems. So, the only issue will be having a power source available at each repeater site.

Granted. But his post refers to it being several miles away and sending the signal over the internet, through a VPN to a DSL connection at the site. Not by running a CAT5 cable along the side of the road from the radio station to the show location :-)

Even if he does run a cable down the road, you are forgetting one thing: As distance increases, the bitrate per second of an RS485 link must decrease. If I remember correctly, the distance in m times the bit/s shouldn't exceed 10^8, even with repeaters.

How about:

http://www.eltima.co...-over-ethernet/

or

http://www.usb-over-ethernet.com/

or

http://www.usb-over-network.com/

or

http://usbip.sourceforge.net/

there are more, a CTO I once worked for used to say, "it's software anything is possible"

Yes, that software exists -- but the problem is how do you transfer those IP packets without the resulting LATENCY?

----

I think you'll need to go outside the box on this one. The remote van is a good idea. You could also 'animate' while not being strictly 'synced' to music.

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Is there any chance you have line of site from the radio station to the show location. If you have a tower at the station that could help. I've used point to point wireless bridge solutions in the 5GHz range for other projects (not related to lights) that were miles away and the throughput and latency were both predictable and very good. A quick search of ebay found this: http://www.ebay.com/...b#ht_500wt_1156

but there are many other systems available. Some will need licenses... many will not (didn't check to see if the link above requires a license or not).

That would give you a low latency ethernet connection to the show site.

one thought.. will keep thinking about it more though..

dave

EDIT: located another set that seems to be a better deal: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Trango-Broadband-Point-to-Point-PTP-P5010M-EXT-Wireless-Bridge-Atlas5010-EXT-/110938732176?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19d476b690#ht_500wt_1414

manual available at : http://www.trangobroadband.com/infobase/pdfs/M_Atlas5010.pdf

Edited by heystew

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Granted. But his post refers to it being several miles away and sending the signal over the internet, through a VPN to a DSL connection at the site. Not by running a CAT5 cable along the side of the road from the radio station to the show location :-)

Granted, but yet ye forget that it has been already addressed that the use of switches and other network devices induces a delay. So, your music will be ahead of the command to flash the lights. Now if that delay was a consistent value. You could skew the commands in relation to the music. But according to an earlier post, the delay will vary in time.

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Is there any chance you have line of site from the radio station to the show location. If you have a tower at the station that could help. I've used point to point wireless bridge solutions in the 5GHz range for other projects (not related to lights) that were miles away and the throughput and latency were both predictable and very good. A quick search of ebay found this: http://www.ebay.com/...b#ht_500wt_1156

but there are many other systems available. Some will need licenses... many will not (didn't check to see if the link above requires a license or not).

That would give you a low latency ethernet connection to the show site.

Yes we do and yes. We use many of the Cisco 2Ghz bridges now for other projects and as I posted above, was thinking the same thing. I would much rather keep the CPU at the station just because of audio quality and I have GPI interfaces I need to interface with on the automation system... If the latency is consistent on the private side, I can delay the show that much to compensate for it. The private side should be very close assuming my signal levels are good.

Using one of our live trucks create a whole different set of issues.. In our business analog audio was great, basically real-time, now with our our equipment digital the delays are everywhere and it is a real nightmare for live events. We also just put HD Radio on the air and those channels are even worse with delay, sub channels run 10 - 15 delayed!

I will continue to test and update all....

HeyStew - just realized who you were.. You the Grand Champ video on the site?? Sweet and Nice Job! My managment team and I were looking at all the videos and then we hit yours...My staff all said "We want to do that!"....LOL I said maybe year two.... We are newbies but I have 30 years of broadcast and theater production experience so we are pumped to do something really cool with this and broadcast radio and tv...

How long has that taken you? How long each year to setup?

Edited by robm

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If you stay off the public network, wireless is the way to go with those 2Ghz bridges. As you said, latency is manageable when you control it end-to-end.

If you go with those wireless bridges, use E1.31. That way you won't have to deal with any conversions on the computer side: You'll send your lighting data out the computer's NIC card, onto the wireless bridge, and then to a E131 to DMX adapter. From there you'll run cables to your lighting controllers on site.

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I would either go with ELL's, with a yagi pointed at the receiver, or the best idea is to set up a remote computer running the show at the show site, and just link the audio back to the station.

Stew, what part of Vienna? Anywhere near EEB? My folks moved from Arlington to Oakton off Hunter Mill, in the late 70's.. sold the 6000+' house late 80's..

Edited by TJ Hvasta

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TJ, i know the oakton/huntermill area very well. I'm on the opposite side of vienna however..

sorry had to look up EEB as I moved to the area in 96.. looks like they closed down shortly after that... found this info about their current whereabouts..

http://members.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewUserPage&userid=rfrobins

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I'm having a hard time understanding why the computer needs to be miles away from the show.

To me, it would make more sense to have the show computer on the show site and control it remotely.

Then use the everyday software and hardware like it was intended.

I have a free app on my phone that allows me to control my computer from around the planet, so I'm sure more advanced software is available.

Scott

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Scott,

The way I understand it Rob will be broadcasting the show over the commercial radio station, also some other interfaces between the show computer and their radio station's automation system.

Dave

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Has anyone used the USB to TCP/IP converters to "transport" the USB interface long distance? We are looking at building a show that would also be broadcast on our commerical radio station... I need the controlling computer here at the station due to needing good air audio feed and control of show, then I need to send the USB to the event location miles away.

Thinking of the USB to TCP/IP, install dsl at event location, create a VPN and send the USB thru the VPN tunnel....

Any thoughts?

Rob

Rob:

I have seen USB extenders and transceivers run over private IP networks and control a number of different devices, I don't think you would have a problem with one of LOR's USB485 adapters except maybe some latency - which really depends on how many channels you have (multiple LOR networks might help too) and how great of a connection you have.

I've been doing broadcast TV and Radio automation for almost 20 years. I don't know all of the specifics of your project since you gave limited details, but from what I know of the project. I would put the LOR Show Computer at the lighting event site, and send audio via a private network connection (for HD Radio you would be using no more than 300 Kbps bit rate, and the LOR audio files you have are probably only 128 Kbps anyway). You can bring any GPI interfaces over that same private network connection. Basically, treat it as you would for a live remote event (sports game, breaking news conference, etc). Any latency or delay issues can easily handled with a little testing through your automation system. For controlling the LOR Show Computer, you could use a number of remote desktop type apps such as LogMeIn, Team Viewer, PC Anywhere, etc. IMO. And if you wanted to get creative you could use LOR triggers to even fully automate the system between commercial breaks etc through your station's automation system.

Feel free to email me at info@hitechlights.com if you'd like to discuss further. ---Michael

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Thanks HiTech...

The location of the lights is pretty much a parking light a mile down the road. My stations are staffed around the clock so if there is a problem with the "player" someone would be on-site. I also would tie GPI's from the automation to the LOR show computer to trigger the starts of the show....

Right now I am running the LOR software on my computer at home (2.1 miles away) using http://www.usb-over-network.com/ over a Cicso 2 Ghz bridge. Thru two managed Cisco gig switches. Created a separate Vlan and it is working great!

If there is a delay, it is milliseconds.

So right now problem is solved... I will see if I can get it to screw up over the next week, but it looks like this is working… I want to be able to have this system "mobile" so that we could do all sorts of different events...

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How many LOR and RGB channels are you running? Like I said, this should work and you are prooving that it does. You are using 2 computers with the USBoverNetwork solution. For less than a $200 you could use a USB Device Server and cut out alot of variables if there's issues in the future when troubleshooting. Also, you could use a Serial Device Server for that GPI control as well. What radio automation software are you using at the station?

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How many LOR and RGB channels are you running? Like I said, this should work and you are prooving that it does. You are using 2 computers with the USBoverNetwork solution. For less than a $200 you could use a USB Device Server and cut out alot of variables if there's issues in the future when troubleshooting. Also, you could use a Serial Device Server for that GPI control as well. What radio automation software are you using at the station?

As I am sitting here testing im also thinking, humm I am only running 16 channels right now on this test, what is going to happen with I do 148 channels?

Yes I am using two CPU's... We use WideOrbit(ex. Google).. I like both your other ideas too... I think I'm at the point I can prove to myself we can do this.. Now to the real phase, SALES,Have them go sell it! Then back to purchasing... Ha!

I will keep all updated as to the solution...

Thanks all for the input, always looking for more...

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