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MassAV Creates ‘Ultimate Production Snake’ by FiberPlex

It’s lights, cameras and a whole lot more action for massAV as a result of a new FiberPlex Technologies optical snake recently added to its linecard.

The live event AV staging and production company in Billerica, Massachusetts, purchased FiberPlex’s WDM optical multiplexer to create what massAV Director of Operations Aaron Raymond calls the ultimate production snake. “We build a lot of very high end video systems, and when you start adding multiple lines of HD video along with audio, data, lighting and control for an event, it really has to be fiber,” he said, adding, “We’d been limited in our use of fiber until now because it meant having to set up an optical transmitter and receiver on every single channel, and that got expensive.”

Now, with FiberPlex’s WDM-8 active wave division multiplexer, massAV can multiplex eight discrete signals at 3 Gb/s each for transporting video, audio, lighting and control feeds onto one fiber pair.

The FiberPlex WDM multiplexer comes in 16-channel and 8-channel models and are on a cost parity with copper and copper’s associated installation and handling expenses. As the cost of copper cabling continues to rise, companies like massAV are going the fiber optic route to transport large volumes of content. Optical fiber has ten times the transference rate of copper at the high end and can transmit data error-free over greater distances by a 400:1 ratio.

“The FiberPlex multiplexer makes it so that we can run eight channels on the same fiber pair as opposed to dealing with the different types and sizes of copper cabling as well as the need to re-clock signals every couple hundred feet for longer runs,” explained Raymond.

As a result, massAV is able to replace 2,000 pounds of copper cabling with a 25-pound spool of fiber optics for large events, a savings that is realized by its corporate and other live event customers in reduced labor, setup time and transportation costs to truck in and set up copper cabling at events.

Multiplexing media and control signals onto one, 1/4-inch optical cable is also ideal for events that require running cables down hallways, across doorways or through public areas where bulky copper cabling is not practical, said Raymond.

massAV recently tried out the new multiplexer for a 1,500-person event with a main stage, two control areas, and 26 video projectors in the air – all tied together via the ultimate production snake consisting of little more than a spool of fiber optic cabling and a pair of WDM multiplexers. The setup involved multiple lines of data, video, audio, lighting control, intercom communications, and serial communications between equipment.

FiberPlex’s eight-channel WDM-8 and sixteen-channel WDM-16 multiplexers use interchangeable SFP/SFP+ modules for interfacing to a variety of gear and environments, including converting between media formats SD-SDI, HD-SDI, 3G-SDI, and 6G-SDI and for HDMI/DVI, 10/100/1G Ethernet and MADI, as well as full duplex and BiDi optical. massAV’s new multiplexer provides the flexibility now and into the immediate future as new media requirements change, noted Raymond.

FiberPlex recently took to the road to conduct a 25-city demo tour of its active wave division multiplexers as the ultimate production snake (check with a local FiberPlex representative for details). FiberPlex makes fiber optic products and systems for government agencies as well as for houses of worship, corporate facilities, broadcast applications, and K-12 and higher education.

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