Disaster Recovery: Ensuring Broadcast Continuity

July 31, 2014

Off The Air - Image used to test TV settings

Disaster recovery is a well-used term, but most of us associate it with a corporate IT environment. For companies, disaster recovery is all about having the redundant systems that will ensure the business can go on – otherwise known as business continuity – if a hurricane strikes or a fire-breathing dragon suddenly makes an appearance at your main data center. But Dejero customers have a broadcast-centric take on disaster recovery – it’s all about maintaining broadcast continuity in a station's worst-case scenario: losing its main and backup feeds. Without an effective disaster recovery strategy, your station is off the air and your viewers are watching another channel to get their weather updates or dragon sightings.

Luckily, in such a situation, there are transmitters that can provide a completely suitable backup by bonding with available wireless networks to create a pipeline with enough bandwidth to transmit broadcast-quality video. Our LIVE+ VSET rack-mount transmitter, for example, can provide either the primary or backup feed without requiring an expensive fiber line. And it does not need a lot of bandwidth to be effective – in most cases a 10-15mb upload cable modem will suffice.  The station can also use existing connectivity within its organization, such as an Ethernet network. Most stations are connected to their cable and satellite headends by way of fiber connectivity. These headends use the station’s OTA feed as the backup if fiber connectivity is lost. In many markets the cost of the fiber is too much so the OTA feed serves as primary AND backup. But here’s the scary part: what happens when the station OTA feed is lost? Three words: Off The Air.

One enterprising station has installed LIVE+ VSET transmitters in its remote broadcast center with a link via cable modem.  This provides the backhaul feed back to the station just in case there is a fiber failure. Since the feed is coming directly from the station router, the picture quality is equal to, or better than, the original over-the-air signal. It is broadcast continuity at its finest.

So you have a couple options: $200 a month for a cable modem and business line, or at least $1,500 a month for a dedicated fiber connection. Which would you rather pay?

How does your station approach DR, and have you had any experience with broadcast continuity in a disaster? As always, we love to hear from you. Comment below.

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