Telos Alliance xNodes FAQs


Where can I get a copy of the SNMP Axia xNode MIB File?

Please go to http://www.telosalliance.com/support/xNode-MIB-Files-for-SNMP-Support to download these files.

 

What pinout standard do xNode DB25 connectors follow?

The pin configuration of the xNode DB25 connectors follow the Audio Engineering Societies AES59-2012 standard which can be found at http://www.aes.org/publications/standards/search.cfm?docID=92 This same standard is also known as the Tascam configuration. For information about compatible pre-made cables or instruictions on fabricating your own cables, please refer to this document at http://www.telosalliance.com/images/Axia%20Products/xNodes/Support%20Files/Fabricating-xNode-IO-Cables.pdf

 

What's the technology behind Axia networking?

Axia systems use high-reliability switched Ethernet using patented Livewire networking technology developed by Telos. This sophisticated switching architecture eliminates the need for expensive proprietary TDM main frames, DSP farms and local acquisition frames. Also, Axia eliminates the need for PC sound cards. Not only does this save the cost of the sound cards, it also eliminates corresponding console or router input cards. And Axia eliminates miles of discrete wiring and labor used to install standalone routers, instead using CAT-6 to transport dozens of digital stereo channels on a single cable. By using this standardized transport backbone, Axia eliminates purpose-built hardware, which translates into dramatically reduced system cost.

 

How do I know that audio over IP will be reliable?

Axia uses the same technology that underlies VoIP telephony. Did you know that nearly 80 of the Fortune 100 companies now use VoIP? Or that VoIP PBX systems now outsell the old kind by a wide margin? With these systems, telephones plug into a standard Ethernet/IP network. Contrast this with traditional PBX phone gear — proprietary devices which required you to purchase phone sets and parts exclusively from the company that built the mainframe. You were locked into a single vendor, because the technology that ran the mainframe was owned by the company that made the gear. IP is now accepted as a universal transport for almost any kind of signal. You see it in television studios, business teleconferencing, government communications, banking, etc. And it’s hardly unproven, especially for applications specific to radio studio infrastructure. As of 2012, over 3,000 studios around the world - many in mission-critical, 24/7 broadcast applications in major markets like New York City, Chicago, Paris, Rome and Bangkok - have been built using Axia IP-Audio infrastructure.

 

Does your system route logic with audio, too?

Of course. IP is great for data, no? GPIO xNodes let you bring logic commands from external devices like CD players, DAT machines, etc., into the network. The logic data is then “bound” to the audio stream, and is routed with it to whatever console the source is loaded on. Devices equipped with Livewire interfaces (like the latest Telos Zephyrs and phone hybrids, Omnia audio processors, AudioScience cards and IDC satellite receivers, for example) supply audio and control logic directly from the device to the Ethernet switch over a single CAT-5e connection, further simplifying in-studio wiring and making Livewire’s audio+logic routing even more convenient.

 

Do I have to be an IT expert to run an Axia system?

An IP-Audio network is like a car: you don’t have to understand how the engine works in order to drive it. Just connect two pieces of gear together with CAT-5e and they will talk to each other — like plugging a mic into a mixer. The Livewire protocol takes care of routing the audio without any need for intervention from you. And the equipment interface is all web-based with GUI control. It works intuitively, and you don’t have to know anything about the tech inside to make it work. Axia consoles even include builtin, zero-configuration network switches — no network switch setup needed. That having been said, another of the advantages of Ethernet and IP is that it’s well-documented. Telos founder Steve Church and technologist Skip Pizzi have even collaborated on a book published by Focal Press, Audio Over IP: Building Pro AoIP Systems With Livewire. It’s available from all the usual booksellers, and as an eBook as well.

 

Most companies recommend that I bring them on-site to help install and configure their systems. Do I need your help to install an Axia system?

With those other guys, you’d better hire their systems engineers. With us, it’s much easier! If you know how to use a Web browser and plug a telephone into the wall, you’ve got all the skills needed to install and configure your new Axia network. And Axia Technical Support is there to help if you need it, too. If you still decide you’d like on-site installation services, we’ll be happy to talk with you about it.

 

What about program associated data? Is your system compatible?

Yes. Devices that generate PAD plug into the Axia network; the information they supply is sent along with its associated audio, and any devices that need it can also plug into the network and retrieve it. This means that you can send audio and PAD together, without incurring extra costs for separate audio and data networks.

 

Is Livewire audio compressed, or linear?

Livewire is not compressed. Axia xNodes produce linear 48 kHz, 24-bit studio-grade audio, and there are switches that have enough bandwidth to carry 10,000+ channels of uncompressed, real-time stereo audio simultaneously.

 

If I use xNodes to build an Axia routing network, do I have to use Axia consoles?

Not necessarily. Axia networks can work with your existing consoles — just plug the inputs and outputs into the xNodes and add our XY Controllers for route switching. For sophisticated systems, use our PathfinderPC router control software package. You can do everything any other router can do – and much more. Of course, if you do decide to use Axia consoles, you’ll have the advantage of features like automatic mix-minus on every channel, the ability to control Telos phone systems and codecs right from the mixing board, the option to use integrated Intercom systems with broadcast-quality audio, and even the ability to remotely-control your console from another room – or even offsite. And setup is simple — the built-in network switch inside Axia integrated console engines lets you daisy-chain up to 4 consoles together without the need for an external switch.

 

Can the network be used for general data traffic as well as audio?

Most certainly, should you choose to do so. The Ethernet switch naturally isolates traffic. You may even use one link for both audio and data, since the audio is prioritized. This will probably be the case when a PC is connected to the network — you will sometimes want to download files, receive e-mail, etc., in addition to the audio stuff.

 

I've got a large facility, how many studios can I interconnect?

There is no practical limit. You may have as many studios and audio channels as your Ethernet switch can support. Switches come in all sizes, some with hundreds of ports. And multiple switches may be cascaded to expand ports.

 

I have a lot of mono sources at my facility. Can xNodes handle mono sources, or are they strictly stereo?

Like all Axia gear, xNodes give you plenty of choices. You can run an Analog or AES xNode in stereo mode, generating 4 channels of stereo input and 4 channels of stereo output, or mono mode, with 8 channels in and out.

 

This sounds pretty sophisticated. What about for smaller stations?

Look at Ethernet for data applications. You have everything from a few PCs in a small office to huge campus networks with thousands of nodes. This is one of the reasons we went with Ethernet - you can use it for big and small facilities. The technology and economics naturally scale to suit the application size. We figure, in fact, that small stations may benefit the most as they gain routing capability at a very modest cost. And, should you choose to use Axia consoles, it gets even simpler, thanks to the onboard, zero-configuration network switch that’s built into every Axia integrated console engine. These engines include I/O for mics, analog and AES inputs and outputs, GPIO ports and Livewire inputs for networked audio devices, along with a zero-configuration Gigabit network switch that lets you daisy-chain up to 4 studios without a core switch. Thanks to the “all in one” nature of these mixing engines, Axia consoles are as well-suited for standalone operation as they are for networked installations.

 

This seems like a lot of IP to keep track of. Are there any administration tools?

All Axia devices have a web browser control and monitoring capability. You can address them individually, or use our iProbe network management software, which documents keeps track of every device connected to your network.

 

How do I add audio sources from non-networked devices to the network?

With xNodes. These come in variants for line and microphone applications. There are also a growing number of Livewire partners, offering dozens of software and hardware products that connect directly to Livewire via CAT-5. Audio, control and data all travel down that one cable, making it even easier and more efficient to add new audio peripherals to your network.

 

What happens if someone accidentally unplugs a cable? What then?

Axia networks utilize network switches with Spanning Tree Protocol, a link management protocol that provides path redundancy while preventing network loops. Axia xNodes take full advantage of STP, with dual NICs that allow simultaneous, redundant connections to your audio network. In the event that one cable is unplugged, audio streams are automatically, seamlessly routed to the second, redundant connection.

 

I read an article about broadcast audio networks and how they relate to the open systems interconnection (OSI) reference model. Where does Axia fit in that model?

The OSI model is a seven-layer framework that defines network functions. Axia operates on Levels 1 through 5 of the OSI model. The IP Network Layer provides routing capabilities. The UDP Layer provides transport service using port numbers. The RTP Layer provides additional information about streams, helping to identify media format and look for dropped or duplicate packets, as well as other useful functionality using the RTP standard for best compatibility with other media streaming solutions.

 



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