RAF High Wycombe - Headquarters for Air Command and European Air Group
UK - RAF High Wycombe, a key Royal Air Force base and Headquarters for Air Command and European Air Group provides one of the UK's main strategic and administrative support units for the UK's air defence services. When the requirement for a replacement site-wide public address system was handed to leading infrastructure providers - NG Bailey - they called upon the services of AV and PA specialists CIE-Group to specify a replacement PA solution using the very latest audio-over-IP network technology.

Working in close partnership with NG Bailey and their client, CIE-Group were engaged to provide full on-site consultation service, consisting of site survey, technical output specification and system design to deliver a number of solutions to suit a variety of budgets and address the problems of a large scale legacy site.

CIE's solution was to specify a system based around their brand new 2N NetSpeaker solution - a range of IP-addressable audio end-points, controlled from a central management server system and allowing audio signal distribution via a secure local area network (LAN).

The 2N NetSpeaker system was specified to meet the client's needs for access and control over the network and in order to provide site-wide, configurable communication across a decentralised system to individual loudspeakers and zones directly from the desktop. NetSpeaker adopts the latest audio-over-IP (internet protocol) technology in order to deliver high quality public address (voice and music) over standard network infrastructures (LAN, WAN, internet), therefore delivering distributed audio to a number of zones, multiple buildings or even multiple sites via Cat5e/6/7 cable (or web) rather than traditional audio cable (such 100v line or low impedance).

"The resulting system," explains Julian Salter - part of the CIE specification team on the RAF High Wycombe project, "features more than 160 bespoke vandal-proof loudspeakers with integrated NetSpeaker end-points to stream live and recorded paging announcements to any or all zones throughout the Air Force base.

"We also designed and built five additional 100v line audio racks as part of the system, each of which includes its own NetSpeaker IP Decoder Interface." Salter continues. "These 100v line amplifier racks, therefore, become IP-addressable zones in themselves, allowing existing legacy 100v speaker lines already installed throughout the air base to be integrated into the overall audio-over-IP distribution system."

The five IP-connected racks are placed in strategic zones throughout RAF High Wycombe in the historically-named Spitfire, Jaguar, Typhoon and Hurricane Buildings, connecting to their existing legacy loudspeaker lines and providing PA coverage to the various administration, accommodation and services facilities.

Though there are further plans for expansion of the site - and, therefore, the system - currently, all message broadcasting and zone control for the entire IP Public Address System is handled from just one simple paging console, sited within the Air Base Gatehouse. The 2N NetMic is an advanced paging microphone and control console which allows both live and recorded messages and tones to be broadcast over the IP network, whilst also allowing full zone control over groups or individual IP audio end points.

CIE sales director Kevin Sherwood, who led the project, explains how the use of audio-over-IP via Ethernet cable provided the best option for this large scale, mission critical system, "Installation of large copper networks for 100v line systems would never have been allowed due to the limited access to this highly secure site. The RAF air base already had an existing unutilised data and fibre infrastructure allowing the installer to simply add new switches and end-of-line Cat6 cables to connect the NetSpeaker IP end points. Links between sites were designed to use BT ADSL Lines which are secure from the public network, allowing significant

Latest Issue. . .