The new R. Michael Shanahan Centre for Teaching and Learning
USA - Harvey Mudd College, a Claremont, California-based private college, is leveraging a Dante network from Audinate to power a multipoint AV conferencing network in the new R. Michael Shanahan Centre for Teaching and Learning.

Among the many technologically advanced features in the new educational centre, the conferencing network gives facility guest lecturers the opportunity to reach larger audiences across multiple networked rooms. By installing a multichannel audio Dante network, Harvey Mudd College has established a simple yet sophisticated foundation for future expansion while reducing ongoing costs and labour - all equating to exceptionally low total cost of ownership.

Harvey Mudd College refers to the new conferencing system as a "simulcasting network", offering two-way audio and video communication between the 300-seat auditorium, a recital hall and five classrooms. The simulcasting network was established specifically to support the unpredictable changing pedagogies and learning styles of the modern connected campus. The Dante based network solution incorporates a wide selection of interoperable AV products, giving the college a flexible and intelligent solution for the multipoint architecture.

While the original design specified AVB and CobraNet for networked audio, implementing the hodgepodge of technologies proved less than ideal. The overall system was driving up costs and maintenance, and generally not performing to its potential.

"We're a Cisco house for network switching, and it required a lot of extra labour to make the auditorium-to-classroom networking work with AVB," said James Sadler, instructional media specialist. "We had to hardwire feeds to the processing equipment in our remote classrooms, and add special network switches. The CobraNet network was localized to the auditorium, but there were serious complications with network bandwidth, audio dropouts and signal latency."

The original installation included a Biamp Tesira solution for all digital signal processing and amplification. The introduction of Biamp's Dante Interface Card for Tesira allowed Harvey Mudd College to seamlessly migrate the simulcasting network to Dante. While migrating to Dante, Sadler simplified the overall network architecture by transitioning all network switching to the existing Cisco infrastructure, eliminating the need to buy additional networking hardware or specialized switches. Sadler eliminated the CobraNet network by adding a Dante MY-AUD-16 module to an existing Yamaha O1V96v2 console in the auditorium's production booth.

According to Sadler, the Dante migration took "about 15 minutes," with plug and play connections further simplified by adding Dante-enabled Attero Tech I/O wallplates to the network. The compact, high-density Attero Tech I/O plates were added to an electrical floor box directly beside the speaker lectern in the auditorium, enabling a clean handoff to the DSP system instead of requiring physical wire connections and special switches.

(Jim Evans)

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