T1 Lines for Audio Transport
T1 dedicated lines offer a high
quality transport medium for broadcast remote pickup and studio
By: John Shepler
AM & FM stations and radio networks
started using telephone lines to transport program audio and
remote broadcasts back in the 1920's. Even today some stations
still rely on pairs of equalized telephone lines as audio links
from studios downtown to transmitters out in the boonies. The
technology trend of the last few decades, though, has seen stations
moving to 950 MHz band studio-transmitter links (STL) and satellite
network downlinks. In the digital audio age, why would anyone
think of going back to telephone lines to send audio? After all,
telephone lines aren't the first thing that comes to mind in
high performance audio technology.
The new twist is using digital T1 lines
to send digital audio from point to point. It's actually a natural
fit. The 1.5 MHz bandwidth of a T1 line using two pairs of ordinary
copper phone line is wide enough to send FM stereo and digital
radio programs as far as you like. The audio quality doesn't
degrade because the digital pulses are regenerated as required
along the path. What's more, T1 lines are bi-directional and
full duplex. That means you can send remote pickup programs,
transmitter data, telephone lines or satellite audio in the opposite
direction at the same time.
Equalized analog phone lines are getting
expensive and hard to come by in some areas. 950 MHz STL frequencies
have become crowded and they need direct line of site access
to work. Satellite uplink/downlink systems are very expensive.
At the same time, T1 line service is getting cheaper and is readily
available nearly everywhere. You don't need line of site transmissions
or locations near each other. It uses the same twisted pair connectivity as multi-line telephone. Another competing option is Carrier Ethernet, with higher bandwidths and lower prices than traditional T1.
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