Maximising transmitter efficiency

Highest transmitter availability

Taking an investment decision is a critical and at the same time very difficult task for transmitter operators. Why? The investment decision takes effect for ten and more years and is continuously challenged by unplannable effects and influences over most of the operational period.

For instance, a transmitter performance much lower than expected puts the operational model at risk and with that the business case of that investment. But also changing requirements regarding the services on air or the standards to be transmitted create a substantial challenge for an operator if the installed transmitters cannot be adapted to the new demands.

It is obviously prudent to consider the whole life in service when choosing a transmitter. In this category falls power consumption and routine maintenance, but there are other factors to be considered.

Highest transmitter availability

High availability starts with strong design

The term availability is frequently interpreted following the narrow definition of the time between in-service faults. But a much wider definition around all the efforts to keep the transmitter on air is more appropriate.

That starts with the transmitter design itself. Every component from resistors up should be selected for performance, but also according to the very specific demands of a transmitter and, very important, for the predicted operational lifetime of that transmitter.

Secondly, the thermal design needs to consider the component’s specifications and to eliminate hotspots and thereby thermal stress to the components mentioned before. The cooling system itself must also be considered for stability and security: for instance, the TH1 is fully liquid cooled, which means 95% of all generated heat is dissipated directly to the outside rather than requiring expensive and potentially maintenance-dependent air conditioning.

Thirdly, intelligent design, meaning the avoidance of single points of failure, further contributes to an excellent availability. So, a single hardware fault should not lead to functionality failure. Better to have resilient transmitters, which can continue operating and delivering acceptable output even in case of a major failure.

Karl Mehring

The nature of broadcasting is changing rapidly, and part of that depends upon new transmission formats and indeed new broadcast formats. It is hard to predict what will be a requirement and what will represent a real opportunity for revenue growth in the next decade. The only way to protect yourself is by selecting a transmitter platform that is inherently designed to be flexible.

Karl Mehring, Director of Professional Services for Broadcast, Amplifier and Media

Prepared - Even for unpredicted changes

The TH1 from Rohde & Schwarz is the first product of a fully software-based transmitter platform. Implementing new standards – like 5G Broadcast – or adding new services or adopting rolling development means loading new software with no need for other adaptation.

To ensure your capital investment is protected, you need to be sure that the transmitters you invested in will be supported and even evolved during their viable life in service. That requires a flexible platform on one side but also a strong supportive partner, who evolves the functionality and features of your transmitters according to your future needs.

Continuous protection from digital threats

Nowadays, cyber-security demands increasing attention. This can become a real issue for broadcasters: the propaganda value of taking over a broadcast feed is incalculable, and we now routinely see such attacks. Keeping the transmitter network secure is essential. And at the same time, anything that is IP-connected has a certain level of vulnerability today.

Rohde & Schwarz, as a vendor of systems across the electronics industry beyond broadcasting and media, also offers cybersecurity products and has appropriate expertise to turn transmitters into state-of-the-art IT-entities, which are secured from cyber-threats. But IT-security is not only about security features – IT-security is a matter of constant maintenance in order to keep the protection level high. That requires continuous monitoring for threats and vulnerabilities by security experts like an IT-security taskforce. That taskforce surveys new developments in the IT-security world, identifies new challenges and analyses these. Then it is determining which products are potentially vulnerable, and defines what needs to be done to neutralise the threat and eventually provide a solution - all within the agreed reaction time.

Excellent availability with R&S Lifetime Services

In summary, the lifecycle of a transmitter bears many difficulties on the way to turn a transmitter investment into a continuous and reliable stream of revenues and profits. New requirements and improved functions as well as a constantly changing IT-security landscape are some of the challenges over the course of 10 to 15 years. Rohde & Schwarz is a respected name in the broadcast industry and is committed to both developing new functionality and providing comprehensive Lifetime Services reducing the risk levels of operators for the full transmitter lifetime significantly, respecting your capital investment and minimising your operational costs.

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