Public Address (PA) and Tannoy Systems | Abletek
IP Tannoy and IP Public Address Audio Applications

IP 'Tannoy' & IP Public Address (IP PA)

IP Public Address (IP PA) and IP Tannoy

IP 'Tannoy & IP PA - Overview

With traditional PA, we accept that the voice, music & sounds are transported via dedicated cabling. This means that the cabling 'fixes' the individual components of the system (eg. speakers, microphones and system equipment). For example, if you wanted to move a speaker or microphone (a very common requirement), you would need to add or rewire the cabling to the new location. With IP Tannoy / IP PA, we are freed from dedicated fixed cabling, providing promise for much more flexible and integrated commercial IP audio solutions. Moving the same example speaker or microphone in an IP environment could be as simple as unplug and re-plug into the new location. Deployment and installation flexibility to any network point, including wireless - even multi-site (eg. you could have a speakers at remote building/s or site/s that broadcast information is sent). IP system components are generally higher cost (although prices are falling with demand), but this cost can be offset against a much lower labour cost for installation, especially for the bigger and/or more complex designs.

IP 'Tannoy' & IP PA System Management & Administration

Connected to a network, with an IP address, the various IP Tannoy / IP PA system components are mostly configured by software. This can be done locally or (with security enabled login) or remotely from elsewhere on the network - this could be in the same building, site, or indeed anywhere access to the network can be gained. Some of the more important system components are also capable of providing various logging events, and system management status. Device and zonal mapping, including software driven audio files and levels are examples of the sort of capabilities that an IP PA system can provide.

IP Audio as an 'Application'

Transporting voice / music & sounds via an IP network can provide increased topology and infrastructure flexibilities and benefits as discussed above. Providing centralised control of the Tannoy / PA / Background Music (BGM) and IP Intercom system further extends benefit and indeed allows additional capabilities to truly see IP Audio as an application eg. browser based configuration and management, software generated announcements, music and sounds & scheduled eventing (eg. shift, break, class times).Traditional 'Tannoy', Public Address (PA) and background music and radio systems (BGM) generally rely on centralised amplification equipment connected to a cable topology that is dedicated and 'fixed' for the audio application function. This topology is typical of the vast majority of existing installed PA / Tannoy & Paging systems that we see today. Product and technology advances of multimedia IP networks, provide for viable and often compelling reasons to consider alternative topology solutions.

IP 'Tannoy' & IP Public Address (IP PA) | Client & Project Example:

Integrated IP Tannoy / IP PA
Protecting Investment - Traditional & IP
IP Tannoy, IP Public Address
Click HERE for more details
  Project Outline:
Steelite International
In this example, we were asked to provide an integrated solution to work with the existing 'Tannoy' / PA service installation. The customer required an existension of their existing service to a remote warehousing facility which was separated by a canal from the main factory and production site. Without any practical way to consider traditional cabling, we installed an integrated IP audio solution to made use of the customer network which existed between the two sites.

How does IP 'Tannoy' & IP Public Address work?

Audio is audio - music, radio or voice, audio is simply a collection of audible sound frequencies (generally acepted as a range of between 20Hz to 20kHz for the human ear).

Standard audio products & equipment distribute audio using electrical transmission and dedicated physical wiring. IP Audio sees the encoding of audio into IP 'packets' for transmission within multi-media and multi-application environments. As such, the audio is now transported within a physically 'connection-less' topology arrangement, mostly network cabling, but this could also be fibre or even wireless.

IP Audio products & equipment provide for the encoding and de-coding of audio. In this sense, they convert audio to / from IP, and are generally termed 'IP Interface' units. There are a wide range of IP interface units, all communicating similarly via IP, but providing different input's, outputs and control applications. In the example above, we see units operating as IP microphones (encoder), and different units providing a decoding function for interface to standard audio products and equipment.

Some more detail - how does IP Audio work?

Internet Protocol (IP). Most of us will have an awareness, or perhaps a further understanding, that a large majority of data 'networks' and indeed the Internet, are 'IP' based. TCP/IP is widely recognised as the principal partnership of information transfer on networks (ie between computers, servers and the internet).

'IP is KING!' The IP element of data networking has emerged as a clear leader of the 'Network Layer' (OSI) model. TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) is not generally used for the transport of real time media (sound, voice and video). This is because there is little point in controlling / re-sending / discarding such information - once it's said, it's said.... again, little point in re-sending..... the conversation would be a bit strange if we did. Instead, we use simple, lighter weight transport protocols such as UDP (User Datagram Protocol) over IP or UDP/IP. We do however, see TCP and other transport control protocols used where bandwidth is small and conservation a priority. We see this in such cases as, PA/Tannoy in remote areas of a big site, VPN or low rate DLS remote locations / branch offices. In these instances, as long as we control the delay and can accept near or non-real time audio reproduction, then a transmission control protocol may be used.IP PA and IP Tannoy OSI Protocols

The following diagram shows the Open System Interconnection (OSI) framework definition for typical 'data' (TCP/IP) and a typical voice, music and sound application (UDP/IP):

Note: As mentioned above IP 'Tannoy' and IP Public Address (IP PA) applications can be considered 'time tolerant' - hence the overlap and typical use of UDP or possibly TCP.

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