RTÉNL invests €4.5 million in national digital microwave network

24 Nov 2009

RTE Transmission Network Ltd (RTÉNL) has invested €4.5 million in deploying the national digital microwave network – a critical piece of infrastructure required for the successful rollout of the planned digital terrestrial television (DTT) network.

The broadcaster’s networks division RTE Transmission Network Ltd (RTÉNL) has awarded the €4.5-million contract to EMR Integrated Solutions, a specialist in the provision of radio communications and SCADA system.

The system provided by EMR delivers high-speed resilient communications linking 24 radio and television broadcast high sites with studios in Donnybrook, Cork, Limerick, Sligo and Donegal.

Transmission backbone

The new network, which represents an investment of €4.5 million in critical infrastructure, also provides the backbone for the transmission of all existing national radio and television channels for both RTÉNL and the commercial stations, including TG4, TV3 and Today FM.

“This strategic piece of infrastructure will be central to the roll out of future services by RTÉNL,” explained Mark Quinn, managing director of EMR Integrated Solutions.

“This project drew on our 20 years of experience in the sector and helped to ensure that the rollout of the network was seamless despite the fact that it had to be done while the broadcasting network remained on air.

“The development and build of the Digital Microwave Network involved a major integration effort that comprised microwave, power, multiplexers and codec. We are very proud that the entire project was completed on time and within budget.”

Short amount of time

The development and rollout of the new network was done within a tight time frame and involved significant technical challenges. The integration of a variety of technologies presented significant technical challenges, all of which were overcome as a result of the co-operation between the RTÉNL and the EMR engineering teams. EMR used its own in-house SCADA system integration capability to integrate the individual network management software systems with RTÉNL’s proprietary SCADA system. 

The network is already in use on a day-to-day basis and is helping RTE deliver its range of broadcasting services in a seamless manner.

“EMR has helped RTÉNL build a distribution system which will meet all the terrestrial broadcast demands within Ireland for the foreseeable future as digital broadcast technology replaces the existing analogue broadcast system,” said Eamonn Reid, head of projects, RTÉNL.

“This distribution system is the backbone from which all terrestrial services are provided in Ireland and a successful switch over from the old system to the new system was a key goal for this project.

“This objective was achieved thanks to the great efforts from both the EMR and RTÉNL engineering teams. Overall, this project has proved to be a great success for RTÉNL and EMR deserve praise for their efforts in ensuring that this was the case,” said Reid.

By John Kennedy

Photo: RTE Transmission Network Ltd (RTÉNL) has invested €4.5 million in deploying the national digital microwave network.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years