WheatNet-IP Technology Overview

WHAT IS WHEATNET-IP?
WheatNet-IP is a network system that utilizes Internet Protocol to enable audio to be intelligently distributed to devices across scaleable networks. It enables all audio sources to be available to all devices (such as mixing consoles, control surfaces, software controllers, automation devices, etc) and controlled from any and all devices. WheatNet-IP is AES67 compatible, yet is unique in that it represents an entire end-to-end solution, complete with audio transport, full control, and a toolset to enable exceptionally intelligent deployment and operation.
WHEATNET-IP: TWO WORDS - INTELLIGENT NETWORK

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Yesterday’s IP audio network just doesn’t cut it anymore. You need a modern, smarter audio network. It’s all in the WheatNet-IP Intelligent Network: audio routing, mixing, processing, silence detection, logic control, 24/7/365 reliability, and third-party equipment integration, from your program automation to your transmitter link. Only WheatNet-IP distributes intelligence across all access points in one unified, robust Gigabit Ethernet network for reliability, scalability and extreme studio programmability. Best of all, WheatNet-IP is the driving engine under the hood for a wide range of control surfaces made by Wheatstone, which you’ll also need for your modern network.

What's New In BLADE-3s for WheatNet-IP?

If you liked our WheatNet-IP audio network before, you’re going to love our new BLADE-3 I/O access and specialty units. Here are some of the features:
  • AES67 compatibility for interoperability with other AES67-compliant devices and signals into the WheatNet-IP Intelligent Network.
  • Built-in multi-band stereo processor for “spot” processing satellite feeds, headphone audio, web streams or any audio feed routed throughout the network. Added to our existing routable virtual mixers, and the possibilities are limitless.
  • More logic, with 128 virtual logic ports per BLADE-3 for triggering, managing and controlling the many feeds that have become standard in radio stations today.
  • Dual OLED displays for easily viewing and changing BLADE-3 parameters. Colorful and high-resolution, these HDTV-like displays will give you more ways to interact with the unit, such as being able to adjust virtual mixing right from the front of the unit. Also new: LIO status LEDs on the front panel, in addition to the GUI, so operators can see from across the room at a glance if a logic function is triggered or not.
  • Smart associated connections, to take the hassle out of changing connections between locations, studios or announcers. Simply define the link you need (ISDN, studio feed, remote, etc.) and BLADE-3 can automatically set up a back link for it. Just trigger the connection and the back feed will follow – a helpful feature for remotes or for when youʼre changing studios. Each I/O BLADE-3 comes with multiple associated connections limited only by memory.
  • Source aliasing, or the ability to personalize sources and destinations. For example, the same mic can be labeled “Chris” for the morning show and “Pete” for the afternoon show.
  • Embedded audio storage and playback. Should the transmitter site lose connection with the studio, a BLADE-3 at the transmitter site can play back audio; audio playback can be automatically triggered by silence detection within the BLADE-3 or through an LIO triggered from a console, button or a script running within the WheatNet-IP system.
  • New LIO Logging GUI that lets you look at and retrieve system wide logic function logs. The GUI contains enhanced filtering that lets you view LIO events by timestamp, location, type, function, and other characteristics, rather than scroll through long lists of cryptic data. The GUI includes virtual logic (SLIO) logging as well so you can monitor the complex logic interactions of your entire system in a centralized location.
  • New HD-SDI de-embedder BLADE-3 provides four separate HD-SDI ports for ingesting audio into the WheatNet-IP system.
  • New Console Engine BLADE-3s with double the I/O in a 2RU enclosure.
Building the Ecosystem

True to Wheatstone's original vision of a simple, one-cable interface for audio, control and everything - what we have referred to as "The Audio Ecosystem" since we invented modern audio networking - WheatNet-IP is a powerful environment that excels at presenting the most complex situations in the simplest, most intuitive way.

Above is a map showing Wheatstone's WheatNet-IP products in their basic interface configurations. How you put it together is wide open to your imagination. Build YOUR Audio Ecosystem.

The Transition To IP

IP Transition_2560The transition to IP may be inevitable, but suffering is optional.

You could always start with a camera with IP output and an IP audio network, two simple additions that would join both video and audio in the IP realm so you’ll never have to step into the edit room again to embed AES audio into the video.

Those cameras are available today, as are audio over IP systems like WheatNet-IP. Simple changes like this can impact workflow now, and set you up for all the benefits of a total IP infrastructure later.

The transition to IP will take time, of course. And some thought. Here are four things that your friends at Wheatstone would like you to think about:

1. Think hybrid.
The ideal is a fully interoperable studio, where disparate systems and peripheral gear can talk to one another. Broadcast equipment manufacturers are working toward that goal, Wheatstone included, which is why our WheatNet-IP audio network is AES67 compatible. But until this and other interoperable standards are widely adopted, it’s important to be able to work with existing gear and systems. For many, this includes some MADI gear, some AES/EBU, some analog and some custom control interfacing to critical systems now used in the studio. For this reason, we’ve made it a priority to be able to ingest into our WheatNet-IP system virtually every audio format out there, including native analog, microphone, AES/EBU, SPDIF, IP audio, MADI and SDI.

2. Think beyond access. Think control.
IP connectivity isn’t just about access. It’s about control. The more logic you can put on the network, the more control you’ll have over change. For example, WheatNet-IP has an integrated control layer that carries all the logic functions for audio. This makes a world of difference when it comes to being able to handle the unexpected or to repurpose a news set for multiple productions. Control is built into each WheatNet-IP connection point that is shared with other IP connection points across the network, giving you access to not only all sources at once, but also the presets and any associated logic that go along with each feed for controlling such things as mic ON/OFF, or changing remote mic settings for IFB, processing and other parameters.

3. Think distributed network intelligence.
Centralized network management is a single-point-of-failure waiting to happen. Distributing network intelligence throughout to every IP point in the network is the smarter approach, because distributed networks like WheatNet-IP automatically build in redundancy - if one part of the network fails for any reason, the rest can keep on functioning. Each IP connection point – or BLADE – stores the entire configuration of the network onboard, which means that failover is immediate. And because WheatNet-IP BLADEs talk to each other, adding onto the network is plug-and-play for easy system expansion -- which in turn adds more control resources, audio mixing and processing tools, and more intelligence for whatever new services come along.

4. Think routable tools.
Having the right tools for the job is important. That’s why we place audio tools at all IP connection points in the WheatNet-IP audio network. For example, having two stereo 8x2 utility mixers at the point of I/O makes it practical to do online mixing of sounds, segue remotely between feeds, virtually overdub and pan, you name it. Just recently, we added audio processing to our I/O BLADEs as yet another routable tool in our audio toolkit. Adding new tools is possible because each of our I/O BLADEs has a CPU with operating system inside, which we can add to, change, and make to fit just about any scenario that’s needed.

WHEATNET-IP FULL LINE BROCHURE
Click the image below to download the Wheatstone WheatNet-IP full line brochure!

WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH WHEATNET-IP?

With the modern, intelligent WheatNet-IP audio networking, you can:

Control it all with Screen Builder
Admit it. You've always wanted complete control of everything and everyone. You've always wanted to be able to know what's happening at all times in all places in your world. Well, here you go. Welcome to ScreenBuilder (should we have called it World Builder?) >

Click here to learn more about Screen Builder

Make wholesale studio changes...
...or switch studios from any seat, reconfigure control surfaces for multiple purposes, and even change audio processing settings automatically when, say, a certain mic turns on. It’s all in the WheatNet.

Bring on the devices.
WheatNet-IP gets along with everyone, including MADI gear like ProTools and TDM systems, and interfaces to more than 40 third-party brands and/or products for end-to-end, seamless operation from the microphone to the stick. In addition, new third-generation WheatNet-IP access units are AES67 compatible, which means you can integrate your audio network with other AES67 compatible devices and systems.

Integrate audio routing and automation.
Imagine interfacing your audio network to your automation system with no sound cards, external logic connections or added routers. Or, better yet, imagine fully integrated audio automation and routing so an announcer seated at the playout system can set a fader for a console located anywhere in the facility. That’s WheatNet-IP.

Access any audio, anywhere.
WheatNet-IP handles native analog, microphone, AES/EBU, SPDIF, AoIP, MADI, SDI and even AES67, which is now included in our third-generation access units. Ingest any audio format into the WheatNet-IP, and convert to any audio output -- analog to digital, AES to IP, microphone to AoIP or MADI to AES67.

Control and route audio all on the same cable.
No more having to chase down or create new logic commands for sources every time you change control surfaces or studios. Logic follows audio. Audio and control for that audio travel down the same cable, so you can pick up feeds and the logic for those feeds anywhere along the network. Route any audio input to any or all outputs in the network.

Relax, you have switch-over silence detection.
Let’s say an operator misses a cue or leaves a fader down. No problem. When WheatNet-IP senses silence, it can take the automation system directly to air until the operator catches up. Every single audio output channel can be programmed with silence detection and automatic switch-over function.

Simplify things.
No need to assign IP addresses or allocate bandwidth or pay someone else big money to do it. Just plug it into your managed gigabit Ethernet switch and let WheatNet-IP do the rest. Add codecs, processors and controllers or change I/Os in a snap. You spend less time configuring the system, and more time on what’s important: creating awesome sound.

Call the shots.
You call the shots, not some PC. WheatNet-IP distributes the workload to all access points in the system for better overall network stability. Each WheatNet-IP BLADE access unit has its own embedded processor with operating system that allows it be a powerful standalone router or part of a larger system. WheatNet-IP is an embedded system that does not require outside intervention or control from 3rd party software running on PCs. The configuration of the entire network is stored in each BLADE.

Self-pruning multicast trees.
A lot of older IP audio networks don't have a way to manage the multicast streams, which could require you having to periodically manage this yourself or getting a bigger, more expensive switch to handle the mounting volume of streams. Not WheatNet-IP, which uses technology that continually prunes unused source groupings from the network so that you never run out of switch or time having to delete unused channel assignments that are no longer in use.

Avoid costly system failures.
A distributed and intelligent network means no more centralized points of failure to go wrong, plus more points of recovery. Every WheatNet-IP BLADE access unit is self-aware, and can reconfigure itself in an emergency. In fact, each BLADE in the network can recover settings for your entire studio operation!

Stay ahead of the curve with Gigabit Ethernet architecture.
You might not be in a hurry now with 100mbps throughput, but we promise you’ll want the system that has 1 gigabit/second Ethernet throughput once you get your audio network up and running. All WheatNet-IP BLADEs use gigabit Ethernet. This makes all the difference in network throughput, near-zero delay, reliability – and a whole lot more.

Eliminate audio latency problems.
Finally, an audio IP system that can keep up with audio, which means your automation system won’t ever drop a satellite feed or skip a commercial because of delay again. Gigabit Ethernet is why.

Get more on the network for less cost.
Some IP audio nodes are mere input/output devices. Each WheatNet-IP BLADE I/O access unit, by comparison, comes standard with routable utility mixers for mixing, summing and controlling audio in lieu of costly DAs, plus newer BLADE-3s include a multi-band stereo processor for “spot” processing satellite feeds, headphone audio, web streams or any audio feed routed throughout the network. Also included in our new BLADE-3 access units is embedded audio playback that can be used to put emergency audio on the air, and much, much more. With all that functionality built in, WheatNet-IP can save you substantially in hardware costs alone.

Get way more for less.
We’re talking full-featured routable mixers, stereo processor and automation control in each BLADE-3 I/O unit , so operators can pan audio, turn channels ON/OFF, set fader levels, and do audio fades, ducking, source assignments – and lots more. The possibilities are mind-boggling.

Expand your network at any time, for less.
With control and intelligence built into every WheatNet-IP BLADE I/O access unit, you already have most of the networkability you need to grow with the times.

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