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GB4D designs complex BroaMan network for new Toulouse Conference Centre

An Optocore/BroaMan fiber network is at the heart of the new MEETT Toulouse Exhibition & Conference Centre. The third largest facility in France (outside Paris) it boasts a 40,000m2 modular exhibition hall, a main street that opens into an outdoor multipurpose area of 25,000m2, and has been constructed on a 155,000m2 site.

The installation was carried out by Optocore’s long-term French partner GB4D, in close collaboration with the scenography company Ducks Scèno. Gilles Bouvard’s GB4D team worked alongside Grégory Aldéa, head of audiovisual projects at Ducks Scéno, on behalf of the MEETT consortium, Toulouse Métropole and GL Events.

GB4D were able to meet the Consortium’s specification for a fiber network that would transmit sound, video, lighting and IT, overcoming many engineering challenges in the process. “We conducted a study of possible future equipment, both upstream and downstream of our network, as during the development phase we were not aware of the audio-visual equipment that would be installed; therefore we made a possible hypothesis based purely on the plans.”

MEETT itself is divided in three parallel bands, based around a row of modular exhibition halls. In its complete form the space is massive—500m long and 80 to 100m wide. The separate convention centre and multi-function event hall are split by a reception area and multi-storey car park. With such distances involved the choice of a fiber network to transport all video, audio and data signals was obvious.

The Convention Centre’s 12 modular rooms are all equipped with fiber optics, along with a large hall, in which another convention room can accommodate around 3,500 people (seated), while a second room can host exhibitions or other needs. At its maximum, the Convention Hall can hold around 7,000-8,000 people—showing the advantage of modularity.

MEETT Toulouse Exhibition & Conference Centre

Mobile Racks with Optocore’s X6R-FX

Fiber optic points are stationed throughout the Convention Centre, and each modular meeting room is equipped with three quad fiber connection points.

For the management of these 12 rooms, a Seminar Rooms node has been equipped with a BroaMan Route66 Video Router (40 in / 40 out), where 26/26 connect via CWDM multiplexer to fiber stageboxes in specific rooms, while 14 /14 allow fiber video connections between routers in Seminar Rooms Node and Convention Room.

Gilles Bouvard explains the rationale. “The CWDM video makes it possible to have two Video In and two Video Out per modular room. The 14 optical strand-to-strand video streams allows full duplex in / out with the Convention room node.”

The fiber points are cabled on single-mode quad fibers, dispatched to the router by a WDM frame. The latter is supplied from a manual fiber patch which allows connection of 13 COM ports (combined main connections which carry all signals on a duplex fiber) to the router on the 39 available connection points (three per room).

In the Convention Room, network distribution is via 24 quad fiber connection points. In the room node a BroaMan Route66 Video Router (38 in / 38 out) provides 24in / 24out CWDM video for fiber stageboxes and the 14 full duplex in / out SDI fiber video share streams with the Seminar Rooms node, with a WDM frame facilitating various connection points.

Each node is additionally equipped with an Optocore AutoRouter15 for the seminar rooms and an Optocore AutoRouter10 for the Convention Hall to complete the Optocore loop.

In order to function in all the different spaces, 10 mobile racks have each been plugged with a BroaMan Mux22-IVT/MADI 4 SDI in / 4 SDI out, with 4 MADI fiber ports for audio and Optocore X6R-TP-8MI/8LO (two ports of 16AES, four DMX RS422 port, LAN Base 10/100). Each rack can be connected by a quad fiber to any connection point in the building.

The Optocore and BroaMan backbones for fiber routing were necessary to avoid latency issues, according to Bouvard. “This fantastic system allows you to have any audio control surface in the network. Given its complexity, I challenge anyone to set up an Ethernet-based or IP network as easy and fast as ours to operate, without having to be a computer scientist!”

Sound reinforcement is an L Acoustics KARA system, while the installed mixing consoles are Soundcraft Vi1000s with MADI cards. All sound consoles can be connected to the network and most can control the 80 available Optocore preamps directly from the desk.

Upon completion, the GB4D team, Gilles Bouvard and François Lund, undertook a thorough installation check, and provided full user training and installation monitoring.

In conclusion, Bouvard says, “The challenge today is to provide solutions to satisfy all user demands and transport different IP and Ethernet-based protocols. Five years ago it was complicated, but thanks to BroaMan we now have the tools. Together we develop devices to easily transport and route data streams carrying different protocols, with no bandwidth limit.”

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