As one of the largest telecommunications companies in the U.S., CenturyLink requires extremely reliable, well-designed internal communications systems. So when the old AV systems at the company’s Monroe, LA, headquarters weren’t performing up to expectations, CenturyLink called AV design/build firm Singularity Technologies of Johnstown, CO, for a field evaluation. “We didn’t work on the original install in Monroe, but we have a longstanding relationship with CenturyLink,” said Singularity Technologies president Matt Zavakos. “CenturyLink asked us to devise a solution for five 10-person conference rooms in the Technology Center of Excellence at their headquarters, and to extend that solution to create a standard for all of their conferencing across the company. In the Monroe building, we didn’t have conduit space for all the individual wires required by the conferencing mics. We did, however, have room for a Cat-5 cable, so Dante came to mind. That led us to Attero Tech Dante interfaces.”
CenturyLink’s system uses Lectrosonics DSP, so Zavakos called the manufacturer and asked who made a Dante interface that could accept a mute and unmute call from the DSP and then send the appropriate signal back to the mic to tell it to change the color of the status LED. Lectrosonics immediately recommended Attero Tech, whose interfaces work with a wide variety of DSPs.
“We needed to devise a standard so that every conference room is the same,” Zavakos said. “That way, troubleshooting would be easier. Once we locked onto the Attero Tech unD4I-L, it was a given that it was going to be the standard interface for CenturyLink whenever we put in a new system. Multiple conference rooms all over the country are now hooked up like this.”
The conference mics for CenturyLink’s systems require three wires, plus the logic for the talk button and status LED. The original impetus for using Dante and the Attero Tech unD4I-L was to reduce the wiring requirements to one Cat-5 cable, “but Dante and the Attero Tech unD4IL turned out to be a big time saver too,” Zavakos asserts. “We don’t have to pull multiple mic cables over to the equipment rack; we just pull one network cable. CenturyLink has now adopted the Dante signal path, and they are good with it being on their network. That also made a big difference: Their networks are incredibly complex, so being able to integrate into that is a plus.”
For the new, standardized CenturyLink systems, the wiring is relatively straightforward. The conference mic wires run to the Attero Tech unD4I-L, then into CenturyLink’s network, then to the network router environment. “From there, all the AV gear attaches to the same router so we can talk to the unD4I-L and pull the Dante signals into the DSP,” confirms Zavakos.