Place Bell Sports Arena Opens in Quebec with Full IP Network Featuring LUMINEX GigaCore Switches

Place Bell, the new multi-purpose sports facility in suburban Montreal, has opened with an IP-centric infrastructure, which features a large complement of LUMINEX GigaCore switches. All the live audio, video, broadcasting and lighting in the venue runs over IP network, without compromise, using LUMINEX switches. It’s what the LUMINEX mantra, AV networking made easy, is all about.
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Place Bell, the new multi-purpose sports facility in suburban Montreal, has opened with an IP-centric infrastructure, which features a large complement of LUMINEX GigaCore switches.  All the live audio, video, broadcasting and lighting in the venue runs over IP network, without compromise, using LUMINEX switches.  It’s what the LUMINEX mantra, AV networking made easy, is all about.

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Place Bell’s 10,000-seat main arena is the home of the American Hockey League’s Laval Rockets.  The facility also houses a 2,500-seat rink with Olympic-size ice for professional figure skating and speed skating and a 500-seat rink for local ice hockey teams.  The main arena also hosts concerts and other entertainment events.

The decision to build Place Bell from the ground up with an IP-centric infrastructure is a sign of the times, notes Mike Poirier, Director of Business Development at Solotech, which handled integration of the arena’s video systems, LED screens, lighting and intercoms.  “Facilities have slowly but surely moved to a networked world; it’s a reality now,” he says.  “So AV-centric switches, like those from LUMINEX, made a lot of sense for Place Bell.”

“IP-based systems are no longer a choice: They are the way to go,” agrees Benjamin Wahiche, Technical Director at TKNL, which was responsible for integrating all the audio and the closed circuit video at Place Bell.  “If you want to deliver the flexibility that customers expect, IP-based systems are the solution.  Place Bell is the biggest IP-based system we have ever deployed, and one of the largest LUMINEX networks in the world.”

Luc Gelinas, a Partner and Technical Services Director at project consultant Trizart Alliance, notes that Place Bell’s IP-centric infrastructure will serve the arena well now and into the future.  “With everything running over IP the challenge is always inter-operability with different kinds of equipment.  But LUMINEX is able to handle all the major protocols involved in AV with ease and without requiring the end user to have a deep knowledge of programming switches,” he says.

Hugo Larin, Director – America for LUMINEX commented, “We have worked on various projects with Trizart and they have been a real promoter of IP infrastructure for these systems. They see real time/live AV and lighting needs of venues as independent systems with specific quality of services, traffic filtering, time awareness, etc. This is exactly what GigaCore is all about.”

System redundancy is also key, according to Gelinas.  “We need to maintain a primary network and secondary network with a redundant power supply between the two.  That’s where LUMINEX also has an edge.”

The network’s backbone is a mix of ring and mesh topology of single-mode fiber with a  failover paths for fast recovery, a hallmark of the RLinkX  functionality by LUMINEX.  Complete filtering of all the multicast traffic generated by all the protocols is also featured.

The audio system integrated by TKNL at Place Bell is comprised of 41 LUMINEX GigaCore 16Xt PoE ruggedized AV switches with front displays all equipped with RPSU redundant power supplies each supporting two GigaCore 16Xt  main PSU and PoE PSU.  Two GigaCore 26i PoE AV network switches complement the system.

QSC’s Q-SYS Core audio processors, I/O frames and tactile control and paging stations ensure audio distribution throughout the building.  Two isolated groups/segments provide support to QSC Q-LAN primary and Q-LAN secondary network protocol. QSC network amplifiers and additional touch panels and paging stations provide audio in the concourse.

The main ice loudspeaker system consists of a NEXO loudspeaker and amplifier network, which provides coverage throughout the ice rink.  Also on the network are control of the audio mixing system, monitoring, the instant replay system, and wireless microphones.

“The secondary audio system has speakers in the concourse, hallways and in the dressing rooms – all on the same network, all communicating with each other and all supported on a LUMINEX backbone,” says Wahiche.  “The large number of LUMINEX switches gives us hardware redundancy; we have two rings of switches on a redundant base.”

He notes that “if you have done audio all your life moving to a networked environment is a different world.  You want a simple user interface, and LUMINEX makes it very comfortable and easy for the end user without requiring any special training.  LUMINEX products are engineered to fill the need of AV networks and accept every product we deal with,” Wahiche adds.

Place Bell’s IP TV network, or closed circuit TV network, was also integrated by TKNL.  It broadcasts advertising, Cable TV feed and promotional content within the facility.The network is comprised of 23 LUMINEX GigaCore 26i PoE AV Network switches each with a 3Gb aggregated link that provides increased bandwidth and redundancy to three main core switches.

The system was designed to support up to 24 video sources, including cable TV feeds, local SDI feeds and a Navori player for digital signage and dynamic content, on a complete AMX SVSI system.  Destination points number in the hundreds: Twenty-four SVSI 2000 series encoders are currently used going to more then 180 destinations.  Fifty Crestron touch panels provide some in room control.

Solotech integrated the lighting system consisting of a LUMINEX GigaCore 14R PoE ruggedized AV switch and a GigaCore 26i PoE AV Network switch.  An ETC ION 1000 console is networked with ETC Net 3 and sACN protocols to sensors, relays and Luminex DMX nodes.

GigaCore products also support all the LED panels for which Solotech was responsible.  They include the Chainzone Imposa trivision (three-sided) scoreboard on the public plaza; the main arena’s four-sided Imposa scoreboard with a power ring below it; and Imposa LED panels over each exit and the team entry doors.

Solotech also integrated the full HD-compliant control room, for the broadband capture and distribution of events at Place Bell.  It features seven cameras, a Grass Valley Korona production switcher, AJA audio and video processor and Ross sync, test and reference generator running on a network consisting of Four LUMINEX GigaCore 26i switches and two GigaCore 16Xt.

The complex communications system for the production crew and officials in the penalty box uses a Riedel Tango AES67 intercom system and Smart Panel.  “The system is extremely important since Place Bell does live events,” notes Poirier.  “It is linked to the LUMINEX switches too.”

Trizart, Solotech and TKNL were all familiar with LUMINEX products from smaller-scale projects they have done.  They report that the LUMINEX network for Place Bell has delivered no less than the reliability and performance they have come to expect.

“For an AV-centric network application like Place Bell it made sense to use LUMINEX wall-to-wall,” says Poirier.  “There was very good interaction among all the parties on this project, and LUMINEX supported every team.  They made sure the network and all third-party equipment worked properly.”

“LUMINEX was with us at all points, from the design of the system to its deployment and commissioning,” says Wahiche.  “LUMINEX was also on site to finalize all the details, especially for the IP TV network.”

Place Bell ushered in the Laval Rockets’ hockey season and has already hosted half-a-dozen shows, including a performance by Cirque du Soleil that opened the arena.  “The LUMINEX switches are performing well,” says Gelinas.  “They have been strong and stable, with no glitches, since opening day.”

Larin concludes, “Dealing with inter-operability when deploying multiple end points from multiple manufacturers is always a challenge for AV system integrators. The fact that Luminex spends an enormous time on validating manufactures’ implementation and inter-operability makes the whole experience a charm.”

About LUMINEX 

Luminex Network Intelligence is a Belgian-based manufacturer of data distribution equipment for professional lighting, audio and video applications, mainly for the entertainment industry. They offer a complete range of network switches, converters/nodes and DMX splitters, providing AV designers and technicians with cutting edge technology to build a complete data distribution system for big events or large venues. Their commitment is to make it as easy as possible to deploy a professional AV network, even without the need of any IT knowledge, and our plug-and-play GigaCore switches do exactly that. They are completely pre-configured to transport all common-used lighting and audio protocols, such as Art-Net, MANet, Dante™, RAVENNA/AES67, PTP V2 and many more. For more information visit www.luminexamerica.com

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