As governments worldwide implement measures to address the COVID-19 virus outbreak, many customers have reached out to Imagine Communications for guidance and best practice advice on how to implement remote operations in their broadcast environment to respond to local restrictions and reduced staff availability.

All Imagine Communications products and solutions (except for certain legacy products that are discontinued) are designed with remote control capabilities. Certain components in the Playout solution are designed for physical human interaction (such as router control panel, multiviewer etc). These components can be remotely controlled and operated using the following recommendations –

  • Imagine has a “soft” solution (software) for our Magellan Router Control panels (RCP). This option can be activated as needed. Please contact Imagine Support if you would like to use this option.
  • Multiviewer display output can be monitored using any commercially available video capture device – such as webcams that are connected to a “monitoring” workstation, or other video capture devices that can be installed on the workstation, in order to visually capture the multiviewer display. Operators can then view multiviewer display output via the “monitoring” workstation.

Imagine products and solutions are designed to operate in a secure LAN environment (unless explicitly specified otherwise). We recommend the following architecture for customers implementing remote operation –

  • Install one or more “jump-client” workstations in the LAN environment which hosts your playout solution.
    • NOTE: While one “jump-client” workstation is sufficient to control all component, customers should decide on the number of “jump-client” workstation based on their operational requirements.
    • It is highly recommended that a minimum of 2 “jump-client” workstation be used for redundancy purpose
  • Connect to the “jump-client” workstation from “anywhere” following the processes and protocols established by customer’s IT policies.
    • Users/operators can connect to the “jump-client” workstation using many commercially available remote desktop software solutions – such as Bomgar, TeamViewer, etc. 
    • Most software solutions used for collaboration & conferencing also support remote control capabilities – such as Zoom, WebEx, Bluejeans, Microsoft Teams etc. However, these software solutions require someone to initiate the connection from the “jump-client “workstation.

NOTE: Imagine products and solutions can also be accessed via VPN connection, though it is not recommended for time-critical applications. VPN connection over WAN link tend to have varying packet transmission latency which can impact performance of time-critical application.

A typical operational scenario

  • Customer shall install one or more “jump-client” workstations in the LAN environment hosting the playout solution.
  • Customer shall decide on the Remote Desktop solution application (or other collaboration/conferencing solution) and configure the “jump-client” workstation for remote access. As part of deploying the remote desktop solution, authentication mechanism and security protocols should be implemented as per customer’s IT policies.
  • Customer shall install recommended software solution required to control and manager various components of the playout solution on the “jump-client” workstations.
  • Customer shall install video capture device and configure remote viewing of the multiviewer output on the “jump-client” workstation.

If desired, open source software such as “mRemoteNG” can be used to organize control of various component associated with the playout solution.

Once this infrastructure is in place, operators can connect to the “jump-client” workstations using the selected “remote desktop” application following their IT polices. The remote desktop application will enable access to the “jump-client” workstation and operators can control their Playout solution from the “jump-client” workstation (as they would do if they are physically present).

NOTE: Performance and quality of remote operation is directly associated with the quality of network connection between the remote location (where operator is located) and the Playout center (where playout solution is hosted).

Remote connection specifications:

Network bandwidth requirements vary depending on the specific remote application vendor.  In general, required bandwidth for full screen sharing of typical desktop applications average 1.5mb/s.

If the screen includes moving videos, the rate will increase substantially.

We recommend planning for a minimum of 5mb/s to enable reasonable control capability.

Use Imagine tools:

  • Magellan Softpanel – can be used to orchestrate switch router crosspoints.  
    • This panel is hosted by Magellan SDN Orchestrator and provides access to ALL sources/destinations in SDNO managed matrices both SDI or IP.
    • All Magellan hardware Router Control Panels, aka RCP, (running software version 3.5 or greater) also host a softpanel. This softpanel can be activated by going into ‘Control’ mode on configuration UI.  This softpanel looks and behaves exactly like the real panel that is hosting it.
    • Magellan CCS Navigator software with proper licenses (RTR, DEV or SRV) can also provide operational abilities similar to the RCP.
  • Versio Master Control – a web-based master control panel which allows control of graphics, switching and Automation. 

Restrictions

Remote desktop application such as TeamViewer should not be installed directly on Nexio or Versio servers. The Versio and Nexio servers shall be accessed remotely by using Windows Remote Desktop Client application only.

Support

Imagine support is un-affected by the Covid-19 restrictions, and customers should expect the same high level of service that we’ve always delivered. We are committed to maintaining your systems and assisting you to leverage the most from your Imagine solutions. 

 

Call 1-866-4-IMAGINE (1-866-446-2446) to reach our customer care team.

Imagine Communications places cookies on your computer to help make our website better. By continuing to browse our website we will assume that you agree to the placing of these cookies. For more information on these cookies, including how to manage your cookie preferences through your browser settings, please see our Cookie Policy