The LDeX guide to streaming satellite feeds over IP

The LDeX guide to streaming satellite feeds over IP

Since launching our first ever data centre company UK Grid back in 2004, the management team at LDeX has been involved with colocation clients that stream satellite feeds over IP. Although the Manchester based company was acquired in 2011, the management team went on to create LDeX, bringing with them a clear vision of wanting to maintain and enhance the relationships formed with media clients looking to stream their services through the usage of our facilities and low latency connectivity.

In the early days, the system was completely based on coax cabling and daisy chained multi switches which were quite difficult to manage and scale. Since then, the team at LDeX1, which is our new Data Centre facility in London, has developed a streaming platform that addresses the early pitfalls. The platform is working very well and we are attracting a global client base into LDeX due to our experience and knowledge of this infrastructure. I’m going to discuss below the elements which make our platform unique and attractive to the streaming world.

Optical Distribution for scale

Our Satellite system uses optical LNBs - this means the LNB is connected into our satellite distribution racks via a simplex fibre optic patch. The LNB takes the four polarities and stacks them together and then converts them to light, rather like a network trunk carrying multiple VLANs. The fibre patch is ruggedised as part of it is exposed to the outside elements. The fibre patch then connects into an optical splitter, which can split the light up to 32 times without amplification. From this point, the light from the splitter via another fibre patch is converted into electrical current using a Quatro convertor.

On the output side of the convertor, we can split the signal again and from this point, we use coax to connect into 32 way multi switches. We can then hand off feeds to our clients via coax cable that runs through our cable management system. Each individual coax feed is stacked with the entire frequency of the given satellite. The system is highly scalable and uses a single LNB, which enables us to deliver 2048 satellite feeds to clients. More than this could be possible – I’ll let you know when we get there :-)

All of this means we can hand off a single Coax to a client, we can hand off the four bands via 4 coax feeds and they can put their own multi switches in or we can simply hand off an optical feed and they can build their own distribution system. There is also another option for a client to site their own satellite dish within our compound on our gantry systems. We can go as far as offering N plus 1 satellites with two satellite dishes sited in different locations connecting into a common multi switch.

Low Latency Bandwidth for TV

Once our clients have converted their feeds into IP, they need a low latency multi-homed network to get the content to the users. We provide this on our network platform by peering with the largest IP networks in the world and also by peering on the largest Internet Exchange Points in Europe. This means we can connect our clients directly with the major ISPs globally and remove network hops and latency giving a consistent and fast direct connection. The network needs to be resilient and we have built in dual core network architecture especially for streaming with two major network POPs in LDeX1 and Telehouse North giving the capability to burst up to 10 Gbps.

Hand holding

Our support team here at LDeX1 has extensive knowledge in the physical infrastructure required to deliver satellite feeds and we also have the testing equipment on site to troubleshoot any issues with signal strength. We can deliver a satellite feed to a rack in LDeX1 on the same day as requested. The majority of our overseas clients ship equipment to us and we install it, configure it and cable for them using our in house team.

We also know that some of our clients don’t necessarily understand IP networks, BGP, routing etc – they don’t need to. Our experienced team of network engineers do understand this and we can provide the full network wrap around for any clients, our network team is qualified and highly experienced in Cisco and Juniper from CCNA up to CCIE.

LDeX is also developing a media eco system within LDeX1, which we have named ‘the London Media Exchange’. Our clients are making full use of the platform already by doing business with each other. This eco system enables our clients to offer additional services to each other within the confines of LDeX. To give an example of how it works, we have a media client in LDeX1 that requires channels from a satellite which can’t be picked up in the UK. This client has been able to liaise with another one our partners within our platform, which operates in the geographical area of the required satellite footprint. They are streaming this Satellite back into LDeX and onto the media client who then streams the channels to his end users.

So in summary, our streaming platform is comprised of three core elements.

1. A scalable distribution system
2. A scalable and resilient low latency network
3. A highly skilled team of Data Centre technicians and Network engineers.

Hopefully you can see how LDeX is rapidly becoming the media streaming platform of choice for streaming customers - we are certainly cooking up a stream!