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Old May 16th, 2016, 11:43 PM   #1
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Navigating internet setup for streaming from conference venues

I had a technical test run appointment at the conference venue for the first ever proper event stream that I will do ... and it was a fizzer. Not the least because the ethernet port was unresponsive/dead due to limited physical ports at their internal switch for the entirety of the networking. It literally wasn't connected to anything further back along the cable behind the scenes, despite prior arrangement being made for this appointment.

They literally don't have enough internal networking ports to service all their function rooms etc at the same time. And this is a big major hotel that is part of a larger chain.

One of the bigger issues that will be systemic wherever we go is ... internet isn't any particular persons responsibility.

The event coordinator for the hotel? Not their area of expertise and understandably so as it is a technical thing.

The AV guy/ audio contractor? He gets bundled with it as it is a technical thing, but he has no control over the networking setup at the hotel ... which is another area altogether.

The internet access etc is managed by a third party who have their offices ... in New Zealand. NZ? No, I don't know why either. They administer the IT side of things remotely. And to top it off, their whole provisioning model revolves around download access to guests who must authenticate with a web browser before you can get anywhere.

Let's just say that my hardware streaming video encoder does not have a web browser to jump through their security hoops with.

This is the piece of paper generated by the hotel for the test today. We had an access code but no wired connection.

I'm now going to write a big email stating our requirements that their NZ contractor will get to see.

Could be worse ... I could have turned up on Saturday without having done a pre-test during the week.

Andrew
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Old May 17th, 2016, 02:33 AM   #2
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Re: Navigating internet setup for streaming from conference venues

In the interim I have sent an email to be passed on and viewed by a techy type who can make decisions. I've asked for the following:

(copied chunk from my email)

Quote:
What we need:

1. A wired ethernet connection to the internet so that we do not suffer the speed vagaries of Wi-Fi access. Neither do we want to have the outbound stream competing with other traffic.

2. If possible, quarantined bandwidth. From earlier discussions the indication is that this will be the case and we should be able to have 10Mbit/sec dedicated to our use. Given that this is dedicated bandwidth for our use, we will in turn use about 8 or 9Mbit/sec on the day for streaming the outbound video data.

3. This hardware video encoder unit does not have an internal browser, so we need another way of authenticating it or a bypass altogether. Iím more than happy to take responsibility for outbound traffic from the encoder.

4. DCHP enabled on the connection so that assignment of IP addresses is automatically taken care of.

5. Someone technical to liaise with. Itís more than understandable that this is outside what an events coordinator can understand or manage, so it tends to be onwarded to the AV person. [AVguy] is excellent, but he has no control over the networking within the hotel and thus itís not fair on him either.
Let's see how we go in the next 24 hours.

Andrew
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Old May 17th, 2016, 09:58 AM   #3
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Re: Navigating internet setup for streaming from conference venues

Hi Andrew

That seems very complex and puts you at the mercy of the hotel's system?? I would have thought that a Teradek on the camera and a Telstra 4G wifi hotspot would be the easy way and self sufficient way to go?? Gosh, at weddings I wouldn't even trust their crappy house PA systems never mind a complex network ... with support in NZ what happens if everything goes pear shaped on the day??? Do they fly an expert over on Air New Zealand??? However it's will still be interesting to see how they sort you out, and hopefully before the gig???
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Old May 17th, 2016, 10:41 AM   #4
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Re: Navigating internet setup for streaming from conference venues

Here in the US it is not unusual to have an off-site third party provisioning bandwidth at hotel venues. For repairs or unusual needs they will dispatch network technicians; even if their NOC is in NZ, they likely have local support infrastructure. It needs to be quickly mobilized.

Yes, WIFI is bad for a number of reasons, including shared bandwidth that may change your uplink access speed depending on what others on the network are doing, and, WIFI packet latency varies a lot even with dedicated connectivity.

In this you've uncovered a potential contractual issue between the event promoter and the hotel, and if you haven't already, you should immediately escalate the issue to the promoter and the hotel's general manager, in addition to the technical/provisioning path you're already on. You're not in control of the venue, you're not the provider of an end-to-end service, there's a significant part of the connectivity that is provided by the promoter through their agreement with the venue.

Time is the enemy here. Immediate escalation of the issues to the people who have event and venue responsibilities is what may get the fixes you need completed in time for you to test again before the event.
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Old May 17th, 2016, 01:55 PM   #5
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Re: Navigating internet setup for streaming from conference venues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
a Telstra 4G wifi hotspot would be the easy way and self sufficient
Is it common to use a mobile hotspot for live-streaming footage?
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Old May 17th, 2016, 07:23 PM   #6
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Re: Navigating internet setup for streaming from conference venues

I'm glad that you did a test run beforehand, it's not always possible to do.
You might need to grab a 4G connection as backup.
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Old May 17th, 2016, 08:56 PM   #7
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Re: Navigating internet setup for streaming from conference venues

Hi Yasmeen

Especially at weddings where they are mostly outdoors in a park you have no option but to use 4G ...even venues that have facilities are not much use as events are often held away from the buildings anyway ...in Andrew's case he is in a hotel but their tech support doesn't seem to be too helpful ....maybe a 4G backup is a good idea in his case !
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Old May 17th, 2016, 09:00 PM   #8
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Re: Navigating internet setup for streaming from conference venues

I'm loathe to do that amount of data via 4G. Just think of the hideous bandwidth/data costs!

I was on the phone with the tech support staff for the Monarch unit (during the night, Aussie time) and they actually have a few ideas on how to bypass the issue. Hopefully my subsequent emails will go before the eyes of someone who is properly IT savvy.

Their suggestions were (for a cabled network connection):

1. Contact the I.T. people at the venue
2. Get the MAC address from the underside of the Monarch unit and supply this
3. Have an exception made in the firewall for for this MAC address so that you can bypass the proxy server (the one that hassles you for a password) and get directly out to the internet.
4. Have them ensure that port 1935 is open as this is what the streaming data goes out on

This would allow the Matrox Monarch unit to stream out without having to jump through the password access hoops.

Waiting to hear back from my contact at the hotel.

Andrew
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Old May 17th, 2016, 11:36 PM   #9
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Re: Navigating internet setup for streaming from conference venues

Well, I've "gut a reply from the bro just in the nuk of tum" as our New Zealand / Kiwi accented friends would say. :-D

The reply included the following info:

1. The hotel's IT system does not block any ports by default.

2. As soon as the device is plugged in to their network, we can then phone the help desk with the MAC address and have them open the internet connection for it.

3. Upon connection, IP addresses are automatically generated for each device, including the Matrox Monarch.

4. By default the connection is on the shared network for the entirety of the hotel, but if it is deemed necessary then we can have it quarantined for our use. (Reckon it is due to the consequences of the outbound speed momentarily going below what the encoder is set to output at.) They also mentioned that the bandwidth at the hotel is more than sufficient for all needs including ours.

5. Whilst the IT management people don't do 'tech support' there is always the help number. Feel a bit underwhelmed with that but on another level I do understand where they are coming from. On the other hand, I now also have the contact details for the "Chief Engineer" on site at the hotel.

Moral of the story at this stage is that things are much easier once you can talk to the right technically minded people as this is not your usual internet access request. Also, the Matrox tech support guys are as awesome as ever.

We'll see how it goes when I do another technical test run tomorrow morning. Feeling somewhat more relieved now.

Andrew
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Old May 19th, 2016, 08:18 AM   #10
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Re: Navigating internet setup for streaming from conference venues

Good news. Went in for another test tonight and we have success.

I've had the MAC address for the Matrox Monarch unit white-listed, and had it done for the next 4 days to well and truly cover both the test tonight and also the full day of the conference.

On a side note, I got in there with all but one of the network cables that I needed. As this is a bit of a new setup, I'm raiding part of the home network setup in order to obtain the bits that I need rather than purchase straight away what I think I will need.

So there I was thinking I was a bit stuck, and then I remembered that I still had the stream details saved in encoder #2, and that this could be started via the handy button on the front of the unit rather than remotely via the web page interface that I have been using. So I pressed the button for encoder #2 and the light started blinking green. And I used my phone to look at the YouTube stream .... success!

I'll make sure I have enough network cables on the day.


This is the archive of the streaming test. Still at 2Mbit/sec, and with video coming straight off the Sony PMW-300 this time. Lens was on manual focus, so the only real indication of clarity is at 15:33 when I focus on a bowl of lollies. There is no sound. It was simply to test the connection itself.

A bonus is that the conference ops guy at the hotel (who will also be working the event on Saturday) had a previous job as an assistant editor at a post-production facility in Melbourne. I only found this out after he said "Hey, now that it's working do you want to leave it set up here" and I'm replying like "dude, this little box thing is worth $3k" and then he was curious to know what it was, and then ... (you get the idea).

So yeah, Saturday is looking great and I'm feeling much better about it all. Thank goodness I went in for pre-event testing. Apparently this makes me more organised than just about all of their conferencing clients.

Also worth noting is that Microsoft has done stuff there and happily used 50Mbit/sec of bandwidth ... and it still got tight for them at times. :-) I think I will ask for more knowing that it can be done, and make it quarantined as the speed can fluctuate at times on the otherwise hotel-wide shared network.

Andrew
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Old May 20th, 2016, 07:53 AM   #11
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Re: Navigating internet setup for streaming from conference venues

For anyone interested, the YouTube Live stream of the conference will be here:

https://www.youtube.com/user/cherishlifevideos/live

Starts 9am Brisbane time.

Andrew
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