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Intercom Over The Public Internet: How It Can Be Done

November 03, 2020

By Joel Guilbert, Dale Pro Audio
Recently we found ourselves producing a busy series of virtual events for the inaugural AES NY Virtual trade show. Like a lot of productions occurring now, the producers of these events were working from their home environments, miles apart. Like previous IRL productions, the need for reliable instant communication to start sessions, cue the next presenters, Q+A, deal with tech issues, etc. was still needed. Of course, there was a very limited amount of time, and limited infrastructure because of the “home-provided” amenities. Bandwidth could appear wide at times, but never guaranteed to stay that way.

This was going to be tough.

Sending text messages to each other just not fast enough, or reliable. The same with computer based messaging - when you have 6 windows up you are actively monitoring during the presentations, there isn’t enough real estate, screenwise or mentally, for another one.

Enter the Telos Infinity IP based intercom system. Being a matrix-less system it doesn’t need to rely on a central routing matrix that all the communication devices need to connect to. Recent (and timely) software advancements allow these devices to be used over the public internet! This meant that we could have near-instantaneous voice communication anywhere with an internet connection and a (dhcp in this config) IP address.

After a quick walk through by Telos IP intercom guru Martin Dyster, we had our demo intercom system ready to go. The 2 beltpacks were configured to speak to each other in VOIP mode. The moment of truth - bring them home and plug them in!

After addressing POE needs (as most home routers don’t provide the power necessary to power the beltpacks) by using midspan injectors (such as this one from Tripp-Lite) the intercom beltpacks were plugged in and came to life. The talk button was pressed…

The voice on the other end was clear and recognizable! Success!

Because the Infinity beltpacks feature an integrated speaker and microphone we could use them without a headset - which was useful as one of us wears a broadcast style headset for online use. The beltpacks sat on our desks like walkie talkies. Walkie talkies with miles and miles of range!

The intercom system was successfully utilized throughout the 14 events of the course of the AES virtual show week. At the “tear down” of the show, it was simply a matter of wrapping a couple of network cables and packing up a POE injector and the beltpack.

Joel Guilbert is Dale Pro Audio's Technology Development Manager, and assists on technical support inquiries, system design and integration, and much more for our company. He can be reached at joel@daleproaudio.com.



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