Syn-Apps Blog

How Converting Unicast into Multicast Can Optimize Your Network

Posted by Sydney Hirshberger on Wed, Oct 26, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

Paging_Relay_Banner_3.png*This is the first of a four-part series highlighting the various features of Syn-Apps' patented Paging Relay.

Syn-Apps’ Paging Relay is a small, patented PoE network appliance that provides customers with a number of communication solutions. It enables connectivity to analog endpoints, contact closure devices, alarm panels and more. The device can also be used to configure remote site failover, broadcast background music, play music on hold, and alert staff of incoming calls after business hours with the night ringer functionality.

One key feature of the Paging Relay is its ability to significantly reduce bandwidth consumption by converting incoming unicast audio streams into multicast to destination sites across the WAN.

What is unicast?

Unicast is an industry-standard transmission method of sending data to a single network destination identified by a unique IP address.

Unicast Traffic Flow

Above: Each endpoint is sent the same set of data.

 

What is multicast?

Multicast sends one data stream to multiple endpoints and optimizes network performance by controlling network traffic and reducing the bandwidth load on network devices.

Multicast Traffic Flow

 Above: Data is sent to designated endpoints.

 

How can the Paging Relay help?

By converting a single unicast stream into multicast before delivering a notification, the Paging Relay decreases network bandwidth and provides clear, crisp audio announcements to designated endpoints — like IP phones, IP speakers, or traditional PA systems.

Unicast to Multicast with Paging Relay

Above: One unicast stream is sent from the server to the Paging Relay, which then converts the stream into multicast and sends individual streams to each designated endpoint.

 

Ask yourself this: Could your organization benefit from taking additional measures to optimize your network - such as reducing bandwidth consumption or broadcasting intelligible audio notifications?

Paging Relay - Learn More

Tags: Syn-Apps Paging Relay, Unicast to Multicast, WAN, Bandwidth

Tech Tips for Schools | Evaluating Mass Notification Providers

Posted by Sydney Hirshberger on Tue, Aug 09, 2016 @ 06:43 PM

 School Notifications

To prepare for the upcoming academic year, schools should review their mass notification systems and communication procedures to ensure they're equipped to communicate to students, faculty, or first responders during emergency and non-emergency situations. 

Mass notification systems (MNS) help reduce communication barriers and help schools quickly manage situations. MNS serve as the "communication engine" that unites disparate technology into a single platform used to rapidly relay information to anyone affected by a situation, which is imperative during emergency situations and a critical component to school safety initiatives. 

It's important to find a trusted MNS provider that adapts with your evolving needs, offers a simple and reliable notification experience for users, is compatible with multiple systems and services, supports multimodal communication, and alerts the right people within a timely manner.

Here are a few tips to consider when evaluating notification systems:
  • Understand Your Technology & Notification Needs - Reviewing and testing existing systems and processes helps crystallize notification needs and identify potential communication gaps.

    For example, activating a district-wide notification may be challenging if buildings are equipped with different systems. Notification software can help schools overcome this communication gap by connecting disparate sytems together.


    • Unite IP and Analog Systems - Advanced notification systems should be scalable to unite existing analog technology, like speakers and intercoms, into the IP network to streamline notification management and extend the life of legacy systems.

    • Broadcast Quality Audio to Ensure Alerts Are HeardIntelligible audio is critical when communicating information to speakers in noisy areas, like classrooms, gymnasiums, or hallways. 

  • Know Your Audience -  Whether broadcasting daily announcements, paging faculty, or initiating a district lockdown, schools need a system that supports dynamic notifications for various situations. 

    I
    t's also important to understand which communication mediums are most effective to reach your intended audience. For example - Activating a panic button to alert safety officers during a classroom emergency may require a more discrete communication process than broadcasting daily announcements across classroom speakers.


    Robust notification systems should be scalable to simultaneously alert devices such as:

    • On-premise communication - IP phones and speakers, intercoms, analog devices, bells/beacons/strobes, desktop computers, panic buttons, and digital signage

    • Off-premise communication - Mobile phones, SMS messages, IM clients, email, text-to-speech services, or social networks
  • Automated Alerts Save Time and Resources - Automation increases safety and situational awareness by eliminating the need for a person to manually activate alerts. Automated alerts are especially beneficial during emergencies when every second can make a difference. Examples of automated notifications include:

    • Scheduled Notifications - For routine communication, like daily announcements or school bells
    • Automated Weather Alerts - Connect NOAA / NWS to receive automatic alerts for severe watches and warnings in your area
    • CAP Alerts - Subscribe to County, State, or National CAP feeds for critical information
    • One-Touch Activation - Connect panic buttons to automatically initiate emergency procedures for situations like lockdowns or building evacuations
    • Email Monitoring - Alert personnel when incoming emails match specific filters, like email address or keywords
Notification providers like Syn-Apps have been helping schools manage emergency and non-emergency communication since 2001. Visit www.syn-apps.com/solutions/education to learn more.
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Tags: SA-Announce, Mass Notification, Unicast to Multicast, Lockdown, Automated Alerts, School Safety, CAP, Emergency