Superlab, London Metropolitan University

London Metropolitan University, came in to existence in 2002, with the merger of the University of North London and the London Guildhall University. In 2006, London Metropolitan University invested more than £30 million developing a state-of-the-art Science Centre. The ‘Superlab’ as it became known, offers exceptional teaching and research facilities and remains the largest and most advanced science teaching facility in Europe.

Met Superlab Cover Image
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"The network HD solution provided by POLAR offers a superb, flexible and scaleable solution which is incredibly simple to install and operate. The installation at the Superlab amply demonstrates that there is no requirement for special cabling - it operates on standard Cat 5 and its scaleability means that there is no inherent ‘waste’ of inputs or outputs as may be the case using a traditional matrix system."

1. The Objective

The University needed to address issues surrounding the Superlab’s legacy technology, which had over time, become less than fit for purpose as many elements of the system were simply no longer serviceable. They engaged with trusted partners Reflex to determine a reliable, high quality system that could meet the requirements of cutting edge science education. The aim was to simultaneously route and distribute video content from the Superlab’s lecturer stations to any number and combination of its 268 science students. Given that science experiments would be at the heart of the content, crystal clear video and delivering image-quality of the highest order was essential.

POLAR, working closely with Reflex concluded that an AV over IP system was the way to proceed. Reflex duly designed a scheme for the Superlab and then in conjunction with POLAR, set about extensive testing to ensure that the existing Cat5 infrastructure would be able to handle the planned installation.

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Met Superlab Slide 1 Image

2. Our Approach

12 x WyrestormNHD-IPTX transmitters (1 for each lecturer station) were installed to carry 4K HDMI signals from the source unit and encode them to JPEG2000 data streams. These streams are transmitted through the (already existing) Cat 5 infrastructure to 268 x Wyrestorm NHD-400RX receivers assigned to each of the display units located at the student work stations. The streams are distributed through a group of Brocade 1Gb managed switches and are visually lossless. At their destinations the streams are decoded by the receivers back to HDMI for output to the display

The compression and decompression involved in the JPEG2000 technology, contrary to some misconceptions, does not degrade the image. Stream traffic is controlled by means of 8 x Wyrestorm NHD-000-CTL controllers, receiving IP commands from an Extron control system.

3. Outcomes

Oliver Holmes, Deputy Director, Technology and Operations at London Metropolitan University:

"We knew our requirements would be hard to meet and spent a lot of time researching technologies. With our AV integrator, Reflex, we were really happy to find the Wyrestorm solution delivered by POLAR. POLAR helped deliver a proof of concept that blew us away - the image quality and ultra low latency of Wyrestorm made choosing technology simple. The system is flexible and scalable - already providing a vast number of end points. We felt supported and guided throughout by a knowledgeable, expert team. We have jointly delivered a hugely successful project, which is already improving the student learning and teaching experience and will definitely contribute to successful student outcomes.”

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