Calvin College Boosts Campus Infrastructure with Telecast Fiber CommLink

Calvin College, a liberal arts college based in Grand Rapids, MI, has installed a Telecast CommLink TR6442i fiber optic intercom link from Telecast Fiber Systems to enable cross-campus communications for a wide range of college video productions.

“Previously, we relied on a telephone dial-up interface and, in many cases, text messages — neither of which was very efficient for a fast-paced live production — exchanged by our student technicians to facilitate communications between multiple venues,” says Carl Hordyk, manager of technical services, Calvin College. “The CommLink is an ideal solution. Unlike its competition, which requires two-wire to four-wire adaptors in addition to the transceivers, it is an all-in-one system. From the beginning, the CommLink has delivered clear and flawless intercom transmissions, with a huge improvement in audio quality over the old dial-up method.”

The CommLink TR6442i is a fiber optic transceiver system that carries two intercom channels seamlessly over a single strand of fiber, spanning distances of up to 30 kilometers. At Calvin College, the CommLink is primarily used to transport intercom signals between the school’s video production center and the Covenant Fine Arts Center recital hall and auditorium, halfway across campus. The 2,000-foot distance was at the outside limit of the capabilities of copper cable, and the college saw an opportunity to make use of its preinstalled dark fiber network. The CommLink’s advanced digital noise-elimination circuitry, in combination with the noise-free properties of fiber optic cable, ensure that intercom transmissions are completely free of any electromagnetic interference.

The Campus Events Office at Calvin College staged more than 1,900 non-classroom events last year, with event technical production coordinated by Hordyk, his colleague Doug Huizenga, and 15 student technicians. The team put the new CommLink system into action for the first time to facilitate production for this year’s January Series, a 15-day award-winning lecture series streamed to more than 30 remote webcast locations in Michigan, across North America, and into Europe, drawing a daily audience of more than 2,600 both on and off campus.

“Production on this event required extreme coordination and communication between Calvin’s Video Productions department and the venue, and the CommLink worked flawlessly,” says Hordyk.

“Calvin College is a great example of how fiber can be leveraged for all types of productions because of its light weight and ability to transport high-quality signals without degradation,” says Steve DeFrancesco, VP and GM of Telecast Fiber Systems. “The CommLink is the perfect intercom solution for institutions like Calvin College, with dark fiber in place, because it fills the gap between copper cable and higher-end audio transport systems.”