This post will detail the use-case, installation, and operation of a J-Tech A/V Network Matrix Switch as a video router within the building at Greenwood Baptist Church in Weatherford, TX. Most modern buildings have some sort of video distribution system in them running alongside, or even through their data network. This church building needs to be flexible, so when we built a new building I knew a video network would be a valuable component.

The Challenge

My task was (originally) to get a video signal from the video booth and/or sound booth in our Worship Center to other TVs in the building. I knew that we would eventually want to add other inputs and after talking to some friends I knew that a video router or advanced matrix would be the way to go to provide a bit of future-proofing (more on that below).

My Use Case for the J-Tech A/V Network Matrix Switch

I needed to get a signal to three TV monitors in one foyer and two classrooms within that building. Then, four TV monitors in another foyer and 8 classrooms within the same building. In another building I needed that signal to reach 2 projectors. I knew this would not be a cheap project, but I also knew that running cable is really cheap while you don’t have walls built. So, I contracted someone to run some extra cable while the building was being constructed. They ran the cable from the network closet to the destination point and labelled each one (very important). I purchased three of the J-Tech A/V Network Matrix Switches, along with four transmitter units and about 20 receiver units so I would have a few extras.

Setup of the J-Tech A/V Network Matrix Switch

I decided that I would end up using one of the network hubs in each building to utilize the existing cable runs in each building. My logical topology diagram can be seen below:

J-Tech A/V Network Matrix Switch 1

Now that I had planned out the system it was time to set up the devices. Each J-Tech product that I purchased requires setup before use. I learned this the hard way. It turns out you can just plug everything up and it will mostly work. It just isn’t that stable. That’s why proper setup is important – stability.

Setup requires a computer with an ethernet port, and a vacant power port close by. You’ll have to plug in each device and then connect it to your computer via ethernet cable. Once you’ve done that you follow the instructions to login to the devices. Then you will have to change the ip address and the mac address so that all the devices are no longer the same as the default (causes major stability issues otherwise). Just for good measure, I also put a physical label on each device describing its ip address and physical location. Example is below:

Now you will want to connect everything together, making note of which device is plugged into which port on each hub. I put an extra machine with two network cards in my network closet plugged into the access port (p24) of the J-Tech A/V Network Switch (the other network port goes to my data network). That way I could log into the machine remotely and make changes to the routing of the video signals (described later). From the machine which is plugged into the access port (p24), you’ll enter the ip address 192.168.168.1 into your browser bar and you will see the following:

You will want to press the “port setting” tab so that you see the following:

Now you want to label everything according to the information you recorded earlier. I made sure each port was labelled to match the physical label I put on the transmitter or receiver. I don’t really have a broken port, I just thought I did at one time…

Once you have finished labelling things, click the “output settings” tab. Now you can use the check boxes to send a particular signal to a particular destination. You can save up to 4 configurations (so that the buttons labelled “Mode 1-4” change to presets with one click). After you have made your changes you’ll need to click “Apply” and the device state will change.

NOTE: If you have three separate hubs, you will have to physically plug into each individual hub to make changes on that device. In my configuration, only one hub is really making changes the other two are just splitting the signal among multiple devices.

Operation of the J-Tech A/V Network Matrix Switch

In real life, once configured properly I have found this to be a dependable solution. I use the preset for “mode 1” for Sundays and the preset “mode 4” for Wednesdays, with those being the only real configuration changes I have to make. On Sundays I have only a few TVs displaying rolling announcement slides (via Apple TV), while many are displaying the Stream from the worship service, and 3 are displaying the video from the children’s area to their TVs. On Wednesdays everything that isn’t in the children’s area is displaying the rolling announcement slides with some worship music behind it (via Apple TV). For special events or occasions, I can obviously make adjustments very easily.

Conclusions about the J-Tech A/V Network Matrix Switch

Overall I would say that I am very happy with the J-Tech A/V network Matrix Switch. I am aware that it has limitations such as a little latency between the transmitter and the receivers. However, it is very minimal and acceptable for a device at this price point in my opinion. Also, the customer service has been very good so far. They respond within a few hours to my emails every time.

Advanced Use:

I’ve recently learned how to make use of VLAN’s to improve the functionality of these devices. Instead of having to plug into the management port of each J-Tech device, I’ve set them up in a VLAN on my data network. That allows me to use a computer on my data network (wifi anywhere on campus) to access the J-Tech devices. This allows me to make changes more quickly. The one hangup on these devices is that their gui isn’t compatible with iOS yet. Android users are in luck, it will work fine for you with an update to the firmware that they are happy to provide via email.

 

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