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New Minnesota High School Distributes Television on Cat 6 Cable

This high school uses Lynx to distribute 16 in-house channels and 21 cable and satellite channels to 175 locations on Cat 6 cable. The picture quality is excellent, and it is easy to handle moves, adds, and changes.

The all-new Sauk Rapids-Rice High School is one of the first schools in the nation to distribute educational television to every classroom using Cat 6 cable. “The picture quality is better than anything I’ve seen and we have 175 TVs throughout the building,” said Scott McCabe, Network Technician for Independent School District 47.

An integral part of the school’s TV system is a Lynx Video Network, which includes 26 Lynx distribution hubs in the IDF closets. Each hub has a single coaxial input port and eight Cat 6 output ports.

Scott McCabe
Scott McCabe

A passive broadband balun makes it possible to simultaneously deliver multiple channels of RF on Cat 6 cable. The patented balun converts an unbalanced coaxial signal into a balanced signal that travels on pair four of the Cat 6 cable. When the signal reaches the classroom, an identical balun at the TV end reverses the process.

Cat 6 cable was installed during construction of the new school, which took two years and cost $54 million. The facility opened in the fall of 2003 and has a capacity for 1,500 students.

“We are extremely happy with the Lynx Network,” McCabe continued. “The pictures are crystal clear and we’re able to do a lot of things with Cat 6 that we couldn’t do with coax, including easier troubleshooting, and adding TVs in new locations.”

The network has 37 channels available for use. Channels 2-17 are dedicated to in-house programming, such as announcements, student newscasts, and learning videos. The remaining 20 channels are for public and commercial programming from cable and satellite sources.

Sauk Rapids - Rice High School
Sauk Rapids — Rice High School

Besides the picture quality, McCabe is especially pleased with how easy it is to troubleshoot any signal problems. “Each hub handles eight TVs, so if the picture on a set goes fuzzy,” he explained, “all I have to do is go to the hub for that TV and check the problem from there.”

“This is a huge advantage,” said McCabe, who has been with the district for eight years.

“Tracing signal problems with the coax cable system in the old high school was nearly impossible without using an expensive outside service. They had to check all the connectors in the ceilings of the building, which was about as long as four football fields.”

Installation of the Lynx Video Network was completed in only one day by GB Tech Services in Minneapolis. GB installed the headend equipment and adjusted the amplifiers to deliver appropriate signals to TVs located at varying distances from the IDF closets.

“Most companies don’t call back more than a time or two to make sure things are running okay. That’s certainly not the case with GB and Lynx, whose support has been outstanding.”

Product Photos

Lynx 8-port distribution hub
Lynx 8-port distribution hub converts a coaxial input signal to 8 Cat 5 output signals.
Lynx single port converter
Lynx single port converter changes the Cat 5 signal back to a coaxial signal. (3.3 in. long)

System Design

Lynx system wiring diagram

R&D 100 Awards

The Lynx Video Network received the 1996 R&D 100 Award for its ability to deliver television signals on a dedicated twisted pair cable. The Lynx Video and Data Network received the 2003 R&D 100 Award for its ability to simultaneously deliver television and data (Ethernet) on a single twisted pair cable. The R&D 100 Award is presented by R&D Magazine to recognize the 100 most technologically significant new products introduced each year.