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Media collaboration made easy

Palomar graphics professor, Mark Bealo, considers himself a trade show connoisseur out to find new ideas, technology, and advancements in the field.

It was when he was attending the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) in 2014, where he stumbled upon a booth containing two computers connected with one cable in order to transfer files at a fast speed. For the next two years, Bealo knew he had a project in the making.

“I saw that and I was like gosh, it would be great if they could connect more computers than just the two because that would be ‘networking’,” Bealo said.

Bealo wanted to create a solution so that files could be shared at a faster speed among multiple computers while maintaining storage space. Not only would the speed be faster, but this new project would enable students to work on collaborative projects within small work groups with shared access and storage.

Dae Yoo far left, Ryan Simuong, Graphic Communications Professor Mark Bealo, and Farai Chieza, instructing students in MD119 at Palomar. March 17, 2016. Niko Holt/ The Telescope
Dae Yoo far left, Ryan Simuong, Graphic Communications Professor Mark Bealo, and Farai Chieza, instructing students in MD119 at Palomar. March 17, 2016. Niko Holt/ The Telescope

However, this solution came with a hefty price tag. Companies at NAB were offering a solution along with a $120,000 invoice. With troubleshooting skills and dedication, Palomar did it their own way which in the end totaled $33,000 funded by Perkins, a foundation founded by Carl D. Perkins to fund Technical Education. Overall, it was significantly less than the first solution.

“We want to make sure what we’re doing meets industry standards so when you go out (in the business world) you’re not totally lost,” Bealo said.

In December 2014, Intel released a white paper (an authoritative report providing information), that revealed how to bridge two or more computers through a Thunderbolt Cable. This enabled Bealo to understand the technical process behind making the project possible. The only problem was that it was written for PC’s, and the Palomar lab used Apple Macintosh computers.

The goal was for every row of computers in the lab to be able to work on a shared collaborative project and sustain a file that held a large amount of gigabytes. With the help of hard drives installed into a RAID (a system that makes multiple hard drives be seen as one), the project took off.

The computer connecting project was finally finished in October 2015, increasing the efficiency of collaborative educational projects for students, according to Bealo.

“If we’re talking video, if we’re doing a team based project, it’s here. You do this part, save it, and I’ll open it up and I don’t have to ask you for the files. It’s all already there. The accessibilities amazing,” said student Raymond Diramos.

Bealo, former students, and industry friends shot a video explaining how to pull off this sharing method, and sent it out to professionals for feedback.

Palomar’s Graphic Communication in room MD119 is the first to implement Ultra High Speed Network for the students. Allowing each student to access their network files at the same time, pulling from one network drive at an amazing one Gigabyte a second! March 17, 2016. Niko Holt/ The Telescope
Palomar’s Graphic Communication in room MD119 is the first to implement Ultra High Speed Network for the students. Allowing each student to access their network files at the same time, pulling from one network drive at an amazing one Gigabyte a second! March 17, 2016. Niko Holt/ The Telescope

Running into Intel at a tradeshow for the second time, they directed Bealo to Corning Fiber Optics who would have cables long enough so that the RAID’s could be relocated.

Corning, who had already viewed the video, saw Bealo at the North American Music convention,they sent over ten cables, cutting costs and enabling expensive equipment to be locked up.

“My goal is for other educational facilities and people in the industry to implement this, save a ton of money. Instead of buying a $120,000 dollar networking system so that five or six people can work together,” Bealo said.

Now, Bealo hopes to release the new video explaining the process in April. Giving it time to reach industry professionals, but also to those who want to implement the idea in their own classroom.

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One Comment

  1. Mark Bealo
    Mark Bealo April 14, 2016

    Corrections and clarifications: I read about the peer-to-peer capabilities of Thunderbolt connectivity back in 2014 after the April NAB trade show. I didn’t see the demonstration at the show.
    http://www.zdnet.com/article/thunderbolt-networking-supports-peer-to-peer-mac-connections/

    The GC Department was given $29,000 via Perkins sometime around the middle of 2014. We received some additional Lottery funds to cover additional costs associated with the setup.

    I figured it was just a matter of time before Intel and modern operating systems were able to implement the networking capabilities into the Mac and other platforms. That was detailed in the Intel White Paper on the subject in December of 2014. I met with Intel’s Thunderbolt staff at CES in January of 2015 who informed me of the advances they had made in the networking aspects of the technology.

    We purchased the items and equipment for the setup in March of 2015.

    Intel published a proof of concept in May of 2015 after the NAB show.
    https://thunderbolttechnology.net/blog/4k-displays-networking-and-nas-top-nab-2015-thunderbolt™-trends

    Our goal was to have up to five computers in a row using the same media serving RAID drive with a total bandwidth requirement of about 1,200 MB/sec with each individual computer requiring about 240 MB/sec of data simultaneously. The performance numbers are much higher if less computers are connected to each networked RAID drive.

    We finished a video detailing the setup in December of 2015 and shared it just with industry experts at various companies such as Apple and Intel. I spoke with the Intel Thunderbolt staff a few weeks later in January of 2016 at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas and was able to discuss the video we had developed detailing our setup and test findings. They loved it and gave me some extra ideas on refinements as well as letting me know they would put me in contact with the staff at Corning. I ran into the Corning staff a few weeks later at the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) convention in Anaheim. That’s where we were able to work out additional details on the project and gain enough information to plan out the final video shoot depicting the entire setup.

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