Planning the network of a small radio broadcast station

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New Member
Jan 7, 2023
Dear all,

I have been following the STH Youtube channel for some time, but this is my first post in the Forum. I am currently planning the renovation of the network infrastructure of a local non-profit radio station in Portugal and, since I’m just a student and hobbyist, it would be very helpful to hear the suggestions and insights of many of you who are much more experienced than I am. I don't know if this is the place and time to write such a post, but I'm giving it a shot.


I am a student and hobbyist who has been managing, for the past few years, the IT infrastructure and cloud services of a local non-profit broadcast station. Our networking infrastructure is badly designed and it has been growing without any solid plan for the past few years. I would like to perform a overall renovation to improve reliability, allow for greater speeds (10Gb connectivity in some links), and allow for future expansion and implementation of a stable Audio over IP (e.g. AES67/Dante) infrastructure.

There are three primary locations with networked devices:
  • The first is a small room with the most critical devices, such as the studios computers (2 to 3), NAS devices (1 currently, probably 2 to 3 in the future), servers (2 towers), and a few other miscellaneous devices (as well as various audio/broadcast equipment). Most of these equipments are now quite old, large, and are scattered around the room, resulting in a lot of heat and a large footprint used. The idea is to gradually migrate to small computers (e.g. NUCs) and rack mounted devices, and mount them in a single rack (not the same as the networking rack). Here, some 10Gb links and redundant connections (to different access switches) for the server would be interesting.
  • The second is a news gathering room (and an adjacent office) that has multiple computer (6 to 8), printers, and other office equipment. These are all non-critical devices and single Gbe connections are enough.
  • The third is an area including a control room, a production studio and a sound booth. Currently there are only 2 workstations here, but in the future is probable that there will be more computers as well as various Dante/AoIP devices (some with redundant Gbe interfaces and others with a single PoE Gbe connection).
Currently, we have a old Cisco small business 50 port switch in the small room (also used for the control room and production studio), and a 24 port Mikrotik in the news gathering room, both connected with Gbe links to the main router, a Cisco RV340.

My plan:

The main requirements of the renovation would be to allow for greater speeds between clients (e.g. improved concurrent access to the NAS), improve reliability, and to add new dedicated switches for AoIP. My idea was to use a 3-layer architecture, using two redundant 10Gb distribution switches and access layer switches as needed, if possible with 10Gb up-links. The ports in the studios for both internet and AoIP would come from the main network rack. Since the control room/production studio are a couple tenths of metres away from the main network rack, I thought it would be easier to include a small network rack in these rooms for both AoIP and internet access.
We are somewhat familiar with Mikrotik devices, and since the pricing is very competitive, I am designing the network around their catalog, namely:


All the up-links to the distribution switches would be done with DAC SFP+ cables (<=5m), with the exception of the news gathering room and the control room where we would have to use optical cables. The idea is to have redundant switches for the main rack and the AoIP system. All the stand-alone, critical AoIP devices would be connected to the AoIP switches, though the computers in the rack would probably just be connected to the AoIP VLAN through the server rack access switches. In the budget option for the server rack access switches, the SFP+ switch would allow for some non redundant 10Gbps connectivity. For the control room, the two small switches, one with PoE and one without, would allow to connect both computers and AoIP devices (the ones with redundant connections would connect to both switches, and the more simple ones, powered with PoE, would be connected to the PoE switch). It would be interesting in the future to have 10Gb connections for the control room and production studio workstations (or other devices), but this isn’t a priority right now and probably we could run some optical cables now for adding a 10Gb switch in the future.
I believe the router we have is sufficient for now, but in the future we might think about upgrading to a more powerful one, perhaps a Mikrotik or a Netgate appliance. We also need to buy new APs, perhaps some Aruba small business or Ubiquiti ones.

  • Do you think this is a good architecture? Apart from specific models or brands, would you recommend another topology? Am I over-engineering this network?
  • Do you have any other brand/model recommendations? The small business Aruba and Cisco lines also seem interesting, but usually at a higher cost. Ubiquiti has some interesting devices as well, though they never seemed as capable as the Mikrotik ones (albeit probably more user friendly).
  • And probably most importantly: Do any of you know if these companies provide any discount or if they offer some devices to non-profit institutions like ours? Despite none of us being paid, our station doesn’t have a commercial focus and, as such, our funds are quite restricted. Every year we provide some extensive radio broadcast courses and there are various technicians working in various media outlets that started their career with one of our courses; I think it is extremely important that we renovate this infrastructure not only so that we have best stability and reliability for our systems, but also so that we can teach with current generation equipment and technologies.

My apologies for such a long post. Thank you in advance for any help.