Vendor View: Peerless-AV: The Challenges of Wireless Multi-Zone Audio Integration
Homeowners looking to integrate the latest entertainment technology into their home—without sacrificing the clean look or design of their house—are increasingly turning to AV integrators to provide a solution. Often limited by entertainment systems' wiring and how it must be integrated, wire concealment has become a fine art among pros.
Multi-room, multi-device installations are particularly tricky. Traditional cable runs are often impossible, as sealed walls cannot be opened up to distribute sound across the varying locations. That said, it should come as no surprise that the demand for solutions that eliminate the hassle of running wire is surging.
Going wireless is the obvious choice. And, given wireless audio's consistent category growth, the industry is seemingly embracing it. But for custom integrators, going wireless has historically presented a multitude of challenges. Robust wireless signals are often lacking and wireless is intrinsically not as reliable as copper wire in residential audio installations, especially when going across multiple zones.
Finding the Right Wireless Solution
While not a typical solution in the professional integration space, Bluetooth could be used in some cases. However, as it is a relatively low power solution, Bluetooth is best used only in short-distance or single-room applications.
Spread Spectrum techniques create a much more robust link and are used to deliberately spread the frequency domain of a signal from its narrow band domain.
With increasing resistance to natural interference and jamming, spread spectrum solutions are a popular option among wireless systems.
Advanced systems also use Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) techniques. This allows sharing of a frequency band with many types of conventional transmissions with minimal interference (i.e. Wireless Phone, Wireless, etc.). Frequency hopping patterns are determined once the TX and the RX link up, and can include up to the 79 Channels available within the spectrum.