Gurnee, IL—June 2018… Headquartered halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee, Sardis Events specializes in corporate conferences, shareholder meetings, sales meetings, customer events, and so on. The firm offers a variety of design and technical services that typically require coordination between multiple vendors, along with support for live events that can include AV systems, lighting, staging, and sets. Supplied from its 20,000-square-foot warehouse, Sardis Events (www.sardisevents.com) employs state-of-the-art technology, including advanced networking, to provide premium event support to its many prestigious clients. To that end, the Illinois firm relies on Luminex GigaCore-series AV Ethernet switches and single-mode fiber transceivers.
“The first time we used Luminex equipment was in January in Atlanta for Extraordinary Events (www.extraordinaryevents.com),” recalls Sardis Technical Director Nate Aguilar. “They had a huge party for Mary Kay, the cosmetic company, with 2,000 people, a jam band, and keynote speakers. We set up a Dante audio network with 30 channels of audio in and 12 channels out, plus a lighting system and a video system, remote routing panels, and monitors. This was a typical project for us, with a closed system inside a big ballroom. We can’t afford to have a network failure, so instead of relying on one fiber cable, as with most systems, we used Luminex GigaCore 16Xt Ethernet switches and Luminex GigaCore SMF transceivers to set up a full redundant circle network, using two fiber cables. If one cable gets cut, we still have the other one. Anything that involved data went through the Luminex.”
Having redundant cabling takes care of one major concern during a live event but Aguilar and the Sardis team didn’t stop there. “We also went with GigaCore RPSU redundant backup power supplies, so we’re covered if power were to go down on any string of the network,” Aguilar explains. “Luminex GigaCore gives us a complete solution.” For good measure, the Sardis team put battery backup on both sides of the system.
Aguilar first saw references to Luminex in magazine articles and in photos posted online by a Luminex customer. “I did some digging and found out that Luminex was one of the first to design Ethernet switches specifically for the AV industry,” he relates. “They understand the AV rental and staging market and design their products with ease of use in mind for the engineers. The Luminex people know the language of AV. I don’t have to talk to a Cisco guy who has no idea what to tell me about AV. Also, with another brand, I wouldn’t be confident I could do the project with one system; I would have to set up multiple networks. Luminex simplified the VLAN setup so that I can easily do everything with one system with built-in redundance. I don’t have to buy all that extra gear.”
For the Sardis Events team, time on site and reliability are always major considerations. “Rick Hunt, one of Sardis’ owners, always tells me, ‘You should be able to plug in and it works; you shouldn’t have to reprogram it. We have less time than money when we’re on-site, so if you can get a system up and running in a fraction of the time, go with the better equipment,’” Aguilar recounts. “With Luminex, you can control everything from one interface, which is great, and programming the equipment is super easy. If you set it up for Dante, it stays programmed for Dante every time you power down and back up. I don’t have to reprogram it, I don’t have to recall a scene or file; it stays the way I programmed it. And we’ve had zero problems with our Luminex equipment. It helps me make buying decisions to have confidence that when I plug it in, it always works.”
Sardis Events initially purchased four GigaCore 16Xt Ethernet switches, four GigaCore RPSU redundant power supplies, and eight GigaCore SMF transceivers. “The equipment we bought completed one system for us,” notes Aguilar. “We call it the ‘front-of-house drive package.’ It’s worked so well, we are planning to buy a duplicate system, and we also may buy Luminex equipment for installations or other projects. Thanks to Luminex GigaCore switches and transceivers, we can get our front-of-house lines down from a bunch of cables, limited in length, to two or three fibers that can go 500 feet, 1,000 feet, or however far we need it to go. For us, Luminex was the right choice.”