Case Study

Staying On Air: Positive Life Radio’s Network Evolution with MikroTik

Discover how MikroTik's products improve broadcast efficiently with network upgrades at a radio station in the Pacific Northwest.


Featured Vendor: MikroTik

MikroTik is a manufacturer of advanced networking equipment, including routers, switches, and wireless systems suitable for a range of settings from home to ISP networks. Their products feature 100 Gigabit networking, Gen6 AX Wireless, and powerful CPUs. They also offer RouterOS, an intuitive operating system for their devices, equipped with features for ISPs like routing, firewall, and VPN.

MikroTik-Success-Story

The Story

In the Pacific Northwest, Positive Life Radio (PLR) has established itself as a cornerstone of Christian broadcasting.

Since its founding on the campus of Walla Walla University in 1963, the radio station has undergone significant changes and expansion. It now operates over 20 tower sites, reaching listeners from the Pacific Ocean to the Rocky Mountains. This includes coverage in key areas such as Portland, OR, Yakima, WA, and the main studios in Walla Walla, WA, covering nearly everywhere in between. PLR serves its dedicated audience with informative and enriching radio programming. As an integral part of the communities it serves, PLR is committed to providing dependable and consistent broadcasting.

Confronted by the challenges of an evolving digital landscape, PLR recognized the limitations of their aging satellite infrastructure. The capital requirements of maintaining a satellite uplink facility, the high monthly fees for satellite spectrum and the suboptimal audio quality emphasized the pressing need for a technological revamp. In 2013, Walter R. Cox, PLR’s lead network engineer, was charged with bringing their systems up to date, in line with audience expectations.

Finding the Right Solution

After thorough research and guided by recommendations from industry professionals and user endorsements, PLR chose MikroTik’s RouterBoard line and RouterOS for their networking needs. Recognized for its reliability and cost-effectiveness, the RouterBoard line, coupled with the flexibility of RouterOS, was identified as the ideal solution to meet the diverse requirements of PLR.

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Part of this strategic decision included collaborating with local ISPs to transition from expensive satellite connections to wireless internet connections, a move that promised more cost-efficient and stable system operations. Cox emphasized, “Integrating MikroTik into our operations was a key decision. It has enabled us to deliver the high-quality content our listeners expect and deserve.”

Transition to a More Efficient System

mikrotik-plr-success5This strategic shift to MikroTik solutions and wireless internet significantly improved audio quality and reduced operating costs, marking the start of a new era in PLR’s broadcasting efficiency. “The transition was notably enhanced by RouterOS’s capabilities in streamlining remote site management,” Cox explained. “Its adaptability and control have been crucial. It allows precise management of network configurations, reducing the need for physical site visits, and has simplified our workflow while improving our response times to network issues.”

This implementation of RouterOS was instrumental in moving PLR towards a more efficient and responsive network system, perfectly aligning with the station’s mission of uninterrupted, high-quality broadcasting.

Long-Term Investment and Reliability

Over the years following their initial investment, PLR has continued to invest in MikroTik routers, bringing additional sites online and adding redundant hardware where appropriate. Proactive maintenance has ensured operational functionality through regular firmware updates.

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These routers continue to support high-quality program delivery, augmented by MikroTik’s technology’s compatibility with Zabbix, an open-source monitoring platform. Cox elaborated on this integration: ‘Using Zabbix with our MikroTik setup has been a game-changer. It easily brings visibility of our network, giving us instant alerts about changes or issues, like if a tunnel goes down. This ability to monitor everything from link status to equipment temperature in real-time means we are always ahead of potential problems, ensuring exceptionally reliable performance for our broadcasts.’ This proactive management approach, facilitated by the synergy between MikroTik and Zabbix, significantly reduces the need for frequent on-site maintenance, contributing to the network’s impressive uptime.”

Investing in the Future

PLR’s story demonstrates the significance of investing in a well-managed network built to last. Their sustained use of MikroTik products is a testament to the brand’s ability to meet the evolving needs of the radio industry. By prioritizing quality, efficiency, and adaptability, PLR has ensured a stable platform for delivering their message of faith and connecting with their audience for years to come.

About Positive Life Radio

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  • Located in the Pacific Northwest, USA.
  • Over 20 broadcast towers.
  • www.plr.org
  • Founded in 1963 on the campus of Walla Walla University.
  • Christian broadcasting, serving a dedicated audience with informative and enriching radio programming.

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