Getting Started
Portal Video Tutorial - Getting Started [View]

Welcome to SharpStream! We're so glad you're here.


To get started with Portal you need to create an account for each team member you wish to have access to your audio stations and streams. This video will show you everything you need to know! 





Navigating through Portal
Portal Video Tutorial - Home Page / Dashboard [View]

Portal's dashboard is a glanceable hub for all of the activity occurring on your streams.


This video will guide you through the dashboard and all the features and functions that it yields.



Portal Video Tutorial - Branches [View]

Branches allow you to group your stations and view aggregate statistics across them. You can also add members, supervisors and admins to these branches separately to your station permissions.


In this tutorial you will learn how to set up branches in your Portal account.



Station Page [View]

In this video we will be looking at how to navigate our way around your Station Page. We will look at how to manage notifications and how to set an email to receive these instant notifications. We will introduce how to view your historical connections and run a single page report of your historical stats and of your reported incidents.





Generating a Single Page Report [View]

This page will remind you how to generate a Single Page Report of your selected date range.


Head to your station page and click on the 'Report' tab. Set the date range by filling in the date boxes and click the search button under 'Run A Historical Report'. If you don't see this button, please contact us.




This will generate a detailed report of your listener statistics over the specified period.




Reach MapThe shaded areas of the reach map indicate regions that have logged at least 1 active session. Hover your cursor over these regions for more detail.
Stream BreakdownThis section will show your listenership broken down into your stations' constituent streams.
Day BreakdownThis section will show your station's total listenership by day for the period selected. The Day breakdown only shows a maximum of 14 days in one single report. If the timeframe of the report you have run is longer than 14 days, the Day Breakdown will be truncated to show the last 14 days of the period selected.
Hour BreakdownThis section pulls session data from your daily listenership and shows sessions by hour for the period selected. This gives you insight into your most popular listening times over the given period. The Hour Breakdown can only pull data from a maximum of 14 days in one single report. If the timeframe of the report you have run is longer than 14 days, the Hour Breakdown will only use session data from the last 14 days of the period selected.
Country Breakdown
This section will show your total listenership's session data broken down by country.
Platform BreakdownThis section will show your total listenership's session data broken down by Platform. In this context, Platform refers to the client that is used by the listener to access the stream
Device BreakdownThis section will show your total listenership's session data broken down by Device.

Devices are broader categorisations of Platforms in the previous report. They fall into one of four categories, Mobile, Desktop, Home Entertainment (including smart speakers, hifis and Smart TVs) and, for when no device data is gathered from the session log, Other.



Stream Page [View]

In this video we will be looking at how to access a stream's page. This page will show us how to view realtime and historical connection stats, stream heath, listen links and encoder settings.




Encoder/Metadata Info [View]

Encoder and Metadata info is where you can monitor the real-time connection between your encoder and our ingest server. You can use the Encoder and Metadata info log to diagnose any suspected encoder outages or metadata issues. 


Access the window by clicking "Encoder and Metadata Info" on any a Stream Information page.



Encoder and Metadata info for non-premium audio mounts

When you load up the Encoder and Metadata info log you will see a list of log lines. These indicate either information (INFO) or warnings (WARN). Information could relate to new connections to the stream, metadata changes, or successful encoder connection. Warnings indicate encoder disconnections/instability or timeouts. If your stream is silent but the encoder log is indicating a stable connection, this implies that there is silence going into the encoder.


The logs are ordered so the newest logs appear at the bottom of the front page. Auto-scrolling is enabled by default to always show the newest results. To disable this, click the auto-scrolling checkbox in the bottom right corner.  To search through older logs, click through the pages indicated at the bottom of the window. 



Below are examples of some of the typical messages you might see:


Listener Count change:

[2019-10-15  07:30:00] INFO source/source_read listener count on /sharpstreamradio.mp3 now 4

Metadata change:

[2019-10-15  07:30:00] INFO admin/command_metadata Metadata song on /sharpstreamradio.mp3 set to "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"

Disconnection:

[2019-10-15  07:30:00] WARN source/source_read Nothing received on /sharpstreamradio.mp3 for 3 seconds
[2019-10-15  07:30:03] WARN fserve/fserve_client_create req for file "/usr/local/share/icecast/web/sharpstreamradio.mp3" No such file or directory

Encoder and Metadata info for premium mounts

If you have a premium stream with us, you will see the following logs. This is for diagnosing encoder connections to the premium feed if the stream is not delivering the content you expect as well as ensuring that metadata updates from your encoder are delivered. 


You will see updates in this feed should the source stream go silent or disconnect - indicating that the fallback feed has kicked in on the public stream. The updates indicating switches to/from the fallback will be as follows:


********** MOUNTNAME has been detected as encoder-silence ***********
********** MOUNTNAME has been detected as encoder-audible ***********
********** MOUNTNAME has been detected as disconnected ***********
**********MOUNTNAME has been detected as connected ***********

Playout tab for Premium Mounts, sections in this image are redacted for security.


Filtering

You can filter logs alphanumerically in the search bar in the top right corner. This is handy for searching specific metadata changes, focussing in on warning logs and searching for specific times.


Export

You can export the logs as a .log file (which can be read in any text editor) for your records. The export will display the logs as they appear on the page you are on.


Detailed View

The encoder/metadata log filters out certain lines by default to aid faster page loading and quicker troubleshooting. If you wish to see all of the logs, click on the “Detailed” checkbox. (detailed mode may cause slow loading and reduce the number of backdated logs that are returned).


To close the encoder/metadata window, simply click the red close button in the bottom right corner of the window.


Troubleshooting
How to listen to your feeds. [View]

All of our streams here at SharpStream are load-balanced for increased stability and reliability. This, in a nutshell, means that you when you send your stream, it is sent to a mount on one of our "ingest" servers (we refer to this as an ingress feed). This is then distributed via multiple identical servers called "edges". Each of your listeners is sent to one of these edges to hear your live content.


To check that you are successfully sending a feed to our ingest server, follow these steps. 


1. Navigate to the applicable Station. 

2. Select the Stream that you would like to check. 

3. Navigate to the Stream Information panel on the right hand side of the stream's page. 

4. Scroll down to the Live Listen section of the panel.

5. Click on the red box labelled Ingress.

6. If you can hear audio*, you're good to go! If not, check your encoder is connected and that the settings are correct.

7. If your ingress is audible but the edge is not, please contact support@sharp-stream.com





*For Premium users: ensure the audio you hear matches up with what you are intending to broadcast. As you may have a fallback loop which plays when you are off air.


Why am I not receiving notification emails? [View]

1. Navigate to your Station Page.


2. Find the "Notifiables" section of the Station Page. 


3. Check you have set the correct email or add an email address to your list.


4. If email is correct, ensure you have checked your spam folder and allowed incoming mail from alarms@sharp-stream.com.







FAQs
How can I change User Permissions in Portal? [View]

If you are an ‘admin’ or 'supervisor' for your station’s Portal you have the ability to edit other users’ ranks and their permissions (up to your own ranking). 


On your Station Page, navigate to 'users' and edit each user's rank using the dropdown listed in the 'actions' column.


 

Member

Supervisor

Admin

User can see connection stats

User can see connection stats

User can see connection stats

User can see individual mount information

User can see individual mount information

User can see individual mount information

User can export incidents

User can export incidents

User can export incidents

User can add a notifiable for this station

User can add a notifiable for this station

User can add a notifiable for this station


User can acknowledge an incident

User can acknowledge an incident


User can attach members to this station up to its role

User can attach members to this station up to its role


User can remove an incident

User can remove an incident


User can add streams to this station

User can add streams to this station


User can export reports from this station

User can export reports from this station



User can delete this station and or any of its streams



How can I add a new user? [View]

If you are an Account Admin for your organisation. You can create new members yourself. simply click your name in the top right corner of any page in Portal, select "my profile" to access your profile information and under the "Manage Users" tab select "Add User". When you create a new user, a confirmation link will be sent to their email where they can set a password for their new Portal account.  

Alternatively if the person has already created an account (For more information on how to do that, click here.) you can add them as a user directly on your station page(s).

Navigate to “Users” on your station page and click the green “+” button. From here, type in the email that your new user used to register and determine their user level (See User Permissions). Your new user is now all set up to use Portal for your station!


Historical figures are different from a previous report that I ran? [View]

Our statistics register a successful connection once the user disconnects, that way we can collect all the relevant information on how long the connection was. For scenarios where a connection has been continuing for an extended period (for example your stream being played in a hotel lobby or played in the background in an office on a smart speaker) this could mean that the disconnection happens after your logs update for the day. 

If you were to run another report the next day (when the database has rebuilt), the figures would retroactively reflect this connection as a listener for the previous day (or whenever the connection began).


If you would like to place filters on your statistics to rule out long connections and get a better idea of your individual listeners, don’t hesitate to contact us.



Why are recent figures not appearing on the historical reports that I run? [View]

Log databases are rebuilt every 24 hours during automated overnight scheduled updates. Due to the amount of information that must be processed however, the time taken for logs to reach the database can sometimes fall out of sync with the scheduled rebuild. For this reason, statistics for the day preceding a report being run can initially show anomalous statistics.  



Some dates I requested are missing from historical reports? [View]

So your reports are as clear and presentable as can be, There is a limit to how many days’ statistics can appear on historical reports. We recommend running historical reports with ranges under 100 days to ensure all the data is visible.



My Ingest Watch is saying that my stream is silent/unstable? [View]

Silence and instability can be reported for a number of reasons.

  1. You are not sending any audio from your encoder
  2. There is an issue with your playout system.
  3. You have an internet outage that is preventing your encoder from connecting to our ingest servers.
  4. You are having frequent connectivity issues that trigger an unstable warning.


To monitor your ingress/ingest, navigate to the affected mount under “mounts”. This will bring up information relating to your mount. At the bottom of the box it gives you two options of audibly monitoring your stream, labelled “Ingress” and “Edges”. The ingress allows you to monitor the audio that our ingest server is receiving from your encoder, the edges allow you to monitor what your listeners are receiving from our edge servers.



How can I setup or edit my stream notifications? [View]

Notifiables can allow your team to receive notifications via SMS, Email, Microsoft Teams or Slack if there are any incidents reported by our ingest servers relating to your contribution feeds.


To set them up, head to “Notifiables” on your station page and click the "+" button. 


A window will appear showing you the available configurable options for your notifiable. You can configure the options as follows:


Notifier Name (Must Be Set)Choose a name for this notifiable (so users can easily identify who each notification is for)
Notification Type (Must Be Set)Choose the means you wish to receive the notification.

Email: once selected, add a valid email address in the box below. (This can be any email regardless if they are a portal user or not)
SMS: once selected, add a valid mobile in the box below with country code (e.g +44 for UK)
Slack: Set notifications to appear in a Slack channel via a webhook.
MS Teams: Set notifications to appear in a Microsoft Teams channel via a webhook.
Out of HoursSet times in which you do not want to receive any notifications. Click "Set 'Out of Hours' times" and set the out of hours start and end times, between which you will not receive notifications.

If you want 24/7 notifications, select "Always notify me".
Outage Thresholds (Recommended Value: Enabled; 1 min)Here you can set what severity of outage will trigger an alert.

You can set different configurations for silence and an outage. Silence being when your encoder is connected but no audio is being sent and an outage being when your encoder disconnects from the mount entirely.

Click "I want to define conditions" and use the sliders to determine the thresholds you wish to set. These are set in increments of 1 minute (i.e an outage value of 6 means disconnections that are 6 mins or longer will trigger an alert).

If you would rather not configure this click "I want instant notifications"
Escalations (Recommended Value: Enabled; 15 min)If escalations are set, you will receive a follow-up alert for an unacknowledged or unresolved incident minutes after the initial alert.

Use the slider to determine this value.

Click "Disabled" if you do not wish to receive escalation alerts
Instability Notifications (Recommended Value: Enabled)If your encoder disconnects more than twice in a 10 min period, it will be flagged as "unstable" for at least ten mins after the last disconnection.

Here you can choose whether to enable or disable notification alerts when these incidents are triggered.
Consent (Mandatory)Ensure you (and the notifiable recipient if you are setting this up on someone's behalf) have read and agree to our GDPR Policy and click the checkbox to consent.

This box must be ticked in order for your settings to be saved





When you have saved your notifiable you will see it in the notifiables list. You can edit a notifiable at any time by clicking "edit" or delete it by clicking the red bin icon (if you have the correct user privileges).


You can set as many notifiable instances as you need.









How do I share my stream with listeners? [View]

When you set up a stream with SharpStream you will receive a customised listen link which will look something like the following:

listen-yourstation.sharp-stream.com/yourmount.mp3

Navigating to this address leads you to a simple audio player page (appearance differs depending on which browser you are using).



If you have disconnected from your mount then you will see the following message. 

This is your direct streaming link, use this link when setting up your station on third party radio players such as TuneIn or RadioPlayer.

Alternatively you could directly embed this on your webpage. If you would like a more aesthetically pleasing embed player, try using our own! You can find this for your stream on your mount information page in Portal (1).

DO NOT share your mountpoint link (2) or links to any specific edge servers, this can pose a risk to your mountpoint's security and stability. If you are unsure about any of the stream links you are sharing to your listeners, speak to a member of our customer support team who will be happy to advise. 



Which streaming link should I use for my website/TuneIn/etc.? [View]

When your stream is connected you'll need a listen link to share your content with your listeners, and perhaps to send to third-party apps and sites such as TuneIn and RadioPlayer.


We recommend using a "listen-" link, which we can customise for your station. This link will look something like the link below (where the sections in red are replaced with your own station/mount information):


https://listen-station_name.sharp-stream.com/station_mount


In light of recent updates to Chrome that prevent mixed content on webpages, it is best practice to use our "listen-" link with https to ensure compatibility with most sites. If you have set up a custom DNS (which doesn't include "sharp-stream.com") you may experience difficulties with mixed ssl certificates, we would strongly advise to revert to a "listen-" link instead.


If you have joined us recently, you will have received this link from the agent that set your account up.


If you are using a listen link that looks different to the one above, or have any questions about the links you are using to stream with, please contact support@sharp-stream.com or raise a new ticket on our support portal. Our agents will be happy to assist.





My stream is reported at Silent/Unstable/Disconnected, what does this mean? [View]

Incidents are flagged automatically when an interruption to the encoder connection or audio signal is detected by our Ingest servers. If an incident fits the thresholds set in your notifiable settings you will recieve a notification to the set destination (either SMS, Email, MS teams or Slack).


Incidents of all duration are logged in Portal and can be viewed on your station page under the Ingest watch module. Historical incidents can be exported under the "Reports" tab in Portal Station pages.


This article explains what each type of notification means and some links to some useful troubleshooting guides to help in each scenario. Ensure you are reading the correct incident definitions for your stream type as the impacts vary between our ingest-audio service and our ingest premium-service.


Ingest Audio Incidents


Disconnected:

A disconnected notification indicates that your encoder connection to the server has terminated. For Ingest Audio streams this will be service affecting and impact your listeners.


    Impact: Live listeners will be disconnected at time of incident and new listeners will be unable to connect to your stream for the duration of the incident.


    Recovery Status: Connected - A connected notification will be triggered when a stable encoder     connection is detected on the server. At this point, listeners will be able to reconnect to the stream



Silence:

A silence alert indicates that no audio has been detected from the active ingest server. Silence alerts only appear in the scenario where the encoder is connected to the stream.


    Impact: As the encoder is still connected , listeners will not be disconnected from the stream. However, as the stream will be inaudible, natural audience dropoff can be expected for the duration of the incident.


    Recovery Status: Audible - an 'Audible' notification will be triggered when an audio signal is detected on the mount by the server following a silence.


Unstable:

An unstable notification indicates that there have been at least 3 disconnections and reconnections  detected in the space of ten minutes. The incident will remain active for a minimum of 30 mins after the last-detected disconnection and only recover if the stream has remained connected without interruption for that duration.


    Impact: Listeners will be disconnected at the point of the disruption. New listeners may struggle to connect to the stream for the duration of the instability. 


    Recovery Status: Stable - A stable notification will be triggered if the stream has remained connected without interruption for at least 30 mins after the last reconnection.


Ingest Premium Incidents


A note on Primary and Backup incidents:

The Premium contribution array allows for two simultaneous to a primary server (afeeds) and a backup server (bfeeds). If a server-side issue affecting the primary server occurs, Listener traffic will bediverted to the backup server. 


Our best-practice tip is to contribute encoder connections to both of these servers if you have the capacity to. Be aware that encoder contribution issues to the primary servers (afeeds) will trigger the automated backup on the mount itself, NOT the traffic diversions  to the backup server as mentioned above. Please treat Primary encoder notifications with this in mind.


If you are unsure on your current configuration setup, feel free to raise a ticket with our support team.

Disconnected:

A disconnected alert indicates that your encoder connection to the premium mount's encoder input has terminated. 


    Impact: If this a Primary incident, Listeners will remain connected hear the backup content being served from your live feed in Timbre for the duration of the incident. 


If this is a Backup incident only, your live stream will not be affected. However, should there be a server-side outage affecting the primary server during the incident, your listeners will be diverted to the backup content from Timbre as opposed to your live encoder feed.


    Recovery Status: Connected - A connected notification will be triggered when a stable encoder     connection is detected on the premium mount. Provided an audible signal is being sent your stream's content will revert to the encoder feed in accordance with your premium stream fallback preferences.



Encoder-Silence:

An Encoder-Silence notification indicates that the mount's encoder input has not detected a signal louder than -40dB from the encoder.


    Impact: If this a Primary incident, Listeners will remain connected hear the backup content being served from your live feed in Timbre for the duration of the incident. 


If this is a Backup incident only, your live stream will not be affected. However, should there be a server-side outage affecting the primary server during the incident, your listeners will be diverted to the backup content from Timbre as opposed to your live encoder feed.


    Recovery Status: An encoder-audible notification will be triggered when a persistant audio signal above -40dB is detected on the premium mount's encoder input. Your stream's content will revert to the encoder feed in accordance with your premium stream fallback preferences.


Silence:

A silence notification indicates that the premium stream has become totally inaudible. In this scenario one of the two above incidents will have occured and the backup feed is silent. This is most likely due to content being missing or unavailable in the Timbre Live Feed or there is a deliberately-placed 'silence file' in the Timbre Live Feed.


    Impact: If this is a primary incident, listeners will not be disconnected from the stream. However, as the stream will be inaudible, natural audience dropoff can be expected for the duration of the incident.


If this is a backup incident, There will be no affect on the live stream. However, should there be a server-side outage affecting the primary server during the incident, your listeners will hear silence.


    Recovery Status: Audible - This notification is triggered when audible signal is detected on the backup. Note - This does not necessarily indicate an encoder feed recovery. Check for an encoder-audible or connected status before confirming your stream has returned to it's expected state.






How can I fix my stream? [View]

If you have recieved an incident notification affecting your live stream or are concerned about your contribution feeds. This article outlines a useful checklist of troubleshooting tests to help diagnose your issue. 


Encoder disconnections/Instability:


Encoder Troubleshooting:

1. Check Encoder instance is active

Ensure there is a continuous data transfer from your encoder to the stream. Most encoders will have some indication of a consistant connection and stream time. If this is not displaying in your live instance then you may need restart the encoder. Tip: most encoders will have an auto-reconnect setting to automatically start the stream in the event of a network outage or a machine restart interrupting the stream. Ensure that this is on to avoid manual intervention. 


2. Check Encoder Stream Settings

If your streaming instance is having difficulties connecting when you attempt to start the instance, it may be because the encoder credentials do not match those of the mount. This could be due to a typo in one of the fields or a credential being added to the wrong field. Ensure the encoder type is set to Icecast, some encoders automatically set the stream type to ShoutCast by default which is incompatible with our ingest servers. Some encoders require a "/" in front of the mount name to successfully connect - try with and without if you're struggling to connect. 


Tip: If you lose the credentials for your stream you can recall them by visiting the stream information page for the mount in Portal.


3. Check for updates

Some encoders may not work correctly if they are running on old versions or outdated operating systems. We recommend scheduling regular update windows for the machines running the encoder and regularly checking for updates from your encoder developer. Windows machines will run automatic updates from time to time by default. we recommend manually scheduling these during low listener hours to avoid interruptions at peak times. 


Tip: You can find your peak/trough listener times by observing the concurrent listener graphing in Portal to help arrange update windows.


4. Check Power supply

A reliable, dedicated power supply for your encoder is highly rcommended. Whether you are using a hardware encoder or a software encoder on a dedicated computer/server, ensure that it is plugged in to a socket with a low surge risk (i.e. keep power intensive appliances such as fans and lamps on seperate circuits where possible) and located in a well ventilated place to avoid overheating. Follow the encoder/server manufacturer's safety guidance to ensure longevity of your encoder performance.


Network troubleshooting:

Network issues are the primary cause for contribution outages. If your stream has been flagged as unstable or you're seeing numerous disconnections occuring, these are most likely related to either the encoder's local network or a packet loss en route to our data centres. While some network issues are unavoidable, here are some checks and best practices we recommend to help you find the cause of any potential issues


1. Check Router

Ensure that your router is being reliably powered and has a stable connection. We recommend where possible to use an wired ethernet connection between your router and encoding machine to ensure the best network stability. If you are experiencing local network issues you may need to enquire with your organisation's network administrator to ensure router connections are available.


2. Firewalling

If you are part of an organisation with a managed network it is likely that some firewalling rules will be in place. These can sometimes prevent connections to external servers. Speak to your network administrator to ensure that the addresses and ports dictated in the encoder credentials are whitelisted on your network. 


3. Check ISP

If you have exhausted the local network troubleshooting checks it is worth checking with your Internet Service Provider if they are experiencing any network issues in your area. Most major service providers will have network status pages to allow for self-checking or hotlines to speak to a representative to investigate potential outages.


Note: Some providers are prone to "network storms" which can affect connections to particular IPs or domains. If you are having issues resolving *sharp-stream.com connections we recommend attempting to connect via a mobile device data connection on another network. You may find that this resolves the addresses as expected implying a network storm on your ISP's side. 



4. Ping/MTR Tests

If you have checked your local network settings and your ISP provider is operating as usual. an MTR 


A traceroute command from your encoding machine will reveal the data hops on the way to our network. This will indicate if there are any "packet losses" en route to our network.


Microsoft Help Guide fot the tracert command:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/topic/how-to-use-tracert-to-troubleshoot-tcp-ip-problems-in-windows-e643d72b-2f4f-cdd6-09a0-fd2989c7ca8e


Stream Silences:

If you have recieved a silence or encoder-silence alert. It is likely that there is something preventing your audio signal reaching the end of the signal flow or there is an issue with your soundcard.


1. Signal flow troubleshooting Tips


  • Check your playout system is successfully routing or playing out the scheduled audio or audio source.
  • With a pair of headphones, try to monitor each step of the signal flow. E.g: Plug directly into the monitor output of the studio desk, then the output of any audio processors, then the monitor output of any external soundcards. This will help you find the stage the silence is being introduced - then you can check the settings of the component any cabling or patchbays to it to pin down the source of the problem  


2. Soundcard troubleshooting Tips

  • if you are using a soundcard/computer setup - check your soundcard is being recognised by your computer and that audio is being picked up. Ensure the audio drivers and soundcard firmware are up-to-date. You may need to restart your computer if the audio is not being picked up. 


3. Encoder Audio Settings

  • Ensure your encoder settings are pointing to the correct soundcard. 
  • Ensure the codec libraries are up to date on your computer.

What do the various statuses on my stream mean? [View]

The latest update of Portal has introduced additional health checks for your stream - but what do they mean?


Audio Feeds



Ingress
This is the ingress your feed is contributing to
Priority
For Audio streams, the only valid Priority is Primary as there is no fall-back protocol configured
Stream Status
This indicates whether a stream is stable (healthy) or unstable, silent or disconnected (unhealthy)
Encoder Status
This indicates whether the encoder is connected or disconnected




Premium Feeds


Ingress
This shows the ingresses your feed is contributing to. A-feeds indicate the default ingress for Premium feeds while B-feeds is the contribution for the backup feed (B-feed contribution is optional)

Priority

Priority indicates which contribution is identified as primary and backup

Stream Status

This indicates whether a stream is stable (healthy) or unstable, silent or disconnected (unhealthy)
Encoder StatusThis indicates whether the encoder is connected or disconnected










What do the terms in the Historical Report mean? [View]

Station Page > Report tab


The Historical Report provides you with a breakdown of your stations' analytical data, including the performance of each stream, your audiences' listening habits and their geographic location, to name a few. But there are a few terms used in the report that could easily confuse. We'll look at each of these below. 


Please note that not all metrics are available for each section.


Terms Explained


Active Sessions

Active Sessions have a 60-second filter applied in an attempt to provide insight into valid and engaged listeners. This is especially important for customers who monetise their online audience as this is the metric advertisers are interested in and rate 'valid audience' at. 


Sessions Started 

Sessions Started have a 1-second filter applied to minimise the data-skewing effects of snooper bots or traffic manipulation. This means that a listener has to remain connected to the stream for at least 1 second before they will be counted as a valid session start.


Total Listening Hours

Total Listening Hours is the total time listeners remained connected and is based on sessions of at least 60 seconds in duration (Active Sessions).


Bounce Rate

The Bounce Rate refers to the percentage of listeners not converted from Session Started to Active Sessions. Said more plainly, the Bounce Rate represents listeners who listened for less than 60 seconds but more than 1 second. A high Bounce Rate can be due to a number of causes, some of them listed below:

  • Listener interest;
  • Website accessibility and reliability;
  • A listener's internet connectivity and stability;
  • Stream availability, etc. 


What percentage Bounce Rate is considered to be a 'good' Bounce Rate is subjective to the person viewing the data. There are certain scenarios where a high Bounce Rate might be expected and others where it is not. 

Simple actions you can take to reduce your Bounce Rate percentage include:

  • Reviewing the most popular platforms used by your listeners to access your stream to ensure the listener experience is smooth and without unexpected errors; and
  • Ensuring you are using the correct load-balanced listen-links provided by the Support Team to distribute your stream.


Session Peak

Session Peak refers to the maximum number of listeners connected at the same time. When reviewing this data over a longer time period, for example, a week, the Session Peak will refer to a single Session Peak observed over that week. No filters are applied to Session Peaks. 


Average Listening Time

Average Listening Time is the total time listeners remained connected based on the Total Listening Hours and the number of Active Sessions observed. 


Unique Users

Unique Users refers to listeners accessing the stream from a unique IP address. Generally speaking, people in the same office block or household use the same IP address as they are on the same network and will count as a single Unique User. Listeners who are travelling between networks will see their IP address change as they move through a city, for example, and each new IP address will register as an additional Unique User. Ip addresses are assigned by Internet Service Providers and SharpStream has no control over this assignation. 


How to test my stream is working [View]

If you're new to SharpStream's Portal, have added a new mount or would simply like to know with confidence that the stream you're sending is reaching your audience, you can check this easily from Portal. 

Check your stream is connected

First things first, you need to make sure your encoder is connected.


In Portal, head to the Station Page and take a look at the Mounts:

Encoder Status will indicate whether the encoder is connected or disconnected. 


To learn more about what the statuses mean, please have a look at this article.

Listen to the Ingress and Edge Servers

Once you're satisfied that your encoder is connected, select the mount point that you've connected and take a listen to the audio on the Ingress (incoming) and the Edge (outgoing) servers.


To listen to the Ingress, click on the red button labelled Ingress - this will play the audio that is being received from your encoder.


To listen to the Edges, click on the blue button labelled Edges - this will play the audio that is being distributed via the listen link.


Listen to the Listen Link

A final check that you can do is to listen to the link used on all your distribution platforms. You can find the listen link on the Mount Page under Stream Information. 


Copy this link and paste it in your browser (if MP3) or in a player (such as VLC) to listen to the audio. 




Premium Stream Redundancy Options Explained [View]

Redundancy can be as simple or as complex as you require. Stream redundancy is different depending on the type of stream setup in question. In this article, we look at the redundancy options available with a Premium type stream.


Premium Setup

     

With Premium streams, there are 4 layers of redundancy:

  1. Contribution Layer
  2. Configuration Layer
  3. Ingest Server Layer
  4. Edge Server Layer

     

Contribution Layer



Redundancy in the Contribution Layer provides stability in scenarios where:

  • Stream locks up or falls over;
  • Changes to the Configuration layer requires a stream restart;
  • Ingest moves to Secondary Ingest due to upstream providers becoming compromised or hardware becoming compromised.

     

Configuration Layer

     


The Configuration Layer dictates the failover behaviour when contribution to the primary mount (Mount A) is compromised and is replicated on both the Primary and Secondary Ingests. This could be due to:

  • The customer playout system fails and the stream is silent; or

  • The customer encoder fails and is disconnected.

 

Should any of the layers be missing, it will move to the next. 

     

Ingest Server Layer

     

Redundancy in the Ingest Server Layer combats outages that occur with our upstream providers, be that network, datacentre, general internet, or otherwise, and it also combats hardware failure that can happen unexpectedly. The Ingests are located in different sites and are served by different transit providers, and contain identical configurations for all mounts. Should the Primary Ingest be compromised, the Secondary Ingest will serve the contributions to the Edge Servers. 

     

Edge Server Layer

     

Redundancy on the Edge Server Layer spreads the traffic footprint generated by connected audiences and mitigates the impact that maintenance or an outage could have on listeners. In the SharpStream Network, there are 6 edges split across two sites and served by two different transit providers. 

     

The Total Redundancy

     

     

Scenarios


Let’s look at a few scenarios and what the expected impact will be on stream redundancy.


The Setup

     

Station A have the full premium redundancy set up, and this includes:

  1. Contributing from the Primary Site to Mount A on the primary Ingest and the secondary Ingest;

  2. Contributing from the Primary Site to Mount B on the primary Ingest and the secondary Ingest;

  3. Contributing from the Secondary (Disaster Recovery) Site to Mount C on the primary Ingest and the secondary Ingest;

  4. Configured failover processes to include specifications around failure behaviour, silences and recovery behaviour;

  5. Curated playlist for fallback purposes. 

     

In each of the below scenarios, red will indicate the route that has become compromised, green will indicate the active route and purple indicates the routes that are configured and available but not in active use. 

Scenario 1: Customer suffers an outage

When the Customer suffers a power or internet outage, the primary site will be compromised and all ingesting will switch to the secondary (disaster recovery) site. The same impact will be seen if the Customer's encoder becomes disconnected for any other reason, such as a playout system failure. 

Should the Customer’s Secondary Site fail as well, for example, it suffers a power outage, internet outage, playout system failure or encoder failure, the audio source would change to Playlist and no audience disruption will be experienced. Should the Playlist fail, the final mitigation measure is the insertion of silence from the Configuration Layer. 

    

As the Customer recovers from the outage, the audio source will revert back to the primary source, Mount A. 

    

Scenario 2: SharpStream suffers an outage

     

During an Ingest Server outage, the primary ingest with the configuration layer will be compromised and the secondary ingest will take over. 

Once the Primary Ingest recovers, it will take over from the Secondary Ingest seamlessly and no audiences will be affected. 

 


GIFs
Getting Setup, Logging In and Resetting Your Password [View]

This GIF page will remind you of how to create and log in to your Portal account, and what to do in the event that you forget your password.


Signing Up To Portal:


Head to portal.sharp-stream.com and click "Create an Account". Fill in your details and click 'sign up'. Make sure to verify your account via a confirmation email.


If another member of your team has access to your station's Portal account, they can add you as a user via the stations' User Tab.





Logging In and Logging Out:

To Log in, head to portal.sharp-stream.com and put in your email address and password.


To log out, click the log out icon (pictured) in the top right corner of the window.




Resetting Your Password:


If you forget your password, click the blue 'here' under the 'Forgot Your Password?' section of the login page. You will be prompted to enter the email address you used to create your account and you will receive a password reset link via email.



How to View Live Stats [View]

This GIF will remind you on how to view your live stats and manipulate the data. 




___________



Please Note: To view realtime data please see the article titled 'Stream Page'. This page only looks at the historical report of live connections. 


If you would like to just view present connected listeners, then please see the teal/blue "Listeners" box at the top RIGHT of your Dashboard page, and on the top LEFT of your Station page, as shown below:


Dashboard:

Dashboard



Station Page:


Stations & Incidents [View]

This GIF will remind you of how you can manage your stations (showing you how to delete them) and how to view and manage any incidents that may have occurred. 



Incident Notification Settings [View]

This GIF will show you how to configure the settings for your "Notifiables", where you can create alerts to be sent to any email address or phone number that respond to the threshold and out of hours settings.


Notifiables:



Stream Page [View]

This GIF will remind you on how to navigate to and around your "Stream Page", where you can view realtime listener information, connection status, test you streams path (ingress server and public server), find your encoder details - in the event that you need to configure your encoder from scratch and view your player link that you can put up on your website.


Stream Page: