Video: Benefits of IP Systems for Sporting Venues

As you walk around any exhibitions there seems to be a myriad of ‘benefits’ of IP working, many of which don’t resonate for particular use cases. Only the most extraordinary businesses need all of the benefits, so in this talk, Imagine Communication’s John Mailhot discusses how IP helps sports venues.

John sets the scene by separating out the function of OB trucks and the ‘inside production’ facilities which have a whole host of non-TV production to do including driving scoreboards, displays inside the venue, replays and importantly has to deal with over 250 events a year, not all of which will have an OB truck.

We see that the scale that IP can work at is a great benefit as many signals can fit down one fibre and 2022-7 seamless switching can easily provide full redundancy for every fibre and SFP. This is a level of redundancy which is simply not seen in SDI systems. With stadia being very large, necessitating cable runs of over 500m, the fact that IP needs fewer cables overall is a great benefit.

John shows an example of an Arista switch only 7U in height which provides 144x 100G ports meaning it could support over 4000 inputs and 4000 outputs. Such density is unprecedented and for OB trucks can be a dealbreaker. For sports venues, this can also be a big motivator but also allow more flexibility in distributing the solution rather than relying on a massive central interconnect with a 1100×1100 SDI router in a central CTA.

TV is nothing without audio and the benefits to audio in 2110 are non trivial since with the audio being split off from the video, we are no longer limited to dealing with just 16 channels per video and de-embedding from a video frame any time we want to touch it.

Timing is an interesting benefit. I say this because, whilst PTP can end up being quite complex compared to black and burst, it has some big benefits. First off, it can live in the same cables as your data where as black and burst requires a whole separate cable infrastructure. PTP also allows you to timestamp all essences which helps with lip-sync throughout your workflow.

John leads us through some examples of how this works for different areas finishing by summing up the relevant benefits such as scalability, multi-format, space efficient, and timing amongst others.

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Download the slides
Speakers

John Mailhot John Mailhot
CTO, Networking & Infrastructure,
Imagine Communications

Video: How CBC/Radio-Canada Tested Media-over-IP Devices to Build its New Facility

Moving video production to IP has been ongoing for over 5 years using both SMPTE ST 2022-6 and now ST-2110 but we’re still in the ‘Early Adopter’ phase, explains the Willem Vermost speaking at SMPTE 2019. Willem is the EBU topic lead for the transition to IP-based studios and he is tracking the upcoming projects with public broadcasters.

Willem talks about what’s motivating these Early Adopters. In general, he explains, they have a building move project and they are faced, as CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) was, with being the last to install an extensive SDI infrastructure – and be stuck with that for 7, 10 or more years to come – or the to be one of the first to use IP. Increasingly, they can’t justify the SDI workflow and IP, for all its risks and uncertainties, is the way forward.

CBC/Radio Canada needs to be ‘on air’ in 2020 so they put in a place a risk mitigation plan to test all the equipment before putting it in. Willem outlines what this test plan looks like and what it covers: AES67, ST 2110-40,-7, -30-, -20, EBU r148 security etc. Testing was also brought up by the BBC’s Mark Patrick when he discussed his work in bring in the BBC’s Cardiff Square building on-air. They found that automated testing was key in project delivery so that testing was quick and consistent to ensure that software/firmware patches were correctly accepted into the project.

Willem talks us through the EBU’s famous Technology Pyramid which shows to what extent each of the technologies on which media-over-IP requires has been defined and adopted by the industry. It shows that while the media aspect has been successfully deployed, there is a lot to do in, for example, security.

Difficulties arose due to different interpretations of standards. To aid in diagnosis of such issues, the LIST project has created a 2110 analysis tool and other related tools. This is created within the EBU and Willem highlights some key parts of what it does. He then shows how that connects in with the automated test programs and explains the underlying structure of how the software is built.

The talk finishes with mention of the JT-NM test plan, a summary and questions lead by Arista’s Gerard Phillips.

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Speakers

Willem Vermost Willem Vermost
Senior IP Media Technology Architect
Topic Lead, Transition to IP-based Studios
EBU
Gerard Phillips Moderator: Gerard Phillips
Systems Engineer,
Arista

Video: ST 2110 Based OB Production Solution

This case study focuses on NEP UK’s ST 2110 based OB solution (Broadcast Centre and two IP UHD trucks) that was designed to support large sport events. We have already published a few posts related to full IP vans (e.g. Building a Large OB Truck Using SMPTE ST 2110 and ST 2110 – From Theory to Reality), but this design is slightly more innovative.

The most complex part of this solution is Broadcast Centre built for very large premium UHD productions (routing capabilities of 2000×2000 UHD IP feeds, 4 vision mixers). Such large productions take place only a few time a year, so for all the other times the same hardware can be reconfigured into smaller flypacks that can do multiple independent productions at different places around the world. All devices in Broadcast Centre are installed in mobile racks, so you can simply wheel them in and out of different sports venues.

These flypacks can also be used to extend capabilities of IP OB vans – the only limit is the number of ports available on the switches. A truck can be put in any location and connected to multiple IP systems, creating fully scalable and large broadcast system – the kind that you would only previously find in a fixed studio set up.

The case study covers lessons learned from this COTS based system which leverages SMPTE ST 2110, SMPTE 2059, and adaptive FPGA based edge processing. Maurice Snell focuses on advantages of ST 2110 IP design (massive simplification of wiring, use of COTS equipment, audio breakaway possibility, signal agnostic capabilities, flexibility, scalability) and describes the challenges (operators shouldn’t need to know or care if they are routing SDI, IP or a hybrid mixture of the two, importance of unified facility monitoring and configuration and a new approach to fault finding for engineers).

You can download the slides from here.

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Speaker

Maurice Snell
Senior System Consultant
Grass Valley

Video: Red and Blue, or Purple; Your IP Media Network, Your Way


Leaf & spine networks have started taking over data centres in the last few years. It’s no secret that people prefer scale-out over scale-up solutions and you can see a similar approach in ST 2110 networks, when large monolithic video switches are replaced with smaller leaf and spine switches.

Leaf and spine refers to networks where a number of main, high throughput switches link to a number of smaller switches. These smaller switches tend to be aggregators and offer the promise of cheaper ports delivered closer to your equipment. The alternative to leaf & spine is monolithic switches which do have their merits, but are certainly not always the right choice.

To provide non-blocking switching in leaf & spine networks you need an SDN controller that orchestrates media flows. Advances in SDN capabilities have led to the emergence of “Purple” network architectures. In this video Gerard Phillips from Arista shows how it differs from a “Red/Blue” architecture, how path diversity is maintained and how ST 2110 IP live production or playout applications could benefit from it.

It’s important to be aware of the different uses of Layer 2 vs Layer 3:

    • Layer 2 devices are typically used for audio networks like Dante and RAVENNA. A layer 2 network is a simple, scalable and affordable choice for audio flows where there are no challenges in terms of bandwidth. However, this type of network doesn’t really work for high bit rate live production video multicast since all multicasts need to be delivered to the IGMP querier which isn’t scalable.

    • Layer 3 have distributed IGMP management since PIM is used on each router to route multicast traffic, so there is no more flooding network with unnecessary traffic. This type of network works well with high bit rate video multicasts, but as IGMP is not bandwidth aware, it’s best to use an SDN system for flow orchestration.

Gerard then looks at resilience:

  • Using 2022-7 seamless switching (plus a robust monitoring system that can provide quick, accurate information to resolve the issue)
  • Choosing quality components (switches, NOS, fibres etc.)
  • Providing redundancy (redundant PSU, fans, fabric modules etc., redundant links between switches, ensuring that routing protocol or SDN can use these “spares”)
  • Dividing up failure domains
  • Using leaf and spine architecture (routing around failed components with SDN)
  • Using resilient IP protocols (BGP, ECMP)

The talk finishes up discussing the pros and cons of the different architectures available:

  • Monolithic systems which are non-blocking, but have a wide failure domain
  • Monolithic – expansion toward spine and leaf with SDN for non-blocking switching
  • Leaf & spine with air-gapped Red and Blue networks
  • Leaf & spine hybrid with Purple switches connected to both Red and Blue spines to support single homed devices
  • Leaf & spine Purple. Here, red and blue flows are connected to physically separate switches, but the switches are not identified as red and blue anymore. This is a converged network and an SDN controller is required to provide diverse paths flows to go to two different spines.

You can download the slides from here.

Watch now!

Speaker

Gerard Phillips Gerard Phillips
Systems Engineer
Arista Networks