Video: Using AMWA IS-06 for Flow Control on Professional Media Networks

In IP networks multicast flow subscription is usually based on a combination of IGMP (Internet Group Management Protocol) and PIM (Protocol Independent Multicast) protocols. While PIM allows for very efficient delivery of IP multicast data, it doesn’t provide bandwidth control or device authorisation.

To solve these issues on SMPTE ST 2110 professional media networks the NMOS IS-06 specification has been developed. It relies on a Software-Defined Networking, where traffic management application embedded in each single switch or router is replaced by a centralised Network Controller. This controller manages and monitors the whole network environment, making it bandwidth aware.

NMOS IS-06 specification provides a vendor agnostic Northbound interface from Network Controller to Broadcast Controller. IS-06 in conjunction with IS-04 (Discovery and Registration) and IS-05 (NMOS Device Connection Management) allows Broadcast Controller to automatically set up media flows between endpoints on the network, reserve bandwidth for flows and enforce network security. Broadcast Controller is also able to request network topology information from Network Controller, which can be used to create a user friendly graphic representation of the flows in the network.

In this presentation Rob Porter from Sony Europe explains the basics of NMOS IS-06, showing in details how setting up media flows with this specification fits into the IS-04 / IS-05 workflow. Rob emphasise that all AMWA NMOS specifications are completely open and available to anyone, allowing for interoperability between broadcast and network devices from different manufacturers.

The next speaker, Sachin Vishwarupe from Cisco Systems, focuses on the future works on IS-06, including provisioning feedback (such as insufficient bandwidth, no route available from sender to receiver or no management connectivity), flow statistics, security and grouping (similar to ”salvo” in SDI world).

There is also a discussion on extension of IS-06 specification for Network Address Translation (NAT), which would help to resolve problems caused by address conflicts e.g. when sharing resources between facilities.

You can find the slides here.

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Rob Porter Rob Porter
Project Manager – Advanced Technology Team
Sony Europe
Sachin Vishwarupe
Principal Engineer
Cisco Systems

Video: The Good and the Ugly – IP Studio Production Case Study

What’s implementing SMPTE ST-2110 like in real life? How would you design your network and what were the problems? In this case study Ammar Latif from Cisco Systems presents the architecture, best practices and lessons learned they gleaned in this live IP broadcast production facility project designed for a major US broadcaster. Based on SMPTE ST-2110 standard, it spanned five studios and two control rooms. The central part of this project was a dual Spine-Leaf IP fabric with bandwidth equivalent of a 10,000 x 10,000 HD SDI router with a fully non-blocking multicast architecture. The routing system was based on Grass Valley Convergent broadcast controller and a Cisco DCNM media controller.

As the project was commissioned in 2018, the AMWA IS-04 and IS-05 specifications providing an inter-operable mechanism for routing media around SMPTE 2110 network were not yet available. Multicast flow subscription was based on a combination of IGMP (Internet Group Management Protocol) and PIM (Protocol Independent Multicast) protocols. While PIM is very efficient and mature, it lacks the ability to use bandwidth as a parameter when setting up a flow path. Ammar explains how Non-Blocking Multicast (NBM) developed by Cisco brings bandwidth awareness to PIM by signalling a type of data (video, audio or metadata).

The talk continues by discussing PTP distribution & monitoring, SMPTE 2022-7 seamless protection switching and remote site production. Ammar also lets us see how the user interfaces on the Cisco DCNM media controller were designed which include a visualisation of multicast flow, network topology and link saturation of ports.

You can find the slides here.

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Ammar Latif
Principal Architect,
Cisco Systems

Video: Adaptive Bit Rate video delivery (MPEG-DASH)

MPEG-DASH has been in increasing use for many years and while the implementations and versions continue to improve and add new features, the core of its function remains the same and is the topic of this talk.

For anyone looking for an introduction to multi-bitrate streaming, this talk from Thomas Kernen is a great start as he charts the way streaming has progressed from the initial ‘HTTP progressive download’ to dynamic streaming which adapts to your bandwidth constraints.

Thomas explains the way that players and servers talk and deliver files and summarises the end-to-end distribution ecosystem. He covers the fact that MPEG DASH standardises the container description information, captioning and other aspects. DRM is available through the common encryption scheme.

MPD files, the manifest text files, which are the core of MPEG-DASH are next under the spotlight. Thomas talks us through the difference between Media Presentations, Periods, Representations and Segment Info. We then look at the ability to use the ISO BMFF format or MPEG-2 TS like HLS.

The DASH Industry Forum, DASH-IF, is an organisation which promotes the use of DASH within businesses which means that not only do they do work in spreading the word of what DASH is and how it can be helpful, but they also support interoperability. DASH264 is also the output from the DASH-IF and Thomas describes how this specification of using DASH helps with interoperability.

Buffer bloat is still an issue today which is a phenomenon where for certain types of traffic, the buffers upstream and locally in someone’s network can become perpetually full resulting in increased latency in a stream and potentially instability. Thomas looks briefly at this before moving on to HEVC.

At the time of this talk, HEVC was still new and much has happened to it since. This part of the talk gives a good introduction to the reasons that HEVC was brought into being and serves as an interesting comparison for the reasons that VVC, AV1, EVC and other codecs today are needed.

For the latest on DASH, check out the videos in the list of related posts below.

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Thomas Kernen Thomas Kernen
Staff Software Architect, Mellanox
Co-Chair SMPTE 32M Technology Committee, SMPTE
Formerly Technical Leader, Cisco,

Video: AV1 in video collaboration

AV1 is famous for its promise to deliver better compression than HEVC but also for it being far from real-time. This talk has a demonstration of the world’s first real-time AV1 video call showing that speed improvement are on the way and, indeed, some have arrived.

Encoding is split into ‘tools’ so where you might hear of ‘h.264’ or ‘MPEG 2’, these are names for a whole set of different ways of looking at – and squeezing down – a picture. They also encompass the rules of how they should act together to form a cohesive encoding mechanism. (To an extent, such codecs tend to define only how the decode should happen, leaving encoding open to innovation.) AV1 contains many tools, many of which are complex and so require a lot of time even from today’s fast computers.

Cisco’s Thomas Davies, who created the BBC’s Dirac codec which is now standardised under SMPTE’s VC-2 standard, points out that whilst these tools are complex, AV1 also has a lot of them and this diversity of choice is actually a benefit for speed and in particular for the speed of software codecs.

After demonstrating the latency and bandwidth benefits of their live, bi-directional, AV1 implementation against AVC, Thomas looks at the deployment possibilities and of AV1. The talk finishes with a summary of what AV1 brings in benefits to sum up why this new effort, with the Alliance of Open Media, is worth it.

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Thomas Davies Thomas Davies
Principal Engineer,
Cisco Media Engineering, UK