Video: BBC Cardiff Central Square – Update

It’s being closely watched throughout the industry, a long-in-the-making project to deploy SMPTE ST 2110 throughout a fully green-field development. Its failure would be a big setback for the push to a completely network-based broadcast workflow.

The BBC Cardiff Central Square project is nearing completion now and is a great example of the early-adopter approach to bringing cutting-edge, complex, large-scale projects to market. They chose a single principle vendor so that they could work closely in partnership at a time when the market for ST 2110 was very sparse. This gave them leverage over the product roadmap and allowed to the for the tight integration which would be required to bring this project to market.

Nowadays, the market for ST 2110 products continues to mature and whilst it has still quite a way to go, it has also come a long way in the past four years. Companies embarking similar projects now have a better choice of products and some may now feel they can start to pick ‘best of breed’ rather than taking the BBC approach. Whichever approach is taken there is still a lot to be gained by following and learning from the mistakes and successes of others. Fortunately, Mark Patrick, Lead Architect on the project is here to provide an update on the project.

Mark starts by giving and overview of the project, its scale and its aims. He presents the opportunities and challenges it presents and the key achievements and milestones passed to date.

Live IP has benefits and risks. Mark takes some time to explain the benefits of the flexibility and increasingly lower cost of the infrastructure and weighs them agains the the risks which include the continually developing standards and skills challenges

The progress overview names Grass Vally as the main vendor, control via BNCS having being designed and virtualised, ST 2110 network topology deployed and now the final commissioning and acceptance testing is in progress.

The media topology for the system uses an principal of an A and a B network plus a separate control network. It’s fundamentally a leaf and spine network and Mark shows how this links in to both the Grass Valley equipment but also the audio equipment via Dante and AES67. Mark takes some time to discuss the separate networks they’ve deployed for the audio part of the project, driven by compatibility issues but also within the constraints of this project, it was better to separate the networks rather than address the changes necessary to force them together.

PTP timing is discussed with a nod to the fact that PTP design can be difficult and that it can be expensive too. NMOS issues are also actively being worked on and remains an outstanding issue in terms of getting enough vendors to support it, but also having compatible systems once an implementation is deployed. This has driven the BBC to use NMOS in a more limited way than desired and creating fall-back systems.

From this we can deduce, if it wasn’t already understood, that interoperability testing is a vital aspect of the project, but Mark explains that formalised testing (i.e. IT-style automated) is really important in creating a uniform way of ensuring problems have been fully addressed and there are no regressions. ST 2110 systems are complex and fault finding can be similarly complex and time consuming.

Mark leaves us by explaining what keeps him awake at night which includes items such as lack of available test equipment, lack of single-stream UHD support and NMOS which leads him to a few comments on ST 2110 readiness such as the need for vendors to put much more effort into configuration and management tools.

Anyone with an interest in IP in broadcast will be very grateful at Mark’s, and the BBC’s, willingness to share the project’s successes and challenges in such a constructive way.

Watch now!

Speaker

Mark Patrick Mark Patrick
Lead Architect,
BBC Major Projects Infrastructure

Video: Avoiding Traps and Pitfalls When Designing SMPTE 2059-2 Networks

As the industry gains more and more experience in implementing PTP, AKA SMPTE 2059-2, timing systems it’s natural to share the experiences so we can all find the best way to get the job done.

Thomas Kernen is a staff architect at Mellanox with plenty of experience under his belt regarding PTP so he’s come to the IP Showcase at IBC 2019 to explain.

The talk starts by discussing what good timing actually is and acknowledging everyone’s enthusiasm going into a project for a well designed, fully functioning system. But, importantly, Thomas then looks at a number of real-world restrictions that come into projects which compromise our ability to deliver a perfect system.

Next Thomas looks at aspects of a timing strategy to be careful of. The timing strategy outlines how the timing of your system is going to work, whether that is message rates or managing hierarchy amongst many other possibilities.

The network design itself, of course, has an important impact on your system. This starts at the basics of whether you build a network which is, itself, PTP aware. In general, Thomas says, it should be PTP aware. However, for smaller networks, it may be practical to use without.

Security gets examined next, talking about using encrypted transports, access control lists, ensuring protect interfaces etc. with the aim of preventing unintended access, removing the ability to access physically – much of this is standard IT security, but it’s so often ignored that it’s important to point it out.

PTP is a system, it’s not a signal like B&B so monitoring is important. How will you know the health of your PTP distribution? You need to monitor on the network side, from the point of view of the deices themselves but also analyse the timing signals themselves, for instance, by comparing the timing signals between the main and reserve.

Finally, Thomas warns about designing redundancy systems since “Redundancy in PTP doesn’t exist.” and then finishes with some notes on properly completing a PTP project.

Watch now!

Speaker

Thomas Kernen Thomas Kernen
Staff Architect,
Mellanox Technologies

Video: ST 2110 Test and Measurement Super Session

This IP Showcase super session consists of six presentation from six different vendors which focus on specific aspects of test or measurement that is unique for ST 2110 environment. It is worth noting that these are technology presentations, not product presentations.

The session is led by Willem Vermost from EBU. He describes what kind of issues we need to solve in a SMPTE ST 2110 environment in terms of testing and monitoring. He speaks about PTP accuracy, traffic shaping (SMPTE ST 2110-21) and SMPTE ST 2022-7 redundancy.

Next, Michael Waidson from Tektronix focuses on Precision Time Protocol (PTP) which is a cornerstone of synchronisation of IP media networks. He walks us through Best Master Clock algorithm, boundary and transparent clocks plus PTP fault finding. (You might also want to watch the Monitoring and Measuring IP Media Networks presentation by Michael which we recently published on The Broadcast Knowledge.)

Furthermore, Jack Douglass from PacketStorm talks about ST 2110-21 traffic shaping measurements. He also shows how to use network emulation tools for testing ST 2022-7 link redundancy (the same data is sent through two separate paths of network emulation that are synchronised together, then burst loss are generated using RTP sequence number, with the least important bit different on both paths).

The next speaker is Ståle Kristoffersen from Bridge Technologies. He focuses on live performance monitoring in a ST 2110 network – does the signal make sense? (IP headers, RTP headers, ST 2110-20/30/40 essences), do all of the signals arrive? (packet loss, monitoring packet loss on 2022-7 links), does the signal arrive on time? (late can be just as bad as a packet loss) amongst others.

Moreover, Kevin Salvidge from Leader shows the differences in monitoring in an SDI and an all-IP facility. He compares single essence per BNC with multiple essences per fibre, synchronous and asynchronous transport and causes for errors (cable loss and impedance mismatch vs error packet loss and network overload). He also emphasises the need for accuracy of PTP and explains how to measure it.

Last but not least, Adam Schadle from Video Clarity walk us through video / audio performance and quality methods. He shows how to use picture and sound quality objective tests to understand network behaviour.

The presentations are followed by Q&A session.

See the slides here.

Watch now!

Speakers

Willem Vermost Willem Vermost
Senior IP Media Technology Architect
EBU
Michael Waidson
Application Engineer
Tektronix
Jack Douglass
VP Marketing and Business Development
PacketStorm
Ståle Kristoffersen Ståle Kristoffersen
Lead Software Developer
Bridge Technologies
Kevin Salvidge
European Regional Development Manager
Leader
Adam Schadle
Vice President
Video Clarity

Video: PTP Management and Media Flow Monitoring for All IP Infrastructures

Black and burst was always a ‘set and forget’ system. PTP, which replaces it, deserves active monitoring – and the same is true of your uncompressed media streams as we hear in this talk from the IP Showcase.

In professional essence-over-IP systems such as based on SMPTE ST 2110, timing needs to be rock solid. Thanks to asynchronous nature of IP many different flows can be carried across a network without having to be concerned with synchronization, but this presents a challenge in the production environment. To provide the necessary “genlock”, there is a need for a precise timing standard which is provided by SMPTE ST 2059 which defines the way broadcast signals relate to the IEEE 1588-2008 Precision Time Protocol, commonly referred to as PTPv2. This protocol is very different from analogue Black Burst and Tri-Level signals used in SDI world, so new tools and skills are required for fault finding.

In the first part of this presentation Thomas Gunkel from Skyline Communications focuses on the best practices to configure, monitor and manage PTP in an all-IP infrastructure covering the following:

  • PTP protocol vs reality (packet delay variation, network asymmetry, imperfect timestamping)
  • Increasing reliability of PTP (hardware timestamping, using QoS to prioritise PTP traffic, correcting timing intervals)
  • PTP device issues (grandmaster / boundary clock failure, loss of external reference, badly implemented BMCA)
  • PTP network issues (missing / corrupted event messages, increased packet delay variation, network asymmetry, multicast issues)
  • Automating PTP configuration (BMCA settings, messaging rate intervals, communication mode)
  • Automated PTP provisioning (detecting new PDP our devices using IS-04 or proprietary protocols, extracting end-to-end PTP topology with LLDP, applying standard PTP profiles)
  • PTP monitoring and control (monitor every single metric related to PTP like PTP offset, PTP mean path delay and multicast PTP network traffic for all grandmaster, master and slave devices, prevent slave devices from becoming master)

The second part of this video shows how to track uncompressed media flows in an ST 2110 IP-based media facility using a multi-layer approach and to how to pinpoint any potential issues using Network Monitoring System. Topics covered:

  • All IP flows vs SDI signals
  • Essentials for true orchestration (dynamically orchestrated resources and media services, monitoring / controlling infrastructure and media flows, automatic devices detection and provisioning)
  • Detecting issues (wrong DB entries for multicast essences, broadcast controller and SDN controller DBs out of sync, source not active, IGMP join / leave issues, SSM issues, network oversubscription)
  • Media flow tracking (reading cross point status from SDN controller, comparing this status with actual network topology, detecting “ghost” streams, using sFlow / NetFlow to track individual multicast flows)
  • Importance of true end-to-end SDN orchestration rather than SDN control (routing protocols which provides feedback)
  • All IP routing procedure (resolving multicast flow topology in combination with label management, checking source, checking destination route, presenting data for root cause analysis on each of these steps)

Watch now!

You can download the slides from here.

Speaker

Thomas Gunkel
Market Director Broadcast
Skyline Communications