Video: IP Media Networks for Live Production

Building and controlling a network for SMPTE ST 2110 go hand in hand when it comes to planning an installation. As ST 2110 delivers all media essences separately, networks can easily end up carrying tens of thousands of flows emphasising the need for efficient network design and having a full understanding of the paths your media are using.

This video is co-presented by Nevion and Arista and starts by observing that the traditional difference between a LAN and WAN is being eroded leading as WANs get faster and better, we find that we can now deliver multi-location broadcast facilities which act similarly to if everything was co-located. Moreover, introduces Martin Walbum Media Function virtualisation which is enabled by network-connected equipment allowing for shared processing and shared control. For instance, it’s now possible to house all equipment in a datacentre and allow this to be used remotely maximising the utilisation of the equipment allowing a broadcaster to maximise the value of its purchases and minimise costs.

Arista’s Gerard Phillips takes a look at SDI systems to understand how we expect IP systems to behave and what we expect them to do. The system needs to deliver high throughput, instantaneous switching with low latency and no tolerance for failure. In order to do this, not only do we need to get the right software but to deliver the resilience we need, the network needs the correct architecture. Gerard takes us through the different options starting with a typical, flat, layer 2 networks and working up to leaf and spine along with a treatment of red, blue and purple networks.

Gerard recently did a deep dive on network design for live production for the IET. Take a look for much more detail on how to architect a network for uncompressed media.

Martin then looks at the need for orchestration. Broadcasters expect to deliver systems with, preferably, no downtime. As such, we’ve seen that network elements are typically duplicated as is the traffic which is delivered over two paths and SMPTE ST 2022-7. If you want to take something out of use for planned maintenance, it’s best to do that in a planned, ordered, way meaning you migrate flows away from it until it’s no longer in-circuit. Software-Defined Networks (SDNs), do exactly that. Martin walks us through the pros and cons of managing your network with IGMP and SDN. Gerard’s previous talk also looks at this in detail.

The video finishes with a look at which Arista switches can be used for media and a look at how Arista and Nevion implemented an ST 2110 network at Swiss broadcaster, tpc. This case study is presented in longer form in this video from the IP Showcase.

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Gerard Phillips Gerard Phillips
Systems Engineer,
Martin Walbum Martin Walbum
Senior Vice President of Solution Strategy,

Video: Network Design for Live Production

The benefits of IP sound great, but many are held back with real-life concerns: Can we afford it? Can we plug the training gap? and how do we even do it? This video looks at the latter; how do you deploy a network good enough for uncompressed video, audio and metadata? The network needs to deal with a large number of flows, many of which are high bandwidth. If you’re putting it to air, you need reliability and redundancy. You need to distribute PTP timing, control and maintain it.

Gerard Philips from Arista talks to IET Media about the choices you need to make when designing your network. Gerard starts by reminding us of the benefits of moving to IP, the most tangible of which is the switching density possible. SDI routers can use a whole rack to switch over one thousand sources, but with IP Gerard says you can achieve a 4000-square router within just 7U. With increasingly complicated workflows and with the increasing scale of some broadcasters, this density is a major motivating factor in the move. Doubling down on the density message, Gerard then looks at the difference in connectivity available comparing SDI cables which have signal per cable, to 400Gb links which can carry 65 UHD signals per link.

Audio is always ahead of video when it comes to IP transitions so there are many established audio-over-IP protocols, many of which work at Layer 2 over the network stack. Using Layer 2 has great benefits because there is no routing which means that discovering everything on the network is as simple as broadcasting a question and waiting for answers. Discovery is very simple and is one reason for the ‘plug and play’ ease of NDI, being a layer 2 protocol, it can use mDNS or similar to query the network and display sources and destinations available within seconds. Layer 3-based protocols don’t have this luxury as some resources can be on a separate network which won’t receive a discovery request that’s simply broadcast on the local network.

Gerard examines the benefits of layer 2 and explains how IGMP multicast works detailing the need for an IGMP querier to be in one location and receiving all the traffic. This is a limiting factor in scaling a network, particularly with high-bandwidth flows. Layer 3, we hear, is the solution to this scaling problem bringing with it more control of the size of ‘failure domains’ – how much of your network breaks if there’s a problem.

The next section of the video gets down to the meat of network design and explains the 3 main types of architecture: Monolithic, Hub and spoke and leaf and spoke. Gerard takes time to discuss the validity of all these architectures before discussing coloured networks. Two identical networks dubbed ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’ are often used to provide redundancy in SMPTE ST 2110, and similar uncompressed, networks with the idea that the source generates two identical streams and feeds them over these two identical networks. The receiver receives both streams and uses SMPTE ST 2022-7 to seamlessly deal with packet loss. Gerard then introduces ‘purple’ networks, ones where all switch infrastructure is in the same network and the network orchestrator ensures that each of the two essence flows from the source takes a separate route through the infrastructure. This means that for each flow there is a ‘red’ and a ‘blue’ route, but overall each switch is carrying a mixture of ‘red’ and ‘blue’ traffic.

The beauty of using IGMP/PIM for managing traffic over your networks is that the network itself decides how the flows move over the infrastructure. This makes for a low-footprint, simple installation. However, without the ability to take into account individual link capacity, the capacity of the network in general, bitrate of individual flows and understanding the overall topology, there is very control over where your traffic is which makes maintenance and fault-finding hard and, more generally, what’s the right decision for one small part of the network is not necessarily the right decision for the flow or for the network as a whole. Gerard explains how Software-Defined Networking (SDN) address this and give absolute control over the path your flows take.

Lastly, Gerard looks at PTP, the Precision Time Protocol. 2110 relies on having the PTP in the flow, in the essence allowing flows of separate audio and video to have good lip-sync and to avoid phase errors when audio is mixed together (where PTP has been used for some time). We see different architectures which include two grandmaster clocks (GMs), discuss whether boundary clocks (BCs) or transparent clocks (TCs) are the way to go and examine the little security that is available to stop rogue end-points taking charge and becoming grandmaster themselves.

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Gerard Phillips Gerard Phillips
Systems Engineer,

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: M6 France – Master Control and Playout IP Migration

French broadcast company M6 Group has recently moved to an all-IP workflow, employing the SMPTE ST 2110 suite of standards for professional media delivery over IP networks. The two main playout channels and MCR have been already upgraded and the next few channels will be transitioned to the new core soon.

The M6 system comprises equipment from five different vendors (Evertz, Tektronix, Harmonic, Ross and TSL), all managed and controlled using the AMWA NMOS IS-04 and IS-05 specifications. Such interoperability is an inherent feature of SMPTE ST 2110 suite of standards allowing customers to focus on the operational workflows and flexibility that IP brings them. Centralised management and configuration of the system is provided through web interfaces which also allows for easy and automated addition of a new equipment.

Thanks to Software Defined Orchestration and intuitive touch screen interfaces information such as source paths, link bandwidth / status, and device details can be quickly accessed via a web GUI. As the system is based on IP network, it is possible to come in and out of fabric numerous times without the same costs implications that you would have in the SDI world. Every point of the signal chain can be easily visualised which enables broadcast engineers to maintain and configure the system with ease.

You can see the slides here.

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Slavisa Gruborovic
Solution Architect
Evertz Microsystems Inc.
Fernando Solanes
Director Solutions Engineering
Evertz Microsystems Inc.