Video: AES67 over WAN

Deeply embedded in the audio industry and adopted into SMPTE ST 2110, AES67 workflows surround us. Increasingly our workflows are in multiple locations so moving AES67 on the WAN and the internet is essential. If networks were always perfect, this would be easy but as that’s not the case, this RAVENNA talk examines what the problems are and how to solve them.

Andreas Hildebrand introduces the video with an examination of how the WAN, whether that’s a company’s managed wide area network or the internet at large, is different from a LAN. Typical issues are packet loss, varying latency meaning the packets arrive with jitter, lack of PTP and multicast. With this in mind, Nicolas Sturmel from Merging Technologies takes the reins to examine the solutions.

Nicolas explains the typically EBU Tech 3326 (also known as ACIP) is used for WAN contribution which specifies how a sender and receiver communicate and the codecs to be used. Although PCM is available, many codecs such as AptX are also prescribed for use. Nicolas says that ACIP is great for most applications but if you need low-latency, precise timing and PCM-quality staying AES67 may be the best policy, even over the WAN.

Having identified your AES6-over-WAN workflow, the question is how to pull it off. Nicolas looks at three methods, one is FEC whereby you are constantly sending redundant data. FEC can send up to around 25% extra data so that if any is lost, the extra information sent can be leveraged to determine the lost values and reconstruct the stream. This is can work well but requires sending this extra data constantly therefore putting up your bandwidth. It can also only deal with certain losses requiring them to be of a short duration.

Instead of FEC, you can use RIST, SRT or a similar re-transmission technology. These will actively recover any lost packets and have the benefit that you only transmit more data when you have lost data. Lastly, he mentions SMPTE ST 2022-7 which uses two paths of identical data to cover losses in any one of them. Although this is 100% extra data, the benefit is that it can deal with any type of loss including a complete path failure which neither of the others can do. It is, however possible to combine FEC or RIST with a 2022-7 workflow so you can have two levels of protection.

Timing over the WAN is not ideal as PTP loses accuracy over long-latency links and it assumes symmetry. On the internet, it’s possible to get links where the latency is longer in one direction than the other. An easy, though potentially costly, workaround for distributing PTP over the WAN is to use GPS, GLONASS or similar to synchronise grandmaster clocks at each location.

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Nicolas Sturmel Nicolas Sturmel
Product Manager & Senior Technologist
Merging Technologies
Andreas Hildebrand Andreas Hildebrand
RAVENNA Evangelist,

Video: Migrating to IP – Top Questions from Broadcasters

Moving to IP can be difficult. For some, it’s about knowing where to even start. For others, it’s a matter of understanding some of the details which is the purpose of this talk from Leader US which looks at the top questions that Leader’s heard from its customer base:

  • How do we look at it?
  • How do we test it?
  • How is the data sent?
  • What is PTP?
  • How do we control it?
  • What is NMOS?
  • What are the standards involved?

These questions, and more, are covered in this webinar.

Steve Holmes from Lader Us details the IP relevant basics starting with the motivations: weight, cost, scale, density, and independent essences. We can then move on to the next questions covering RTP itself and how 2022-6 was built upon it. SMPTE ST 2022-6 splits up a regular SDI signal into sections and encapsulates them, uncompressed. This is one big difference from SMPTE ST 2110 where all essences are sent separately. For some, this is not a benefit, but for general broadcast workflows, it can sometimes be tricky getting them into alignment and some workflows are aimed at delivering an incoming bundle of PIDs so being able to separate them is a backward step.

With this groundwork laid, Steve explains how seamless redundancy works with SMPTE 2022-7 going on to then describe the difficulty of keeping jitter low and the importance of sender profiles in ST 2110. Steve finishes this section with a discussion of NMOS specifications such as IS-05 and IS-06. The session ends with a Q&A.

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Steve Holmes Steve Holmes
Freelance consultant

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

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

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