Video: ST-2110 – Measuring and Testing the Data, Control and Timing Planes

An informal chat touching on the newest work around SMPTE ST-2110 standards and related specifications in today’s video. The industry’s leading projects are now tracking the best practices in IT as much as the latest technology in IP because simply getting video working over the network isn’t enough. Broadcasters demand solutions which are secure from the ground up, easy to deploy and have nuanced options for deployment.

Andy Rayner from Nevion talks to Prin Boon from Phabrix to understand the latest trends. Between then, Andy and Prin account for a lot of activity in standards work within standards and industry bodies such as SMPTE, VSF and JT-NM to name a but a few, so whom better to hear from regarding the latest thinking and ongoing work.

Andy starts by outlining the context of SMPTE’s ST-2110 suite of standards which covers not only the standards within 2110, but also the NMOS specifications from AMWA as well as the timing standards (SMPTE 2059 and IEEE 1588). Prin and Andy both agree that the initial benefit of moving to IT networking was benefiting from the massive network switches which now delivering much higher switching density than SDI ever could or would, now the work of 2110 projects is also tracking IT, rather than simply IP. By benefiting from the best practices of the IT industry as a whole, the broadcast industry is getting a much better product. Andy makes the point that broadcast-uses have very much pushed fabric manufacturers to implement PTP and other network technologies in a much more mature and scalable way than was imagined before.

Link to video

The focus of conversation now moves to the data, control and timing plane. The data plane contains the media essences and all of the ST 21110 standards. Control is about the AMWA/NMOS specs such as the IS-0X specs as well as the security-focused BCP-003 and JT-NM TR-1001. Timing is about PTP and associated guidelines.

Prin explains that in-service test and measurement is there to give a feeling for the health of a system; how close to the edge is the system? This is about early alerting of engineering specialists and then enable deep faultfinding with hand-held 2110 analysers. Phabrix, owned by Leader, are one of a number of companies who are creating monitoring and measurement tools. In doing this Willem Vermost observed that little of the vendor data was aligned so couldn’t be compared. This has directly led to work between many vendors and broadcasters to standardise the reported measurement data in terms of how it’s measured and how it is named and is being standardised under 2110-25. This will cover latency, video timing, margin and RTP offset.

More new work discussed by the duo includes the recommended practice, RP 2059-15 which is related to the the ST 2059 standards which apply PTP to media streams. As PTP, also known as IEEE 1588 has been updated to version 2.1 as part of the 2019 update, this RP creates a unified framework to expose PTP data in a structured manner and relies on RFC 8575 which, itself, relies on the YANG data modeling language.

We also hear about work to ensure that NMOS can fully deal with SMPTE 2022-7 flows in all the cases where a receiver is expecting a single or dual feed. IS-08 corner cases have been addressed and an all-encompassing model to develop against has been created as a reference.

Pleasingly, as this video was released in December, we are treated to a live performance of a festive song on piano and trombone. Whilst this doesn’t progress the 2110 narrative, it is welcomed as a great excuse to have a mine pie.

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Andy Rayner Andy Rayner
Chief Technologist,
Prinyar Boon Prinyar Boon
Product Manager,

Video: Is IP Really Better than SDI?

Is SDI so bad? With the industry as a whole avidly discussing and developing IP technology, all the talk of the benefits of IP can seem like a dismissal of SDI. SDI served the broadcast industry very well for decades, so what’s suddenly so wrong with it? Of course, SDI still has a place and even some benefits over IP. Whilst IP is definitely a great technology to take the industry forward, there’s nothing wrong with using SDI in the right place.

Ed Calverley from Q3Media takes an honest look at the pros and cons of SDI. Not afraid to explain where SDI fits better than IP, this is a very valuable video for anyone who has to choose technology for a small or medium project. Whilst many large projects, nowadays, are best done in IP, Ed looks at why that is and, perhaps more importantly, what’s tricky about making it work, highlighting the differences doing the same project in SDI.

This video is the next in IET Media’s series of educational videos and follows on nicely from Gerard Phillips’ talk on Network Design for uncompressed media. Here, Ed recaps the reasons SDI has been so successful and universally accepted in the broadcast industry as well as looking at SDI routing. This is essential to understand the differences when we move to IP in terms of benefits and compromises.

SDI is a unidirectional technology, something which makes it pleasantly simple, but at scale makes life difficult in terms of cabling. Not only is it unidirectional, but it can only really carry one video at a time. Before IP, this didn’t seem to be much of a restriction, but as densities have increased, cabling was often one limiting factor on the size of equipment – not unlike the reason 3.5mm audio jacks have started to disappear from some phones. Moreover, anyone who’s had to plan an expansion of an SDI router, adding a second one, has come across the vast complexity of doing so. Physically it can be very challenging, it will involve using tie-lines which come with a whole management overhead in and of themselves as well as taking up much valuable I/O which could have been used for new inputs and outputs, but are required for tying the routers together. Ed uses a number of animations to show how IP significantly improves media routing,

In the second part of the video, we start to look at the pros and cons of key topics including latency, routing behaviour, virtual routing, bandwidth management, UHD and PTP. With all this said, Ed concludes that IP is definitely the future for the industry, but on a project-by-project basis, we shouldn’t dismiss the advantages that do exist of SDI as it could well be the right option.

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Ed Ed Calverley
Trainer & Consultant
Russell Trafford-Jones Moderator: Russell Trafford-Jones
Exec Member, IET Media Technical Network
Editor, The Broadcast Knowledge
Manager, Services & Support, Techex

Video: Case Study on a Large Scale Distributed ST 2110 Deployment

We’re “past the early-adopter stage” of SMPTE 2110, notes Andy Rayner from Nevion as he introduces this case study of a multi-national broadcaster who’s created a 2110-based live production network spanning ten countries.

This isn’t the first IP project that Nevion have worked on, but it’s doubtless the biggest to date. And it’s in the context of these projects that Andy says he’s seen the maturing of the IP market in terms of how broadcasters want to use it and, to an extent, the solutions on the market.

Fully engaging with the benefits of IP drives the demand for scale as people are freer to define a workflow that works best for the business without the constraints of staying within one facility. Part of the point of this whole project is to centralise all the equipment in two, shared, facilities with everyone working remotely. This isn’t remote production of an individual show, this is remote production of whole buildings.

SMPTE ST-2110, famously, sends all essences separately so where an 1024×1024 SDI router might have carried 70% of the media between two locations, we’re now seeing tens of thousands of streams. In fact, the project as a whole is managing in the order of 100,000 connections.

With so many connections, many of which are linked, manual management isn’t practical. The only sensible way to manage them is through an abstraction layer. For instance, if you abstract the IP connections from the control, you can still have a panel for an engineer or operator which says ‘Playout Server O/P 3’ which allow you to route it with a button that says ‘Prod Mon 2’. Behind the scenes, that may have to make 18 connections across 5 separate switches.

This orchestration is possible using SDN – Software Defined Networking – where router decisions are actually taken away from the routers/switches. The problem is that if a switch has to decide how to send some traffic, all it can do is look at its small part of the network and do its best. SDN allows you to have a controller, or orchestrator, which understands the network as a whole and can make much more efficient decisions. For instance, it can make absolutely sure that ST 2022-7 traffic is routed separately by diverse paths. It can do bandwidth calculations to stop bandwidths from being oversubscribed.

Whilst the network is, indeed, based on SMPTE ST 2110, one of the key enablers is JPEG XS for international links. JPEG XS provides a similar compression level to JPEG 2000 but with much less latency. The encode itself requires less than 1ms of latency, unlike JPEG 2000’s 60ms. Whilst 60ms may seem small, when a video needs to move 4 or even 10 times as part of a production workflow, it soon adds up to a latency that humans can’t work with. JPEG XS promises to allow such international production to feel responsive and natural. Making this possible was the extension of SMPTE ST 2110, for the first time, to allow carriage of compressed video in ST 2110-22.

Andy finishes his overview of this uniquely large case study talking about conversion between types of audio, operating SDN with IGMP multicast islands, and NMOS Control. In fact, it’s NMOS which the answer to the final question asking what the biggest challenge is in putting this type of project together. Clearly, in a project of this magnitude, there are challenges around every corner, but problems due to quantity can be measured and managed. Andy points to NMOS adoption with manufacturers still needing to be pushed higher whilst he lays down the challenge to AMWA to develop NMOS further so that it’s extended to describe more aspects of the equipment – to date, there are not enough data points.

Watch now!

Andy Rayner Andy Rayner
Chief Technologist,