Video: ST 2110 Over WAN — The Conclusion of Act 1

Is SMPTE ST 2110 suitable for inter-site connectivity over the WAN? ST 2110 is putting the early adopter phase behind it with more and more installations and OB vans bringing 2110 into daily use yet most sites works independently. The market is already seeing a strong need to continue to derive cost and efficiency savings from the infrastructure in the larger broadcasters who have multiple facilities spread around one country or even in many. To do this, though there are a number of challenges still to be overcome and moving a large number of essence flows long distances and between PTP time domains is one of them.

Nevion’s Andy Rayner is chair of the VSF Activity Group looking into transporting SMPTE ST 2110 over WAN and is here to give an update on the achievements of the past two years. He underlines that the aim of the ST 2110 over WAN activity group is to detail how to securely share media and control between facilities. The key scenarios being considered are 1) special events/remote production/REMIs. 2) Facility sharing within a company. 3) Sharing facilities between companies. He also notes that there is a significant cross over in this work and that happening in the Ground-Cloud-Cloud-Ground (GCCG) activity group which is also co-chairs.


The group has produced drafts of two documents under TR-09. The first, TR-09-01 discusses the data plane and has been largely discussed previously. It defines data protection methods as the standard 2022-7 which uses multiple, identical, flows to deal with packet loss and also a constrained version of FEC standard ST 2022-5 which provides a low-latency FEC for the protection of individual data streams.

GRE trunking over RTP was previously announced as the recommended way to move traffic between sites, though Andy notes that no one aspect of the document is mandatory. The benefits of using a trunk are that all traffic is routed down the same path which helps keep the propagation delay for each essence identical, bitrate is kept high for efficient application of FEC, the workflow and IT requirements are simpler and finally, the trunk has now been specified so that it can transparently carry ethernet headers between locations.

Andy also introduces TR-09-02 which talks about sharing of control. The control plane in any facility is not specified and doesn’t have to be NMOS. However NMOS specifications such IS-04 and IS-05 are the basis chosen for control sharing. Andy describes the control as providing a constrained NMOS interface between autonomous locations and discusses how it makes available resources and metadata to the other location and how that location then has the choice of whether or not to consume the advertised media and control. This allows facilities to pick and choose what is shared.

Watch now!

Andy Rayner Andy Rayner
Chief Technologist, Nevion,
Chair, WAN IP Activity Group, VSF

Video: AES67 Beyond the LAN

It can be tempting to treat a good quality WAN connection like a LAN. But even if it has a low ping time and doesn’t drop packets, when it comes to professional audio like AES67, you can help but unconver the differences. AES67 was designed for tranmission over short distances meaning extremely low latency and low jitter. However, there are ways to deal with this.

Nicolas Sturmel from Merging Technologies is working as part of the AES SC-02-12M working group which has been defining the best ways of working to enable easy use of AES67 on the WAN wince the summer. The aims of the group are to define what you should expect to work with AES67, how you can improve your network connection and give guidance to manufacturers on further features needed.

WANs come in a number of flavours, a fully controlled WAN like many larger broadacsters have which is fully controlled by them. Other WANs are operated on SLA by third parties which can provide less control but may present a reduced operating cost. The lowest cost is the internet.

He starts by outlining the fact that AES67 was written to expect short links on a private network that you can completely control which causes problems when using the WAN/internet with long-distance links on which your bandwidth or choice of protocols can be limited. If you’re contributing into the cloud, then you have an extra layer of complication on top of the WAN. Virtualised computers can offer another place where jitter and uncertain timing can enter.


The good news is that you may not need to use AES67 over the WAN. If you need precise timing (for lip-sync for example) with PCM quality and low latencies from 250ms down to as a little as 5 milliseconds do you really need AES67 instead of using other protocols such as ACIP, he explains. The problem being that any ping on the internet, even to something fairly close, can easily have a varying round trip time of, say, 16 to 40ms. This means you’re guaranteed 8ms of delay, but any one packet could be as late as 20ms. This variation in timing is known as the Packet Delay Variation (PDV).

Not only do we need to find a way to transmit AES67, but also PTP. The Precise Time Protocol has ways of coping for jitter and delay, but these don’t work well on WAN links whether the delay in one direction may be different to the delay for a packet in the other direction. PTP also isn’t built to deal with the higher delay and jitter involved. PTP over WAN can be done and is a way to deliver a service but using a GPS receiver at each location is a much better solution only hampered by cost and one’s ability to see enough of the sky.

The internet can lose packets. Given a few hours, the internet will nearly always lose packets. To get around this problem, Nicolas looks at using 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. Whilst this is a solid approach, computing the FEC adds delay and the extra data being constantly sent adds a fixed uplift on your bandwidth need. For circuits that have very few issues, this can seem wasteful but having a fixed percentage can also be advantageous for circuits where a predictable bitrate is much more important. Nicolas also highlights that RIST, SRT or ST 2022-7 are other methods that can also work well. He talks about these longer in his talk with Andreas Hildrebrand

Nocals finishes by summarising that your solution will need to be sent over unicast IP, possibly in a tunnel, each end locked to a GNSS, high buffers to cope with jitter and, perhaps most importantly, the output of a workflow analysis to find out which tools you need to deploy to meet your actual needs.

Watch now!

Nicolas Sturmel Nicolas Sturmel
Network Specialist,
Merging Technologies

Video: PTP in WAN Applications & Update on PTP v2.1

PTP is evolving as is our ability to use it over WANs. This video explains what’s new in PTP’s second revision and the evolving techniques of using PTP over a wide area network such as the internet. As PTP was built assuming the use of LANs, the longer and more unpredictable latency of WANs throws off the timing calculations, so what can be done to compensate?

In this video from RAVENNA, Andreas Hildebrand from ALC Networx takes us through PTP 2.1, the 2019 revision of PTP following on from PTP 2.0 in 2008 and from the original 1.0 in 2002. Famously, 2.0 and 1.0 were not compatible with each other which has caused problems with some hardware implementations of DANTE which were first written when 1.0 was the only edition. Importantly, Andreas highlights, version 2.1 is backwards compatible with version 2.0. If you’re looking for a PTP primer before digging in, have a look at this intro video from Daniel Boldt, Meinberg

Andreas explains the use of PTP profiles within both AES67 and SMTPTE 2110 which standardise some of the parameters for using PTP such as message frequency. Whilst they do have different defaults, there is an overlap between the two allowing for use of AES67 streams withing both an AES67 ecosystem and with a 2110-30 ecosystem. These overlaps are detailed in the joint AES and SMPTE document, AES-R16-2016.

“What’s new in PTP v2.1?” asks Andreas. Apart from clearer language, accuracy, flexibility and robustness have been enhanced.

Flexibility comes from the ability to mixed multicast and unicast messages. Announce and sync messages are still sent in multicast, but queries like delayresponse & delayrequest can now be sent unicast which provides better scalability as, for many scenarios, the reply never needs to go back to any other computers. Another example of flexibility is modular transparent clocks i.e. ones in SFPs. Another flexibility improvement is that it’s now possible to isolate profiles without using different PTP domain numbers. This is by adding a Profile ID called ‘SdoId’.

Robustness and Security
PTP now allows inter-domain interactions effectively allowing multiple GMs to vote onto a single ‘multi-domain clock’. This becomes a very robust clock as it’s created from the insight of three grandmasters. PTP v2.1 adds source integrity checking to allow identification of false, injected, messages. A long-needed improvement as security, even of a LAN, can’t be assumed nowadays.

Performance and Accuracy
Stats reporting has been added to PTP v2.1 allowing monitoring of the average, minimum, max and standard deviation of a number of metrics from the leader clock, delay metrics and message reception counters. Accuracy has been boosted to sub-nanosecond by the CERN-related White Rabbit Project which is an overall benefit to PTP even if sub-nanosecond timing isn’t needed.

Source: ALC NetworX

The second part of the video features Meinberg’s Daniel Boldt who discusses how to transmit PTP over the WAN. This is more challenging than a WAN because it’s more likely to be affected by queueing delays – particularly if the WAN in question is the internet. Queueing delays happen for a number of reasons but it all boils down to the fact the switches and routers often have to hold packets in a buffer, something that tends to happen more when there is more load. As such, this means that the delay is variable leading to varying jitter on the measurements.

Another problem often encountered is path changes where a switch happens in the network to divert the signal to a different path. Whilst this is a great way to route around problems, it does mean a sudden change in path length and therefore propagation delay. A conventional ping time may change from 100ms to 250ms in a second. This could have a big impact on the accuracy of a PTP timing signal if undetected.

Finally, the PTP timing algorithm assumes that it takes just as long, and no longer, to get the timing information from A to B as it does to get the follow-up reply from B to A. When one direction takes longer than the other, for instance when one direction is forced through a 100Mbps link rather than 1000Mbps, the PTP timing will have a constant timing error.

Source: Meinberg

Daniel explains that these issues can be mitigated by more thorough processing of the incoming packets. For instance, having a high-quality oscillator which can maintain an accurate frequency for a long time without external input is helpful. Having a local GM on GPS is another good way to avoid problems, in the cases when this is practical, where the WAN PTP becomes an ‘aide’ to timing rather than the authority. Finally, the ‘lucky packets’ technique is demonstrated.

Daniel explains that if you look at the delay of each packet incoming over, say, a two-second period, you can collect all the packets that, based on the timestamp, were lucky enough not to be delayed a lot. By discarding those very-delayed packets, the accuracy of the PTP signal becomes much higher and jitter can reduce, as we see from two case studies, by an order of magnitude.

Watch now!

Andreas Hildebrand Andreas Hildebrand
RAVENNA Evangelist,
ALC NetworX
Daniel Boldt Daniel Boldt
Head of Software Development,

Video: Progress Update for the ST 2110 WAN VSF Activity Group

2110 Over WAN Update

Is SMPTE ST 2110 suitable for inter-site connectivity over the WAN? ST 2110 is moving past the early adopter phase with more and more installations and OB vans bringing 2110 into daily use but today, each site works independently. What if we could maintain a 2110 environment between sites. There are a number of challenges still to be overcome and moving a large number of essence flows long distances and between PTP time domains is one of them.

Nevion’s Andy Rayner is chair of the VSF Activity Group looking into transporting SMPTE ST 2110 over WAN and is here to give an update on the work in progress which started 18 months ago. The presentation looks at how to move media between locations which has been the primary focus to date. It then discusses how control over which media are shared will be handled as this is a new aspect to the work. Andy starts by outlining the protection offered in the scheme which supports both 2022-7 and FEC then explains that though FEC is valuable for single links where 2022-7 isn’t viable, only some of the possible ST 2022-5 FEC configurations are supported, in part, to keep latency low.

The headline to carrying 2110 over the WAN is that it will be done over a trunk. GRE is a widely used Cisco trunking technology. Trunking, also known as tunnelling, is a technique of carrying ‘private’ traffic over a network such that a device sending into the trunk doesn’t see any of the infrastructures between the entrance and the exit. It allows, for instance, IPv6 traffic to be carried over IPv4 equipment where the v4 equipment has no idea about the v6 data since it’s been wrapped in a v4 envelope. Similarly, the ipv6 equipment has no idea that the ipv6 data is being wrapped and carried by routers which don’t understand ipv6 since the wrapping and unwrapping of the data is done transparently at the handoff.

In the context of SMPTE ST 2110, a trunk allows one port to be used to create a single connection to the destination, yet carry many individual media streams within. This has the big benefit of simplifying the inter-site connectivity at the IT level, but importantly also means that the single connection is quite high bandwidth. When FEC is applied to a connection, the latency introduced increases as the bit rate reduces. Since ST 2110 carries audio and metadata separately, an FEC-protected stream would have variable latency depending on the type of the of traffic. Bundling them in to one large data stream allows FEC to be applied once and all traffic then suffers the same latency increase. The third reason is to ensure all essences take the same network path. If each connection was separate, it would be possible for some to be routed on a physically different route and therefore be subject to a different latency.

Entering the last part of the talk, Andy switches gears to talk about how site A can control streams in site B. The answer is that it doesn’t ‘control’, rather there is the concept of requesting streams. Site A will declare what is available and site B can state what it would like to connect to and when. In response, site A can accept and promise to have those sources available to the WAN interface at the right time. When the time is right, they are released over the WAN. This protects the WAN connectivity from being filled with media which isn’t actually being used. These exchanges are mediated and carried out with NMOS IS-04 an IS-05.

Watch now!

Andy Rayner Andy Rayner
Chief Technologist, Nevion,
Chair, WAN IP Activity Group, VSF
Wes Simpson Moderator: Wes Simpson
Co-chair RIST Activity Group, VSF