The Sponsors Perspective: Proactively Monitor IP Video Networks & Essences With Inspect 2110 & PRISM

For over two decades Telestream has streamlined the ingest, production, and distribution of digital video and audio. Today, compared to its SDI/AES-based predecessors, IP video adds exciting new challenges to these workflows.

This article was first published as part of Essential Guide: Keeping Studio IP Media Streams Reliable - download the complete Essential Guide HERE.

As a protocol alone IP is data agnostic. When used for video, though, there are specific requirements to minimize latency and jitter. A common standard for IP media transport is SMPTE ST 2110. Diagnosing and resolving faults in an ST 2110 IP media network requires network-centric, versus point-to-point, root-cause analysis. When using ST 2110, the video, audio, and ancillary essences are captured and transmitted independently. These essences must, thus, be tightly and very accurately synchronized.

Stream synchronization is accomplished using the RTP / ST 2110 timestamps present in each ST 2110 packet. This requires higher resolution timing accuracy than a protocol like NTP (network time protocol) which is accurate to about 0.01 sec. All devices generating, processing, and playing out ST 2110 essences must be tightly synchronized with a precision greater than what NTP can provide. NTP has thus given way to the more accurate PTP (precision time protocol) protocol which is accurate to 1µs.

It is important to properly oversee the quality of content and infrastructure even as these higher speeds and more precise timing requirements challenge the limits of manual human perception, so automating this oversight is crucial. The Telestream Inspect 2110 has been designed to do just that via a “set it and forget it” methodology. Inspect 2110 will tell you when there is a problem. Until it does, an engineer is not necessarily required.

The most streamlined approach to ST 2110 monitoring, diagnostics, and root-cause analysis is to allow engineers to focus on resolving problems quickly rather than manually searching for them. Automating oversight of an ST 2110 Audio/Video network enables engineers and operations staff to perform their day-to-day tasks while software monitors the facility. The monitoring software only alerts staff members when there is a problem and then it directs them straight to the area of concern. Once notified, engineers must be able to seamlessly invoke an IP diagnostics tool to identify and repair root causes. This is the key to reducing fault isolation and remediation time. A properly designed workflow thus allows highly skilled engineers to spend their time fixing problems rather than looking for them. Inspect 2110 enables this by providing the tools needed to maintain an IP video network’s quality and performance.

  • Network health – Inspect 2110 monitors network traffic to identify bottlenecks and potential bottlenecks, so infrastructure issues can be addressed before they affect stream quality.
  • Timing and synchronization - Inspect 2110 detects discontinuities within the PTP time base that can lead to breakup or distortion, and it also flags fluctuations in the time base that lead to buffer overruns or underruns.
  • Essence validation – Once the connection between two video devices is established the sending device transmits an SDP (session description protocol) message, alerting the receiving device of the video and audio parameters of the RTP stream to be sent. Inspect 2110 validates every RTP packet against the SDP and alerts the user to any identified discrepancy.
  • Redundant stream monitoring – It’s not enough to know you have redundancy built into your system. Inspect 2110 verifies that the redundant stream perfectly matches the primary stream, it is perfectly in sync with it, and it is available. All this is done in real-time.

Many big IP transport issues begin as minor anomalies that are invisible to the human eye. These eventually escalate and result in noticeable quality loss – or worse. Deploying a robust monitoring and alert solution like Inspect 2110 allows video and network engineers to address issues before they are visible to the audience.

While identifying video problems is critical, it’s even more important to get them fixed. Once Inspect 2110 identifies an issue, a single button click allows an engineer to deeply dive into the situation by calling up the Telestream PRISM waveform monitor interface. PRISM includes all the familiar video signal measurement displays and has IP-specific apps that allow for detailed analysis of ANC session data, Dolby status, detailed PTP statistics, and packet interval time (PIT). Only a few seconds elapse between issue detection and the engineer’s ability to perform a detailed analysis of the situation.

Ease Of Adoption

It used to be straightforward to diagnose SDI issues because you could trace a point-to-point signal path to isolate a problem. Overseeing everything was generally impractical because the cost of routing signals just for monitoring was prohibitive. With IP the reverse is true. You can have visibility into everything that is happening, but without point-to-point connections, and when signal flows are non-deterministic, diagnostics are more challenging. To do the same job in an IP world as in an SDI one requires engineers and their managers to learn and adopt many new concepts and methods. The Telestream Inspect 2110 and PRISM products minimize training time.

Inspect 2110 monitors multiple IP video streams across the production chain or contribution network, and a notification is triggered if any of the video, audio, or ancillary essences does not match the expectations or does not comply with all the applicable standards. Thumbnails provide visual feedback of the video quality, with status icons that include mouse-over alert messages and a direct link to diagnostics – whether in Inspect 2110 or PRISM. Details are but a single click away. 

When developing the PRISM applications, Telestream drew upon many of the most recognized interfaces in video engineering circles, further lessening the training time for operators.

Supported Standards For Now And The Future

Inspect 2110 handles all common professional video formats from SD through 8K. Beyond SMPTE ST 2110, the product supports SMPTE ST 2022 (-6 and -7), AMWA NMOS IS-04 and IS-05, and AMWA BCP 002-01.

In February, when the world’s first 8K programs were aired for the winter games, broadcasters relied on Inspect 2110 and PRISM for real-time network and signal monitoring. With this proven track record and the ability to update products in the field via simple software updates, the Telestream suite will continue to meet broadcaster’s growing needs as formats and standards continue to evolve.

Key Integration Features

The migration to IP-based workflows allows facility designers the freedom to choose best-of-breed solutions. The Inspect 2110 REST, API-first, design allows programmatic access to all the product functionality and all the data collected by the product including essence metrics and video thumbnails. Integration with third-party tools is straightforward for in-house development teams and system integrators. Alerts can be transmitted by most of the common methods including SNMP, Web Push API, Web Sockets, and Amazon SNS.

With such broad support for key video formats and protocols, Inspect 2110 can be used to validate the output of any component in the facility, or broadcast truck, that streams audio and/or video. It eliminates much of the trial and error of diagnosing problems when everything looks like it should be working.

Agostino Canepa, Director, Product Management at Telestream.

Agostino Canepa, Director, Product Management at Telestream.

Having a suite of tools from a trusted, standards-compliant vendor to manage and troubleshoot your IP video network is crucial to reap the cost savings and benefits of COTS on-prem solutions and cloud-based delivery systems. The alarm indications provided by Inspect 2110 are a significant driver of efficiency because exception notifications allow your technically savvy engineers to focus on specific issues instead of watching monitor walls. The result is, quite simply, time-to-resolution efficiency.

Telestream has over twenty-five years of experience supplying the world’s largest media companies with video and audio transcoding and streaming tools, and we’ve been providing the world’s most trusted video signal measurement tools for even longer. Inspect 2110 represents the industry’s most comprehensive set of checks performed on media essences and the most bandwidth-capable platform available today. When working in concert with the recognized leadership of the PRISM family of IP and SDI waveform monitors, the combined solution provides a solid, future-proof investment for any facility making the transition to IP video production.

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