Designing IP Broadcast Systems: Part 1 - IP Network Design Principles

Welcome to the first part of ‘Designing IP Broadcast Systems’ - a major 18 article exploration of the technology needed to create practical IP based broadcast production systems. Part 1 discusses the need to think asynchronously, layers & topologies, the need for shared experience, hybrid systems, and timing.

About 'Designing IP Broadcast Systems'

This series builds on the foundations of the huge body of work already published by The Broadcast Bridge on IP. The 18 article collection delves deeper into various aspects of how IP based systems work, with detailed technical explorations of key themes including; design philosophies, discoverability, hybrid systems, remote production, cloud infrastructure and software control layers.

IP for broadcasting is no longer a theoretical concept. It is proving its worth in television stations throughout the world. But transitioning to IP has its challenges, even for those lucky enough to work on greenfield sites. The abstraction of the video and audio essence from the underlying timing plane is presenting many issues whose solutions were often taken for granted in SDI and AES infrastructures, but the learning curve needed to make IP systems work for broadcasting is well worth the investment.

Fundamentally, we’re distributing synchronous video and audio over an asynchronous network, and in doing so, we’re effectively destroying the timing plane. To reconstruct the video and audio signals at the destination we must synthesize a timing system that operates over an asynchronous packet switched network. Switch buffers with indeterminate latencies conspire against this goal so packet jitter and loss become something we have to work with.

To achieve the promise of scalability, flexibility, and resilience, a change in mindset is required as broadcast engineers expect video and audio signals to be delivered with near perfection, but IT engineers and the vendors who manufacture routing and switching equipment assume there will be some packet loss due to the dynamic nature of IP networks. Once this has been accepted, then designing IP broadcast systems becomes more achievable.

Designing IP Broadcast Systems picks up the story where 'Understanding IP Broadcast Production Networks- The Book' left it, and assumes the reader has read this earlier work.  

Designing IP Broadcast systems will publish in four parts. Details of all four parts can be found HERE.


About Part 1. IP Network Design Principles

Part 1 is a free PDF download containing 5 articles:

Article 1 : Thinking Asynchronously
Designing IP infrastructures requires broadcast engineers and technologists to think asynchronously if they are to deliver reliable studio IP infrastructures.

Article 2 : Network Layers & Topologies
Layer-2 switching and layer-3 routing are intrinsic parts of networks, and adding SDNs to spine-leaf and mesh networks improves flexibility and scalability.

Article 3 : Give & Take For IP’s Sake
Our partner Lawo discuss how real world user experiences and the sharing of knowledge are what really drives forward the widespread adoption of new technologies and the innovative workflows they empower.

Article 4 : System Glue
When we think of glue in broadcast infrastructures, we tend to think of the interface equipment that connects different protocols and systems together. However, IP infrastructures add another level of complexity to our concept of glue.

Article 5 : Timing
Adding PTP to asynchronous IP networks provides a synchronization layer that maintains fluidity of motion and distortion free sound in the audio domain.

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