Professional AoIP for Broadcast

Today’s standard industrial IT infrastructure has already overtaken the technology of AES/EBU, MADI and TDM routers in terms of performance, cost and flexibility. The rate of development of IT systems, fuelled as it is by a multi-billion dollar industry many times the size of the broadcast industry, is certain to widen this gap in the future. Over the next few years IT infrastructure will replace current broadcast infrastructure, delivering additional flexibility, better scalability and significantly lower costs.

Audio over IP (AoIP) has been embraced by the installed sound, live and radio industries. Much has been learnt from this but larger broadcast applications bring additional constraints, especially channel count, synchronisation and latency. Audio systems engineers will need to learn how to set up, configure and manage IT networks; IT specialists will have to understand why and when audio networks need to be separate. Education will be key.

As with previous transitions, audio, with its lower data rates, will be a pathfinder for developments that will follow in the video domain. IT is already widely used in broadcast for file transfer, but SMPTE 2022-6 (high data rate streamed video over IP), which was published in 2012, is evidence that SDI will eventually be replaced. Central to consider- ations about audio or video over IP is the value that metadata brings to systems. Concepts such as discoverability and automatic configuration are key to delivering powerful workflow benefits.

In this paper we describe our vision for the future of Audio over IP for professional broadcast applications, explain which technologies we are using, discuss the advantages and challenges associated with AoIP and demystify the jargon.

AES 67 provides comprehensive interoperability recommendations, essential since several standards have emerged including Audinate's Dante and AVB. 

AoIP sees applications in remote production and I/O everywhere. It allows traditional TDM systems to be replaced or supplanted by IP routers and switches. The paper looks at topographies.

Glossary

The white paper includes a glossary of basic network terms, and covers a brief history of audio routing and the evolution of audio over IP.

Tom Knowles is product manager - broadcast systems at Solid State Logic

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