Using KVM in IP-centric facilities

IP-based technologies are becoming mainstream in broadcast and production applications and are quickly taking the place of traditional SDI configurations. This is especially the case when it comes to KVM (keyboard, video and mouse). High performance IP-based networks enable KVM solutions to bring real time, accurate video operation to users, allowing them to switch between machines, regardless of distance and location.

The continued and enhanced adoption of IP is largely due to the convergence of technologies and services. In the broadcast industry, the shift to IP has been a gradual one, driven by the need to reduce costs and increase efficiencies. Although shifting to IP is a necessary change, there are still installation factors to consider in an IP-centric facility since it is different than a typical SDI configuration. Here are a few helpful tips to guide a new user through the process of switching from typical SDI configuration to IP.

Understand bandwidth

More traffic requires more bandwidth. Video quality, USB devices, number of computing sources and users all have an impact on the required bandwidth. The needs and resources of the business will determine this bandwidth with 1Gb and 10Gb infrastructures now commonly available and able to carry

HD, 4k and SuperSpeed USB. To effectively expand and upgrade bandwidth, many facilities consider a fiber network with fiber optic switches.

While the cost of copper compared to fiber is certainly a consideration, modern buildings are now being built with fiber networks in mind – set up to host them vertically within the structure, running from bottom to top floors. This new configuration, compared to less expensive copper cabling used horizontally on each individual floor, provides a high bandwidth backbone – carrying information from multiple floors simultaneously to server rooms. Coupled with IP-based KVM, this setup can ultimately improve the building’s ergonomics and ability for its overall infrastructure management.

KVM is easily scalable

It is natural for broadcasters to gradually scale their editing/post-production space as needs change. In order to do this with non-IP based KVM, they must typically add new KVM switches as these traditionally have a finite number of ports. Once these ports are used, new hardware is required to add users and additional workstations, which may need to reside on a different KVM network.

The process of expanding a non-IP KVM infrastructure can be incredibly expensive, time consuming and counterproductive. With IP-based KVM technology, computers and users can be added and installed within minutes to the existing infrastructure, easily expanding the KVM matrix.

Reliability and instant switching

In a live broadcast control room, the editor needs to be able to move seamlessly between camera shots in order to create a smooth flow of content. IP-based KVM technology allows for effortless switching along with a real time user experience, all while providing exceptional reliability. These are all critical components of a successful KVM solution.

When using an IP-based network, a KVM system is no longer limited to short distances between a computer/controller and the user keyboard and monitor. Shown here is a simple IP-based KVM network using Adder Technologies’ solutions.

When using an IP-based network, a KVM system is no longer limited to short distances between a computer/controller and the user keyboard and monitor. Shown here is a simple IP-based KVM network using Adder Technologies’ solutions.

Whether users are working on a film, commercial or shooting plays in a sporting event, the post-production and editing requirements are often similar. Personnel need to work in a quiet and comfortable environment. Putting the machines in temperature-controlled server rooms removes their noise and heat from the workspace and may also add to their lifespan and performance. It also prevents unauthorized usage, which is an important factor in many situations, especially for film and broadcast clients concerned about piracy.The result is the ability to extend these computers to a remote location without loss of video quality, reduction in user experience or overall functionality.

The bottom line

IP-based KVM offers enhanced flexibility to broadcasters in the way they manage infrastructure and workflows, enabling direct improvement of ROI. It also provides the quality required for today's demanding environment, which is likely to become more complex in the future.

As the broadcast industry constantly evolves and pushes boundaries, so too will IP-based KVM technology. KVM solutions will continue to evolve and meet the needs of broadcast experts while enabling users to transcend traditional boundaries.

Tim Conway, VP, Adder Technology

Tim Conway, VP, Adder Technology

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