Protocols and Networking’s Impact on Pro-AV


Every major manufacturer of video technologies in the Commercial and Pro AV world is, or has already, bringing to market a video network transport technology that is advertised as leveraging the existing investment in your network to expand your video distribution footprint.  Common use cases for this technology include: video over-flow, digital signage, video distribution, wayfinding, etc…

While making use of already deployed infrastructure to expand another service and potentially save on further investment is a solid selling point, this is typically not how these systems work out.  The most trouble free deployments of this technology exist as effectively a totally isolated system not dissimilar from the more widespread AV technologies already on the market distributing video as baseband or slightly modulated/transformed signaling.  However, there are ways to leverage this technology effectively if approached in a planful manner with extensive cross-team work with a client’s IT/Networking team that can make this technology coexist on a network.  

At its core, AVoIP in the video realm is a one to one or a one to many deployment model.  Network technologies supporting this application on a network include IGMP, IP, Unicast, MultiCast, etc.

Typical bandwidth needs for quality images across the network are ~500mb/s for 4K video and 250mb/s for 1080p.  Many vendors will allow a user to push up to 1gb/s (and higher) across a network, but this starts hitting a diminishing return over 500mbs in our experience (content dependent).  That said, we have deployed 1gbs with success.  

A few items that MUST be paid attention to while designing, planning, deploying, and supporting these systems.

1: Content: What type an what quality of content to be distributed

2: Topology: Map the physical and logical topologies of the network

3: Network hardware design

4: Protocol support: Does your hardware support the protocols necessary for this work on your current hardware

5: Hardware capabilities with this use case in mind (can a switch support 10-20gb mutlicast MALOC on a switch’s RAM?

6: Power: PoE or localized power to the coding units?

7: Support and Administration must be effective and ideally on-hand in order to provide the best experience.  

8: The onsite team must also be bought in to this solution as THE solution that they want to leverage for the lowest friction to deployment and support.

After deploying a number of these systems at differing scales, we can say that client and user adoption of these systems is the most key factor in these deployments being successful.  While this media technology has great flexibility and potential, there is still a large place in the market for baseband (HDbT and direct connect solutions) signaling systems.  

If the vision of your next project lines up with this type of technology that provides tremendous flexibility and scalability while adding (at the outset) complexity, reach out for a conversation with our sales team to review the options we can provide ranging from basic conference room AV distribution to production and broadcast distribution systems leveraging SMPTE 2110 and it’s various flavors.

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