Converged media IP network

Media organizations use their IP based (or regular-IT) network in all kinds of different workflows: for standard office work to high bandwidth transport for post production of large media files (file-based flows).

Trends, such as working anywhere, anytime and the industry moving to IP-based live TV production are challenging the IP based media network. In a converged media IP network, the different media workflows (editing, file transfer, live SDI over IP, software based media processes, best effort office IT,… ) would run over the same shared IP network. 

Common of the shelf (COTS) IT technologies and products in broadcast environments reduce costs and provide more agile, flexible and scalable operational and creative workflows. To get insights on the possibilities, SDNSquare and VRT have integrated and learned about the challenges an opportunities, these converged media IP networks provide. 


VRT and SDNSquare have setup three different kinds of media IP workflows, each with their own specific requirements in terms of latency, packet loss, etc.. 
Finally we combined these three workflows to be executed simultaneous on a converged media IP network. The combination demonstrated a reliable and efficient network for these different kinds of competing workflows over the same network: SDI over IP, (non-linear) Editing, High speed file Transfer.

Setup use case 1: POST-PRODUCTION news environment

In this use-case we simulate editors who are composing a video for a news article. This news item needs to be delivered in time as expected, meaning there is not much margin for failing or lagging material due to latency. 

The editors, using Avid craft tools, view the essence which is streamed from a GPFS file server (Scenario 1). These video's generate about 0,7Gbps of bandwidth over a 10Gbps network.

When an extra intense file transfer (10Gbps) occurs, the network becomes oversubscribed, causing the editors not to perform their tasks (Scenario 2). The bandwidth drops to zero.

While running this workflows, the demo shows how other (noisy) traffic over the network can impact this critical media workflow. This problem is usually solved by over-provisioning the network for guaranteeing network performance.

With the GRID solution provided by SDNsquare, we managed the network and the performance by giving dedicated network bandwidth for the editors, resolving the issue (scenario 3 & secenario 4). The setup is able to enforce Quality Of Service (QoS).

Setup use case 2: SDI over ip

In this use case a live camera feed (SDI) is converted over an IP converter and transferred over the IP network to another location on premise where it is being converted back to SDI and played on a monitor. SDI over IP requires guaranteed delivery without interference. This delivery could be guaranteed with the Grid solution.

SETUP USE CASE 3: Remote production over wan

In this use case a remote production has been been setup. From our offices located in Ghent, 80km from our offices in Brussels, 3 simultaneous media flows were initiated. The first one is playing 2 DV50 videos on the Avid13 editing machine. The second is the transfer of voice traffic with a bit rate of 100Mb/s and the third IP stream is generated with a UDP file transfer. An over-subscription on the slow WAN Port becomes a bottleneck towards remote destinations. SDNSquare management of the switches with the GRID solution was able to control the QoS..

SETUP USE CASE 4: All previous cases together

In the demo various editing clients are collaboratively editing from a central storage over the LAN.  At the same time a live camera feed converted via SDI over IP converters and file-based transfers were sent over the LAN (or WAN) demonstrating SDI over IP, file transfer and live editing (or remote editing over WAN). 

In Short:

The GRID network management system is open and interoperable with other media vendor workflow management systems

  • The demo is a first of a kind 100% converged media network: editing, file transfer and SDI/IP over same network
  • Controlled mix of best effort connectivity (normal IT traffic and non critical media IP traffic) and guaranteed flows (mission critical Media IP traffic).
  • Bandwidth control per media workflow
  • Low latency network
  • Easy management and integration possible via REST-API into 3rd party workflow management system
  • Linear scalable and cost efficient/addressable: up to 100% link usage shared over multiple flows
  • Vendor neutral and inter-operable
  • Commercial off the shelve switches (cisco, juniper, ...) can be used, reducing total cost and improving flexibility (evolution to 4k).

Most broadcasters going to full IP will separate the network for SDI over IP from all other traffic, but there are certainly advantages and creative use-cases for combining all IP traffic in a Converged Media IP network. 

Koen MeyskensIP