Report from AVnu Alliance ISE 2016 Education Day

AVnu Alliance brings together integrators, consultants, installers and tech managers for an education session titled ‘Next Generation AV Network Fundamentals and Design’.

The AVnu Alliance embarked on an education push focused on Time Sensitive Networking and its commercial applications when it staged its first ISE Education Day prior to the opening of ISE 2016. 

The organisation brought together integrators, consultants, installers and tech managers for the session titled ‘Next Generation AV Network Fundamentals and Design’ at the Amsterdam RAI in an event that carried 3 RU credits for attendees.
AVnu Alliance representatives Steve Carlson, acting as the AVnu Alliance trainer and a consultant with over 40 years of embedded control systems and networking experience, Christian Diehl from Riedel, Jan Eveleens from Axon Digital and Greg Schlechter, the AVnu Alliance Marketing Workgroup Chair, instructed over 50 attendees on topics ranging from the history of digital networking to Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) in the real world. 

Carlson kicked off the session exploring the principles of digital networking and a short history of Ethernet networks to set the scene for modern-day Time Sensitive Networking applications. This session focused on the 40-year history of Ethernet networks from its start as the first non-proprietary computer network to its eventual dominance in the traditional IT space. 

As we move into the 21st century, Ethernet has evolved and new extensions bring real-time, deterministic functionality to audio, video and control applications. Carlson explained how this new functionality will eventually be “baked in” to Ethernet similar to other enhancements over the past forty years. 

Christian Diehl built on this background by explaining TSN network topology and shared what small systems look like compared to what massive theme park-sized networks require.  He demonstrated the scalability of TSN and explained the standards. 

Attendees were also briefed on the network needs for AV, and how TSN can help simplify and remedy common issues such as time synchronisation, delays and network congestion. “IEEE 802.1 AVB/TSN were designed to solve these issues,” said Diehl. “AVB/TSN standards are just Ethernet with precise timing, bandwidth reservation and low latency.” 

AVnu Alliance instructors also tackled myths they perceived in the industry. One myth they looked to debunk was, “AVB switches are special and can’t be used in a regular network.” Instructors explained that AVB switches are standard Ethernet switches and can be used anywhere; AVB functions come in addition to standard switch functions. Diehl and Carlson also explained that, despite the recent increased focus on Industrial and Automotive applications for TSN, there are still additional useful functions TSN can provide on top of the core AVB standards in the AV industry. “Some functions of TSN may be useful to the AV industry,” Diehl explained. “You have to pick and choose them as necessary.” 

For one of the final sessions of the day, AVnu Alliance experts expanded upon their examination of the design and requirements for TSN networks with several case studies. Each of the real-world applications they highlighted increased the performance and reliability of the network, while reducing cost and complexity. 

Carlson and Diehl first laid out the system requirements for several common application settings including performance venues, houses of worship and conference spaces. “In a mobile environment like a stadium, you must have a highly reliable AV network that can be set up and configured on the go,” said Diehl. 

To share how the AVnu Alliance has been involved in these real-world applications, they shared details on recent case studies in live sound, corporate headquarters and amusement parks. AVnu Alliance members Meyer Sound and Extreme Networks were heavily involved in the recent AV installation of Kaka’s Great Adventure, a theatre show at Chimelong Ocean Kingdom in Zhuhai, China, which won the 2016 International Project gong at the InAVation Awards. 

The 1,000-seat, 5D theatre opened in June 2015. Meyer Sound provided the largest cinema audio system worldwide, consisting of 2,119 speakers, some of which were special effect speakers and in-seat audio speakers. The integrator on the job, Kraftwerk, selected AVB to simplify the installation and handle the heavily utilised network. “The fact that the AVB data shares the same network infrastructure as the control data is proof that the AVB and other common network tasks can coexist, even on heavily utilised networks,” said Leo Wagner, infrastructure manager for Kraftwerk. “Use of AVB greatly simplified installation, while affording greater flexibility in developing the audio effects.” 

To close out the Education Day, Jan Eveleens, CEO of Axon Digital took the stage to look at AVB/TSN in the broadcast market. Eveleens explained and demonstrated how AVB/TSN in the context of broadcast specific infrastructure requirements and showed how video and audio signals can be transported over AVB/TSN networks. 

AVnu Alliances’ 2016 education program will continue with a series of training days, including the Second Annual Conference on Time Sensitive Networks and Applications (TSNA 2016) as well as another Education Day at InfoComm 2016. 

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