AES Announces AES67-2013 Networked Audio-Over-IP Interoperability Standard

The Audio Engineering Society (AES) last week officially announced publication of AES67-2013, a new engineering standard for networked/streaming audio-over-IP interoperability.

The standard was created to address the fact that, although a number of networked audio systems have been developed to support high-performance media networking, until now there were no recommendations for operating these systems in an interoperable manner. AES67-2013 provides comprehensive interoperability recommendations in the areas of synchronization, media-clock identification, network transport, encoding and streaming, session description, and connection management.

The standard addresses high-performance media networks that support professional-quality audio (16 bit, 44.1 kHz and higher) with low latencies (less than 10 ms) compatible with live-sound reinforcement. The level of network performance required to meet these requirements is available on local-area networks (LANs) and is also achievable on enterprise-scale networks.

Creating a compatible roadmap for networked audio-system designs in large-scale installations, AES67-2013 will have significant implications for live-sound systems used in sports venues. A complete copy of the standard can be obtained here (free to AES members, $50 for non-members).

The project was initiated by the AES in December 2010 under the project name AES-X192. In August 2012, the AES and EBU jointly announced an active collaboration to achieve interoperability of networked audio. The intent was not to invent new technology but to identify an interoperable subset of existing technologies to achieve this goal. Task Group SC-02-12-H, under the leadership of Kevin Gross, media network consultant at AVA Networks, met regularly, using Web conferencing and e-mail to refine and clarify the necessary parameters.

Gross was chair of the task group that developed the AES67 standard as well as the vice-chair of the working group that supervised it. He says that users of the major audio-networking products — Qsys, AVB, Ravenna, Dante — will be able to apply the new standards to them, providing a clear roadmap for making them interoperable with each other. It does this by finding the common operational traits among them, such as audio-over-IP and the inclusion of precision-timing protocol IEEE 1588, and outlining ways they can be connected through them.

What AES67 does, says Gross, is “open the box and create transparency” between different systems. “Even if you are using proprietary networking systems,” he says, “there are ways for them to be networked together using AES67.”

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