FutureSPORT: Move to IP Routing as Much About Education as Tech

SVG’s FutureSPORT conference last week took a fresh look at the move to IP-based routing infrastructures, a move that will require a new way of thinking when it comes to remote-production operations and facility design. But the benefits are clearly there: more flexibility in handling future formats; less need for cabling, an important consideration in remote production; and greater agility in transitioning from one event to the next.

FSbadgelogo2015“IP is not new,” said Media 180 co-founder Eric Dufosse. “But, in the truck, there will be hundreds if not thousands of devices that will need to manage IP traffic, and people need to understand the fundamentals of that.”

Helping with such understanding is that more and more IP-based routing gear is moving into the mainstream. Evertz, for example, has two dozen IP-based routing installations, according to Vince Silvestri, VP, software systems, Evertz Microsystems.

“The overwhelming theme in the transition from circuit-based to packet-based switching is the adaptability,” he said. “Yes, agility is important, but we don’t know what is coming with 4K and 8K and metadata. The packet-switched world is much more adaptable. Plus, you have a nice convergence of the best practices in IP and broadcast.”

Mark Hilton, VP, infrastructure, Grass Valley, pointed to the recent IBC in Amsterdam, where new concepts in IP routing made it out of the whisper suite and in front of attendees.

“GV Node is our next step beyond glass-to-glass solutions,” he said. “It leverages COTS [common off-the-shelf] IP switches at the core and IP interfaces followed on at IBC.”

GV Node offers vertically accurate switching and IP aggregation of up to 144×144 video signals and 4608×4608 audio signals per 4RU node.

“IP is the first step [toward] an agile environment, where you can spin up resources and applications quickly, dynamically, and with the agility needed today,” Hilton added. “Trucks are constantly changing what they need to do day to day, and IP is much less rigid.

Forrest Sussman, director of sales, video products, Lawo Group USA, noted that the industry and crosspoint switching technology are finally at a point where technology is driving business and that IP technology allows a facility to become more scalable and also format-proof.

“And a 1RU IP switch is the equivalent of a 380×380 HD-SDI router,” he explained. “That is pretty incredible.”

According to John Mailhot, infrastructure product architecture, Imagine Communications, the industry is currently seeing the right mix of IP hardware and IP software-based elements, a key development for those looking toward UHD and things like digital ad insertion and over-the-top delivery.

“The slowest-evolving piece is the humans and their operational methodology,” he said. “The creative team sits down and expects to have things work the same way they did [before going IP]. So the goal is to make the technology work for the creative staff that uses it and make it sensible for the engineers so they don’t need Cisco level 5 Jedi training.”

Silvestri concurred, adding that the technology needs to fit the humans not the other way around.

“Every time there is a technology shift, it is jarring, and you need to create familiarity,” he explained. “So keep the router-control panels around because, at the end of the day, it is not about the technology but being able to do the job.”

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