The AoIP technology is catching pace, and we anticipate that it will become a standard practice for audio broadcast in the M&E space
By Anisha Gakhar
Just when the M&E industry was embracing IP technology across many a broadcast domain, Audio over IP (AoIP) invaded the audio broadcast space. AoIP means distribution of digital audio across an IP network. It has started being used extensively, to enable an improved quality of audio feeds over long distances. The technology is also sometimes known as audio contribution over IP (ACIP).
This enhancement typically comes in handy, when production has to be executed away from the home studios, in remote locations. For example, the crew might want to hear the on-air program and the producer’s comments, in sync, to ensure that the show runs seamlessly. The technology facilitates a smooth audio experience, irrespective of inter-mixing of noise signals, call-ins or external distractions.
An Audio-over-IP transport technology that directly addresses the convergence of broadcast operations with IT infrastructure might prove to be a reasonably ideal solution for audio broadcasting. As the smartphone gains importance for being a versatile general purpose input/output device, technology that connects the worlds with it, gain centre stage too. People with a VoIP SIP based phone system tend to look for solutions that have a one button dial environment.
Moving to an IP infrastructure with a standardised system, in turn makes design and commissioning of the set-up, an undemanding experience. Consumers get to savour better content, by virtue of media companies being able to spin up channels in a matter of days, thanks to IP workflows. It also means broadcasters can add pop-up channels as and when the need arises.
As the broadcast community tends towards migrating to IP, the AES67 technical standard is expected to dominate audio transport technology. It endows users with the flexibility that they had in the traditional analogue/digital world, over a single IP interface. Whether in the case of trucks, production studios or sports events, AoIP comes across as a promising provider of low-cost infrastructure.
GatesAir’s Intraplex AoIP technology is a software-defined innovation that lives on a COTS x86 server, providing broadcasters with a scalable, redundant and cloud-based transport platform
for multichannel contribution and distribution.
The integration of multichannel AoIP transport into a facility’s IT infrastructure offers several tangible benefits for broadcasters and network operators. The platform first streamlines installation and management by removing the need for many separate codecs and auxiliary hardware components, freeing multiple equipment racks in enterprise-level facilities. Furthermore, the solution is compatible with AES67 and Dante on the studio side, allowing users to manage many Secure Reliable Transport (SRT) streams on a centralised cloud platform, an industry-first in AoIP for broadcasters. SRT is a low-latency open source media streaming protocol which provides packet encryption and re-transmission capabilities for reliability and security.
ENSURING A ROBUST SYSTEM
To further strengthen stream robustness and reliability, GatesAir is additionally integrating Dynamic Stream Splicing (DSS), an Intraplex technology that diversifies data across redundant networks to SRT. The addition of DSS to SRT will add additional protection against certain types of packet losses and complete network failures.
“As broadcast and IT convergence accelerates, the industry is in need of solutions that cleanly integrate into the IT infrastructure and implement secure, reliable transport across wide-area networks,” said Keyur Parikh, VP and GM, Intraplex Product Line. “Broadcast networks will now have a simple platform to manage many channels coming in and out of the studio or headend that runs on a single, highly-redundant, multi-core server, versus maintaining multiple racks of hardware codecs. Additionally, our SRT capability increases stream security and reliability through re-transmission of lost packets and payload encryption. The added value of Dynamic Stream Splicing, a proven technology used worldwide in IP Link codecs today, will arguably create the industry’s most robust and reliable Audio over IP transport platform,” concluded Parikh.