Intelligent KVM systems for broadcast facilities – advantages, fields of application and challenges for the future
Will the technology used in broadcasting solely consist of IP devices? For years, IP has been entering all areas of life. Especially control room applications as they are typically deployed in broadcasting benefit from the IP revolution in many ways. But an “IP-only broadcast world” is not yet here. Nevertheless, the trend clearly moves towards IP transmission, even though a large part of content production still uses traditional transmission paths. And therefore we continue to live in a hybrid world, using both original and IP-based technology. KVM experts Guntermann und Drunck still rely on both original KVM and KVM-over-IP™ to be able to offer their customers the best of both worlds.
Are there any recommendations for when to choose classic KVM over KVM-over-IP™? Unfortunately, this question has no universal answer since an answer would always depend on individual project parameters and customer wishes.
Original KVM is based on dedicated cabling. Therefore, a dedicated network is usually set up for the systems. This has the great advantage that the available bandwidth can be used optimally without having to add further network-compatible devices consuming bandwidth. The producers enjoy optimum performance with the best possible image quality and the best possible user experience. One should also keep in mind that thanks to the standard connection technology, existing cable structures can still be used or even be expanded. Last but not least, original KVM systems offer maximum access security thanks to the total control of the medium.
G&D has even further expanded their portfolio of original KVM matrix systems in order to better meet customer requirements. The manufacturer now offers seventeen expansion stages of the compact ControlCenter-Compact matrix series. With this portfolio expansion, the company will be able to always offer its customers a suitable and tailor-made solution according to project requirements.
KVM-over-IP™ – does everything now revolve around IP?
The IP revolution provides media professionals and IT administrators with many advantages. Today, planners and technicians often look for solutions for standardizing their network technology and integrating KVM components into the existing infrastructure. The use of existing cabling, switches and routers does not only save costs, but above all provides flexibility and simplification through central administration. Standard network components ensure that existing IT installations can be scaled more easily, flexibly and cost-effectively. Under certain circumstances, existing structures can even be shared.
The demand for IP solutions is high and will increasingly dominate the KVM market in the coming years. Today, G&D is already building the technology of tomorrow and therefore presented a new matrix for KVM-over-IP™ last year. Together with a series of IP extenders, the ControlCenter-IP forms a powerful matrix system with which every connected workstation can access every remote computer. In a conventional network, KVM-over-IP™ packets are transported by network switches and routers, with the ControlCenter IP contributing the switching logic. Transmission takes place compressed with CAT cabling or optical fibres via standard IP-based Layer 3 networks, with a data transmission rate of up to 1 Gbit/s per line. So any connected broadcast operator can access any remote computer. Thus, broadcasters benefit from the full performance of their computers even when operating them remotely but yet in real time.
Powerful and flexible
Today's networks are becoming increasingly powerful. Networks with 40Gbit or even 100Gbit/s bandwidth are no longer considered a major technological breakthrough. This creates opportunities for technologies outside the content chain. The big advantage: system administrators are familiar with IP, and KVM-over-IP seems to be the next logical step for IT-supported structures in broadcasting. The new ControlCenter-IP captures the spirit of the times and combines all advantages of G&D's classic matrix systems with the flexibility of IP networks.
By using standard network components, IT structures can now be scaled even easier and more cost-effectively. This way the ControlCenter-IP can be optimally integrated into existing media or broadcast control and monitoring systems and works in perfect combination with SMPTE 2110 workflows.
Another advantage of IP-supported structures are duplex-capable IP networks. In such networks, the cabling can be used to transmit KVM packets in both directions. This provides maximum flexibility, so that under certain circumstances – e.g. in broadcast houses in which two company buildings are to be connected – cabling can be saved.
Jochen Bauer, Director of Sales & Marketing at G&D, emphasizes: "The IP systems certainly do not generally replace the classic systems since they have their own advantages and are still often used in many projects.” Whether IP or classic, the more important point is: in order to have a future-proof installation, systems must be adaptable so that they can still be used even with changing requirements and can be retrofitted as the system architecture grows. G&D are therefore particularly proud to offer the largest compatible and combinable KVM portfolio on the market. This ensures that the customers’ installations are future-proof and expandable.
However, even after a lot of thought it is still not possible to give a general recommendation for IP or for original KVM systems, since each project can be designed very individually on the basis of the project requirements and framework conditions. In addition to project parameters, which play a significant role when deciding between original or IP, subjective factors are extremely important, too. With their many years of experience, G&D's KVM experts will be on hand to advise their customers at booth 1.D39 at IBC 2019, from 13 - 17 September 2019 in their individual projects.