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application as the replacement of conventional multicore audio “snakes” with networked audio connectivity can be beneficial — from easier deployment, lighter weight and reduced complexity in construction and maintenance. 5. What are some elements that one should look for when starting the transition to IP? Other big advantages that come from transporting audio and video signals on an IP network include the capability for remotely monitoring signal flow and the health of these signals from virtually anywhere in the world, and the ability to easily and speedily reconfigure a single piece of equipment connected to the network, or simultaneously make changes to any number of network-connected devices. Similarly, a network environment like this lends itself to dynamic reconfiguration to accommodate special routing and/or processing requirements during certain portions of the broadcast day, or for the origination of special events outside the studio environment. These SDN and IP- connected systems could eventually lead to the abandonment of conventional outside broadcast practices, with little more than direct-to-cloud cameras deployed at the sports center or other remote venue, and switching, DVE, monitoring, intercom and other equipment remaining behind at the studio facility and repurposed as required. Established broadcast manufacturers are jumping on the IP bandwagon by offering gear to create IP infrastructures, but it’s important to identify those solutions which offer user-friendly switching and monitoring. 4. What approach should broadcasters take when moving over to IP? The best way to approach this move to IP is to learn from our recent move to digital. Transitioning from a conventional infrastructure to an IP-connected environment doesn’t necessarily mean a “flash cut” any more than it did when moving from analog to digital. A much more reasonable approach was to ease into the new technology with the creation of “islands of digital.” Similarly, a “hybrid” approach to IP can be the reasonable line of attack when making the move to this new technology. Several broadcast audio monitor manufacturers are already offering interfaces to tie IP switching to conventional A/V routing operations. While the success of several large audio and video IP implementations in recent years should allay any concerns about latency and lack of predictability in packet delivery, beginning with the audio side of things might be the least stressful way to go when moving to IP. Any packet delays that might occur are rarely a factor in audio delivery, as they’re well within the window of consumer acceptability. In planning and implementing such an audio IP “island,” as I previously mentioned, a number of broadcast audio monitor manufacturers offer control system interfacing to make the new way of doing business operationally transparent to control room personnel and alleviate any angst associated with it. Similarly, audio signal monitoring within a hybrid environment should be equally transparent to operators, provided appropriate monitoring gear is installed. Ideally, only a single monitoring instrument should be necessary for observing both legacy and IP-networked audio. In selecting a suitable monitor, you also need to consider its ability to work with a variety of protocols. There is still some industry uncertainty about which is ideally the “best” networking system, since multiple, and not necessarily compatible and sometimes proprietary, protocols like RavennaTM, DanteTM, AES67 and others exist at the present time. While a number of monitoring solutions are available from several manufacturers, few have the ability to work with both existing audio “flavors” (analog, discrete and SDI-muxed AES/ EBU) and IP-delivered audio arriving in a multiplicity of protocols. Even fewer IP audio monitors can transmit AoIP, making it a versatile gateway component. One line offering this versatility is Wohler’s iAM Series of monitors. They combine easy and intuitive operation, along with rich data displays and seamless switching between various audio formats and protocols. Wohler’s iAM- MIX and iAM-AUDIO solutions should also be considered when moving into a hybrid “conventional” and IP audio environment. In addition to monitoring, iAM units provide audio mixing capability and provide convenient labeling of sources. Both lines offer browser-based operation, front panel controls and remote monitoring and logging capability. In addition, they will continue to be easily software upgradable as new audio-over-IP protocols and standards emerge. KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 115 JULY 2016 | 55