Understand the methods that can be used to carry audio and video signals where they need to go, help determine the design of the AV infrastructure. Kyles S. Davis, Content Strategist of Harman Pro, explains in this article are the ways of distributing AV signals are: AV hardware owner, a LAN and the existing enterprise network.

The AV distribution is essentially the method used to carry signals of audio and video from source to destination. Processing may stop halfway, but the route it takes to get there is distribution, AV infrastructure.

Like the transport infrastructure of a country, the AV infrastructure is the complex set of routes used to connect everything. These pathways may merge, divide and even offer multiple ways to reach the same place. And like the transport infrastructure, determine the best method for carrying AV signals is a highly political issue, everyone seems to have an opinion on it.

Generally speaking, there are three main ways to distribute AV signals: AV hardware owner, a network of isolated local area network (LAN) and existing enterprise network.

These methods are not mutually exclusive. Rarely a single distribution method for the entire AV infrastructure is chosen, any one method of transportation infrastructure of an entire country will be elected. Understanding the three main methods to carry audio and video signals where they need to go, will help determine the best method to design the AV infrastructure.

AV Hardware Owner

The traditional method is rooted in the analog AV distribution, where the signals are sent through cable (usually copper) from source to destination.

If you need to connect multiple sources to multiple destinations, the solution required a switching matrix of some kind, a device with multiple inputs and multiple outputs that can switch between them. This approach has been extended to the digital domain, digital signals and cabling standard and fiber entering the solution.

However, many of the rules are the same, and yet an AV device built specifically for this work is required. For video, and some audio integrated solutions, this means a selector digital media (digital media switcher), AMX Enova DGX as standard.

For some solutions integrated audio, this functionality could be combined with processing in a digital signal processor (DSP), as the BSS Soundweb London series. If more input signals output, you can choose to use local ports of entry and exit of an audio mixer or audio card. Either way, the distribution method in all these cases is to use the AV technology instead of standard network technology.

Distribution over IP network independent

Although digital signals are somewhat blurred lines, the method that I am referring specifically involves the use of standard IP network equipment.

With dedicated IP solutions no need for an AV device built specifically for this work. Instead, you can use network switches (network switches), routers, etc. to create the AV infrastructure.

The way these solutions work, from a perspective of topology, varies depending on the Networked AV technology. In some cases, the distribution must be fully 'home run', which means that the distribution should only be done through a single switch with all AV devices connected to it. In other cases, they can span multiple switches in any standard network topology.

With the Blu Link protocol Harman audio is distributed in a ring topology, with no switch or router is involved.

The manner in which the distribution is implemented in hardware also varies. Sometimes, the distribution network is integrated into another AV device, a networked AV designated port on the device (DSP amplifiers Harman networked and distributed audio in this way).

In other cases, a device may be specifically designed to put AV signals on the network (such as encoders SVSI AMX) or remove them from the network (decoders).

However, in these applications, infrastructure remains a separate network from any existing IT network that can be used for Internet access, for example.

This is so for certain reasons. In some cases, the requirement is a technical necessity. For example, LED video solutions use the P3 Martin Martin protocol fail of the Gigabit Ethernet standard, but uses a proprietary Layer 2 protocol that enables rapid distribution of video on standard equipment. To accomplish this without facing traffic problems, the protocol is not compatible with existing enterprise networks.

Another reason that a solution may require a separate network would avoid problems with existing network. These may be constraints on available bandwidth or other equipment problems already present. It could also be due to some discomfort by the IT department to share the same network (or it could be a bit of both).

Different technologies have different AV distribution requirements and limitations, and in some cases, you can choose to set up an independent network of existing IT network, using both category cabling already present or new, depending on the installation.

Red IT existente

In some installations, it is possible to distribute audio and video signals through a network which is already operational. This provides maximum reach to the distribution of AV, since there is only one infrastructure in place through which to send the audio or video anywhere you want to send today, it is already connectivity present to send the signal where you want to send in tomorrow.

Of course, for distribution over the existing network possible, network requirements must be respected. The bandwidth can be particularly problematic, especially for video distribution.

When an existing network is used, even when a virtual LAN (VLAN) is executed to isolate network signals, you must ensure that the network switch can handle the full bandwidth of both the AV distribution and normal traffic net.

Con estar seguro de que el ancho de banda de la señal de vídeo represente menos del ancho de banda máximo de un switchgigabit no es suficiente. Hay que tener en cuenta todos los flujos de vídeo en el switch, así como el tráfico normal. Las tecnologías de red, como el multicast y el IGMP snooping, pueden ayudar a evitar que toda la red se inunde, pero también hay que considerar el tráfico normal de IT. Es por ello que es importante obtener retroalimentación y aceptación del departamento de IT para tener un despliegue exitoso y manejable.

AV distribution method you use depends largely on the application of that question. Physical limitations, environmental and even from management decisions, influence the method of choice.

For example, can a conference room solution that connects local AV sources to a nearby screen have. Since not involved a great distance to consider, you can use an AV selector (ie, traditional distribution).

While there are technologies that use traditional distribution over long distances, it is especially profitable when sources and outlets are nearby. You can also use IP-based distribution, using an independent IT network. The option chosen depends on the characteristics desired.

Dedicated AV selectors, such as AMX N7142, offer integrated capabilities that can be interesting, such as DSP, amplification and control.

For this example we have chosen to use traditional AV switch for distribution in the room. However, if you want to display digital signage on the screen when the space is not in use, the AV networked is a common choice for the distribution of digital signage as it has the advantage of being able to climb endless solution, provided the network can handle the traffic.

If networked AV is used for digital signage can add a decoder to the solution of the conference room to carry digital signaling via the existing IT network.

Ahora tenemos un sistema híbrido. El vídeo de señalización digital se envía a través de la red informática existente al decodificador. El decodificador está conectado al selector AV y utiliza la distribución AV tradicional para pasar del decodificador a la pantalla. En este caso se está utilizando múltiples métodos de distribución en la misma aplicación, aprovechando los beneficios de cada una para obtener una aplicación general más completa.

We could extend this scenario and include a number of new parameters that could make audio and video will be connected in different ways. But even though the design can be complex, have a good understanding of the basics, including the three main distribution options, contributes greatly simplify the options and make the task less daunting.

S. Kyles Davis

Content Strategist de Harman Professional Solutions (Distributor in Spain and Portugal AVIT Vision)

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By • 27 Mar, 2017
• Section: Audio, Display, Distribution signals, Networks, Grandstands

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