The EBU has published a specification detailing the minimum user requirements for IP-based production equipment and the standards and protocols it should support in order to allow users to build and manage IP-based facilities in an efficient manner. EBU Tech 3371 helps broadcasters define their own requirements and provides guidance for the industry.

When system architects at broadcasters around the world began to receive their first pieces of IP-based production equipment, they quickly noted how complex and labour-intensive it was to build a working production infrastructure from them – certainly compared to good old SDI technology. It became clear very quickly that the SMPTE ST 2110 transport standard is a powerful platform, but that more automation is required to allow engineers to build and manage a large-scale facility efficiently.

An analogy helps to illustrate the issue: early telephone networks required more than just compatible receivers and copper wire to become an effective means of mass communication. To achieve that, services such as phone directories were developed, reducing the need for human intervention to manage the network. Similarly, the SMPTE ST 2110 data plane needs to be complemented by a control plane to be an effective platform. The AMWA NMOS Interface specifications fills this gap and should be supported.

Defining a solution

The EBU Strategic Programme on Production Infrastructures has established a working group to formulate concrete requirements, and it has now produced a specification: EBU Tech 3371 on “Minimum User Requirements to Build and Manage an IP-Based Media Facility” details the common stack of standards and technologies required to ensure that ST-2110-based hardware can be integrated into infrastructures as effortlessly as SDI-based equipment.

Beyond the pure Media Transport layer, these minimum user requirements include Time and Synchronisation, Discovery, Connection Management, Configuration, Monitoring, and last but not least, Security. Together, these layers of standards, specifications and recommendations form what is now being termed the “Technology Pyramid for Media Nodes”.

The specified “Pyramid” is the result of trials and real implementations conducted by EBU Members, and forms a contribution to the industry’s drive to further mature IP-based production technology.

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