Enterprise organizations look at ways to increase efficiencies and cut overhead costs the larger they grow. One of the strategies implemented is providing a secure platform to create a scalable AV environment. In short, a scalable AV environment results in significant cost savings when future-proofing conference rooms, board rooms, huddle spaces, etc. AV over IP is the transmission of audio/video data over a network such as a LAN, WAN, or the internet. As opposed to traditional AV environments, AV over IP refers to the use of standard network equipment to transmit, control and switch video and audio. This allows significantly for more flexibility and less cabling in AV projects.
AV over IP: How it Works
The AV over IP model differs from traditional AV designs in that it’s essentially a streaming infrastructure. Typically, video and audio streaming over the network isn’t a new thing, but AV over IP technology takes streaming to a different level. Instead of placing HDBaseT transmitters and receivers at all the devices in the room, the AV over IP model calls for an encoder at each source device and a decoder at each destination device. In addition, the encoders and decoders are all connected to standard Ethernet switches. As a result, you can connect as many encoders and decoders as your network design allows — with the ability to scale up at lower costs. Based on the network configuration, your also no longer limited to AV signals being confined within the room.
AV over IP Standards
Being a relatively new technology, manufacturers and industry compliance agencies have yet to develop compliance standards. Therefore, several AV over IP solutions transmit audio video on certain networks differently than others. Several AV-over-IP solutions use standards-based packetization for transmitting on IP networks and compatibility with IP switches. In addition, some use proprietary packetization schemes which also work on IP networks and standard IP switches, but not on all. Crestron, Intel and Microsoft are rumored to be working on boards that would go into monitors and projectors. This new technology will be used to standardize security of video endpoints.
Command and control: The command-and-control layer protects the network with permissions, passwords, and encryption. There is an equivalent responsibility for the command-and-control layer on vendors selling traditional AV as well as those selling AV over IP.
Content security: There is no substitute for comprehensive planning and deployment efforts when it comes to securing your content. In fact, some feel that the ability to encrypt packetized video and audio is superior to traditional baseband video to prevent unauthorized access. Keep in mind that IP security has been around for a long time. Technologies such as Voice over IP (VoIP) have gone through multiple generations of constant security improvements. In addition to information about IP network security and content encryption, there are also many well-established consultants and experts in the security field to assist you—no matter how sophisticated or basic your requirements are.
Network security: Deployment of AV over IP is possible on either separate, unrelated networks as well as your existing infrastructure. AV-over-IP implementations, whether on separate or existing infrastructure, achieves this without compromising the IT network security. In many organizations, the ability to integrate data, communications, and AV together drives engagement and key benefit for AV deployments.
The IP network expertise from the computer networking world has value even more in the AV space. Barriers that once existed between AV and IT, now find themselves bulldozed down, creating a catalyst for collaboration and innovation. The future for this new technology looks very strong. Crestron (a leading HDBaseT solutions manufacturer) has developed their new AV over IP product in their NVX solution. To elaborate, NVX encoder/decoder transports 4K60 4:4:4 signal (along with many other features) over standard 1 Gb/sec Ethernet cabling and switches. As time goes on, more industry manufacturers will develop innovative products centered around this technology.
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