The Benefits of AV over IP on your network
The benefits of Video over IP have become an essential aspect of AV systems. However, AV networks can add a layer of complication to an existing IP network and add more requirements to the AV system. Nevertheless, the adoption of networked AV systems has been picking up recently, and IT managers are warming up to having all these devices connected to their network.
The days of video switchers will soon be over. They will all be replaced with network switches. While this transition does add a few complications to older AV distribution systems, it can add many benefits. However, with all the existing standards, things can get very confusing.
Dante and AVB have been battling over AV over IP standards in the audio world, while in the video world, it has been less about standards and more about who’s products are best. Many video products use the same standards, but several manufacturers have developed different variations. The one that plays nice with others is H.264 video. However, it does not work for every solution as it has higher latency. Any amount of latency can be an issue for real-time video environments. Although a few solutions support 4K with little to no latency, they require a lot of bandwidth and usually only work within one manufacturer’s family of products.
AV Central Management and Support
Centralized remote monitoring and management have been slow to catch on until recently. Since it’s becoming more critical for AV systems to reside on an IP network, monitoring has become more important. The IT department usually monitors most IT devices, so it’s natural to want the same for AV systems that use the network.
A benefit of networked AV is that many AV devices support SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol), a standard for managing monitoring applications. Those devices that don’t use standard SNMP are managed by their manufacturer’s software protocol and may require custom configurations to work with other manufacturer systems.
Having AV devices on a network makes it possible to centrally manage the devices and recieve remote support. The AV management software allows you to monitor systems and create alerts to stay on top of issues before anyone calls the help desk. A third-party support service can securely log in to diagnose a problem if troubleshooting is required to resolve an issue.
Traditional systems are restricted by I/O (Input/Output). With networked AV, your restrictions become the number of switch ports and hardware processing power. Similar to a server with X amount of power, it can only handle X amount of simultaneous users. As a result, your investment becomes more valuable because the ability to scale over time is possible without a significant upfront cost.
Adding, moving, and expanding devices on a networked AV system is highly cost-effective. Traditional AV networks can get expensive and complicated, but with an AV over IP networked system, it is greatly simplified. For example, in a video system with only a few sources but 30 endpoints that all need to select between those sources, you would need a traditional 32×32 video switcher. With an AV over IP network, those AV connections can all be converted to travel the LAN without needing an expensive video switcher.
Traditionally, AV systems used all point-to-point cabling. Networking your AV systems is now just another drop from the nearest IDF. This significant advantage eliminates the need for long, expensive direct cable runs, which can be costly and sometimes require a fiber optic network.