Often, when we have a point release (for example, 1.6 instead of 2.0), that release is driven by a new piece of hardware. Tesira 2.4 is different; a major portion of Tesira 2.4 emerged from the desire to meet customer demand related to our Dante™ card, which led us to explore new tools that enhanced the way we network with multiple protocols. The core of the 2.4 release includes group of network enhancement tools that were developed as part of the process of responding to these needs. This release also includes a significant VoIP release, which allows our VoIP hardware to interface with Microsoft Lync Enterprise Voice and Skype for Business VoIP systems.
At present, there is no industry-wide standard for VoIP. With any VoIP provider, we have to optimize our firmware to ensure VoIP integrates properly. While Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is a common method of connection used by all VoIP technology, there are many other elements of VoIP that vary between providers. We have a list of four certified VoIP systems – Cisco, Avaya, ShoreTel, and Mitel – for which we have optimized our Tesira VoIP solutions. With the release of Tesira 2.4 we will also be compatible with Lync Enterprise Voice and Skype for Business. With Tesira 2.4, Biamp becomes one of the earliest VoIP interfacing audio manufacturers to support use with Microsoft’s VoIP solutions. In addition to support for Lync, Tesira 2.4 also supports the Tesira HD-1 Dialer, allowing you to initiate calls using a familiar physical keypad situated on the tabletop.
New Network Tools
Tesira 2.4 includes several new network tools. Two of the primary elements are nameable networks and selectable clocks. Since the release of the DAN-1 card, Tesira has supported three protocols – AVB, CobraNet®, and Dante – which can be used simultaneously if needed. In the past, only one network was available for each protocol, regardless of how many cards are designated for that network or how many cards for that protocol were present in a single SERVER-IO. With nameable networks in Tesira 2.4, you can have multiple networks of the same protocol by creating custom, human-readable names and dedicated IP settings for each network. For example, consider a building complex that has multiple auditoriums with sound reinforcement systems. Each auditorium has its own dedicated Dante network on which the live sound reinforcement system is built. Tesira 2.4 will allow the Tesira network to run all of the building’s audio. You can have one Dante card designated for the building’s West Auditorium (“Dante West,” for example) and another designated for the Grand Auditorium (“Dante Grand”). Each auditorium has its own Dante network and Dante card, with different IP settings, but they can be part of one Tesira system and audio can be routed to and from each network through Tesira. The rest of the building audio system can be on the Tesira AVB/TSN network. Every network must have at least one interface card, but you can create numerous networks of AVB, CobraNet, Dante, or some combination thereof. In the past, those cards would have to reside on the same network in order to communicate with one another and pass audio back and forth. Tesira 2.4 allows you to bridge between two independent networks. No other provider has this level of network architecture flexibility.
Selectable clocks are another major Tesira 2.4 network enhancement. With any network protocol, you need a media clock to keep the data synched and ensure all data arrives in the proper order so it gets reassembled correctly into an audio signal. Tesira has always generated a clock on which everything runs, and it included a requirement that any other devices connected to a Tesira system receive the media clock from Tesira. For example, if you connect a Tesira system to a Dante network, that Dante network must allow Tesira to serve as its master clock. This arrangement works well with devices that permit it, but many popular devices do not allow you to lower their priority and will always “battle” to be the master. As a result, devices that enforced themselves as master or also had an operational requirement to be the master were incompatible with Tesira over Dante. Until now.
With Tesira 2.4, you can now select a device other than Tesira to supply the media clock. If you’re connected to a network (Network 1) that has a digital mixer that does not allow other devices to be the master, you can designate that mixer as the master, and Tesira will receive clock from that device. Our internal AVB clock is derived from this arrangement. If a Tesira device is connected to other networks (Network 2, Network 3, etc.), it can clock those networks even if it is receiving clock from that master device on Network 1. This development provides unprecedented flexibility.
The Future of AV and IT Integration
For years, the AV market has been spilling over into the IT space. As this spillover increased, IT stakeholders began to accept networked AV, but continued to treat it as an isolated island rather than a part of a larger network, primarily due to the complex clock hierarchies involved and other nuances that may have seemed strange to IT professionals. Isolated AV networks are now on the decline as AV systems are increasingly integrated into enterprise networks, but conflicts remain. Tesira 2.4 was developed in part to ease these conflicts, and enables the DSP system to fit into a facility’s existing network shape more smoothly, rather than dictating the way the network “should” operate. In addition to its multiple available protocols, as well as the sheer capability of a Tesira system’s DSP, Tesira 2.4 allows it to adapt to other networks’ needs and shapes. Nameable networks and selectable clocks are significant tools that change the relationship between IT and AV in a radical way. With the introduction of Tesira 2.4, integration of AV and IT is more of a reality.
For more information on these features, keep an eye on Cornerstone, Biamp’s technical support knowledgebase, as we get closer to the public release of Tesira 2.4.