I recently attended the 2016 Time Sensitive Networks and Applications (TSNA) Conference in San Jose, California. Representatives from all of the AVB/TSN markets, including consumer, industrial, automotive, and pro AV attended this popular event. The two-day event touched on several prominent industry topics. I’d like to share some of the highlights from this conference.
At the conference, it became apparent that the AV industry is an early adopter of AVB. We use it successfully every day, and it was great to be able to provide real world examples to conference attendees representing other industries. Although the AV industry was among the first to use AVB, other markets are not far behind. For example, an automotive company is currently mandating that sensory devices on its upcoming vehicles must use AVB/TSN, and that the components must be AVnu certified. AVnu test facilities are going to be busy!
It was refreshing to see how much AVB has grown. This single standardized protocol is being used to meet the needs of four very different markets. Despite the divergent requirements associated with these markets, they are working together toward a common goal, and all representatives have a say in how things move forward.
Although the pro AV industry still refers to the AVB/TSN protocol as AVB, the TSN aspect illustrates how AVB is evolving. TSN requirements have forced AVB protocols to become even more refined. Timing and synchronization requirements have shortened, while forwarding and queuing mechanisms are becoming more advanced. AVB improved to fit the market, and TSN can be viewed as AVB 2.0. The AVB/TSN adaption has helped to transform the networked audio protocol Biamp selected for Tesira into an even better product.
While AVB/TSN is already an IEEE standard, there was a presentation given about AVB/TSN introduction to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). The IETF group defines the standards used for TCP/IP, and this development marks the start of work that will allow AVB/TSN to become a standard at the OSI Layer 3 level. The working group for this project is called “detnet,” which is short for Deterministic Networking.
From the beginning, the intention has been to use AVB on networks with converged traffic. AV traffic was designed to intermingle with day-to-day network traffic. While this can be accomplished with other networked audio protocols, the process is manual and time-consuming. The advantage of AVB is that the network can configure itself. An AVB switch recognizes AVB traffic and can shape traffic to allow all types to coexist. The TSNA conference helped me realize just how much better AVB is at forwarding and queuing than any other audio protocol. There were specific discussions about the support QoS Cut Though and Packet Fragmentation. These are advanced functions that allow a network to perform better while ensuring minimal delay of lower priority traffic. Since this is AVB, you don’t need to be a network wizard to set it up. You get advanced feature support without the need to spend hours configuring the network to perform.
I’ll close this recap with a specific AVB/TSN use case that was presented to the conference. This use case originated from one of the non-AV industry attendees, which was particularly intriguing. While this project was completed before AVB/TSN was available, the presenter noted how much easier the installation would have been with AVB/TSN.
A company was asked to measure the noise generated by planes taking off at an airport. The goal was to monitor the wings of the airplane to better understand the acoustical phenomena produced as air moves across them during takeoff. To accomplish this, measurement points needed to be placed at multiple places along an airport runway. Each sensor would take a measurement of the wings at that exact space and time until the plane had left the ground. The project required dozens of sensors to achieve useful results. All of the sensors required a very accurate clock, and the distance between the sensors needed to be precisely measured. Technicians spent hours calibrating all of these sensors to behave as one. Any time the system needed recalibration, the process had to be repeated.
If this system had used AVB/TSN, the test would have had the ability to time align network endpoints precisely. This level of timing also allows for an accurate calculation of distance. Had AVB/TSN been available, sensors would be connected to the network, and the network itself would use TSN to perform calibrations in seconds. In addition, the need for recalibration would be eliminated because TSN actively keeps devices in sync at all times.
Overall, the TSNA conference made it clear that AVB/TSN represents the future of networking for pro AV and a multitude of other industries.