Audio Video Bridging (AVB)/Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) is a standard that allows any vendor to support it, creating a platform for easy AV component setup, integration, and networking. As an open standard, it removes commercial ownership from the development process, eliminating license fees that drive the cost per node in proprietary solutions and widening the opportunity for manufacturers to develop new products that follow the standards.
AVB/TSN standards are written by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the group that defines Ethernet. This is the first time in the history of networking that the Ethernet network has been designed to handle the specific demands of transporting professional quality audio, video, and deterministic data in a reliable and predictable way. With the advent of Ethernet, network system designers have a clearer path to the most efficient and effective way to pass data through a given network.
What do AVB/TSN standards mean for AV integrators and system designers? It means that AVB/TSN has broad market appeal and is supported by IT giants such as Intel®, Cisco®, and General Electric®. AVB/TSN is interoperable with the entire stack of standards technology in multiple markets, including consumer electronics and automotive, which brings down costs for everyone. It also supports AVB/TSN becoming an enduring standard that IT departments will embrace, bridging AV with the Internet of Things (IoT) in many instances. Because all of this is done over Ethernet, AVB/TSN provides a scalable, future-proof platform. Since it’s backed by the IEEE and not a single company, AVB/TSN is an open source platform offering flexibility and long-term stability to the AV industry.
The Open Source Project for AVB/TSN
Increasing awareness and access to the technology will make the standard more viable and therefore help the AV industry flourish. One of the great promises of AVB/TSN, as an IEEE standard, is that it is non-proprietary and available to everyone without licensing costs.
Created as a collaborative source code development project through Intel for AVB/TSN technology, the Open AVB Project provides the necessary components for building AVB/TSN systems. Today, the AVnu Alliance maintains and contributes to the project with source code from multiple alliance members. The repository primarily contains the network building-block components — drivers, libraries, example applications, and daemon source code — required to build an AVB/TSN system. All of this information is available to anyone. The intent of the project is to encourage standardization, stability, and interoperability between multiple vendors. In a truly open fashion, Open AVB currently licenses numerous modules including BSD/MIT, making it easy for newcomers to jump in and start integrating AVB/TSN.
Open AVB Goals – The Vision
The AVnu Alliance has many plans for the Open AVB Project. These include various packet encapsulation types; protocol discovery daemons; libraries to convert media clocks to AVB/TSN clocks and vice versa; additional drivers; and more AVB/TSN reference designs, code style guidelines, policies, and procedures. The project is growing constantly.
In the future, the project will become more aligned as an incubator — a springboard for AVB/TSN integration — and ultimately a destination platform where companies can access all the code they need to install and rapidly develop prototypes for networked devices using AVB/TSN. Soon, manufacturers will be able to peruse a marketplace of various AVB/TSN network cards and reference designs, and end users will have numerous products to choose from when designing an AVB/TSN system. How can you be confident that they will all work together? That’s where certification comes in.
AVnu Certification is the first and only open, third-party, independent compliance and interoperability certification for media networking in the AV industry. Through this third-party testing, AVnu Certification guarantees that all certified products conform to the IEEE open standards for low-latency, time-synchronized, and deterministic delivery of data, and can operate with other manufacturers’ certified products in a mixed ecosystem.
While AVnu Certification gives manufacturers a competitive advantage, certified products build consumer confidence and eliminate guesswork for system designers. If you see the AVnu Certified logo on two devices, you know they’ve been tested and proven to work together. This means integrators and designers can save time choosing devices, as well as configuring and managing those devices on the network.
In 2016, the AVnu Alliance is launching an initiative to make the Open AVB project more encompassing for any application, with the goal of promoting development of AVB/TSN devices that can be readily certified. Over the coming year, the Alliance aims to provide a certified base implementation of core AVB/TSN modules that can be leveraged by product developers — getting them one-step closer to AVnu Certification. The vision is to make it easy for any manufacturer across multiple industries to integrate AVB/TSN. This project is a group effort, and contributions can come from anyone — not just AVnu Alliance members. Together we’ll work toward a more reliable and simple AV network.
Looking for more in-depth coverage? Check out the Open AVB article in our next issue of Component, coming in February 2016.