AES67 interoperability tested at ‘Plugfest’
WORLD: A recent gathering dubbed ‘Plugfest’ has seen equipment from 10 manufacturers proving the functional interoperability of different implementations of the AES67-2013 standard. The event was hosted by the AES in cooperation with the European Broadcast Union (EBU) at the Institut für Rundfunktechnik (IRT) in Munich, Germany, with participating manufacturers including ALC NetworX GmbH, Archwave AG, Axia Audio, Digigram SA, DirectOut GmbH, Georg Neumann GmbH, Lawo AG, Merging Technologies S.A., SOUND4 and Telos Systems Inc.
AES67 is a networking standard designed to provide compatibility between various IP audio networking protocols such as Dante, Livewire, Q-Lan, and Ravenna. The Media Networking Alliance has been recently formed to support the adoption and support of the AES67 standard through a programme of education, marketing and ongoing technical support. It describes AES67 as a ‘bridging compliance mode common to all IP networks; a mode you can put a device into, on any participating network.’
As a member of the Media Network Alliance’s steering committee and as director of R&D for Lawo Group, Stefan Ledergerber was present at the event: ‘The Plugfest proved that AES67 is not vapourware – it works. It is the ideal form of making the various existing technologies talk to each other and giving users the possibility to interconnect a huge variety of equipment, based on open standards. There is still enough room for differentiation between the various technologies out there, allowing for healthy competition between them, and continuing to drive industry innovation forward. The fact that we are all based on IP layer 3 ensures full scalability of installations and maximum leverage of IT industry advancements.’
The different implementations varied from software on a PC to hardware-based FPGA solutions. Tests were chosen to demonstrate audio streaming interoperability between each device as a transmitter, and all other units as receivers. All devices were used to test synchronisation and primary interoperability before a number of smaller groups were then formed to test specific optional details.
‘This Plugfest was organised to allow various manufacturers to confirm their products' AES67 interoperability with others in a commercially-neutral environment,’ concluded AES standards manager, Mark Yonge. ‘The ultimate people to benefit from these tests will be the clients of these manufacturers because their quality of interoperability is known rather than assumed. A further Plugfest is anticipated in 2015 in North America to continue this useful work.’
The Media Networking Alliance is now actively seeking applications for membership from those who wish to partake in future development.