Multi-manufacturer ‘plugfest’ hails interoperability of new AoIP networking standard

The AES, in cooperation with the EBU, recently held a ‘Plugfest’ with equipment from 10 manufacturers in order to demonstrate functional compatibility – or interoperability – between a number of different implementations of the AES67-2013 standard. A subject of discussion at this month’s SVG Europe FutureSport, AES67 establishes interoperability standards for networked and streaming audio-over-IP applications.

The Plugfest was held at the Institut für Rundfunktechnik (IRT), in Munich, Germany, from 27 to 30 October. The participating manufacturers were 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.

Technical personnel from IRT, Swedish Radio and the BBC assisted in the tests and observed the outcomes on behalf of the EBU. All products tested are currently available networked-audio products with AES67-specific extensions. Implementations varied from software implementations 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.

AES67 is a standard to enable high-performance audio-over-IP streaming interoperability between the various IP-based audio networking products currently available, such as Dante, Livewire, Q-LAN and Ravenna. It is not a new technology but a bridging compliance mode common to all IP networks; a mode you can put a device into, on any participating network.

AES67 operates over standard layer 3 Ethernet networks and, as such, is routable and fully scalable, like any common modern IT network. The Media Network Alliance (MNA) has been formed to promote adoption and support adopters of the newly ratified standard, through a programme of education, marketing and ongoing technical support for the standard.

Stefan Ledergerber, director R&D Lawo Group and member of the MNA steering committee, comments: “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 the users the possibility to interconnect a huge variety of equipment, based on open standards.”

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