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The Path to IP The right approach for your IP migration By Chuck Meyer, CTO for Production

WHITE PAPER THE PATH TO IP P Technology is Powered by TABLE IMoore’s Law. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . OF Agility: The General Business Case for IP CONTENTS Technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

3 4

IP From Glass-to-Glass. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Making the Transition — A Four Pillared Approach. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Pillar 1: Gateways . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pillar 2: SDN Integrated Control. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pillar 3: IP Product Line Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pillar 4: Live Production Technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

6 6 6 6

Standards and Interoperability . . . . . . . . . . . 7

A Complete Solution from a Name

You Trust. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Pillar 1: Grass Valley Gateways . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pillar 2: Grass Valley’s SDN Integrated Control. . . . . . . Pillar 3: IP Across All Product Lines. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pillar 4: Critical Workflow — Live Production. . . . . . . .

Underneath it all: The Belden Foundation. .

7 8 9 9


Coax Limitations and the Transition Path to IP. . . . . . 10 The IP Infrastructure — Belden OIC. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11


WHITE PAPER THE PATH TO IP Internet Protocol technology, IP for short, is commanding attention across the broadcast television ecosystem. Understanding exactly how and when IP technology will impact a given business model depends on your individual situation, but developing an understanding of IP technology and how it fits different workflows is critical. Grass Valley, a Belden Brand, thanks to its access to broadcasters worldwide and some of the most advanced innovators in our business, is well-positioned to provide detailed insights. How is IP technology changing broadcast television? How quickly will the technology progress? How will IP capabilities enhance various operational models? Broadcasters are attempting to answer these questions now — and coming up with other questions along the way. What follows is a look at some of the answers Grass Valley’s experts have developed.

IP Technology is Powered by Moore’s Law Since their invention, the speed and bandwidth of Ethernet networks, a key foundation of IP technology, have increased in rough accordance with Moore’s Law, which observes:

requirements for data center and office network bandwidth, based on IP technology, outpace broadcast speed and bandwidth needs at an increasing rate. (Figure 1)

Over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years.

While the speed of traditional broadcast technology is lagging behind that of IP technology, the need to manage an increasing amount of content continues in the broadcast world (i.e., multiple formats, Video-on-Demand, Over-the-Top, etc.) as the market jockeys to identify the best way to accommodate viewer tastes. Higher quality content (HD, 4K and beyond) requires more horsepower to distribute throughout and between broadcast plants. To remain efficient and satisfy demand, broadcasters will need to choose the technology that has already demonstrated its ability to support the bandwidth that broadcasters require. In the long term, SDI simply does not provide an affordable and sustainable solution.

The speed of traditional broadcast television technology, however, has not kept up with the accelerated network speeds and bandwidth. Why? Because Moore’s Law only applies when it makes business and economic sense to fund continuing technological development. Therefore, Moore’s Law favors investments with higher returns. In broadcast, at least so far, this hasn’t been the case. Today, single lane 25 Gb/s Ethernet components are commercially available while chipsets for 12 Gb/s SDI signals (traditional broadcast television technology) are just coming to market. IP bandwidth passed that of SDI nearly 10 years ago. And, looking forward, the projected

1000000 100000 10000 IP 1000



Data Center 10 1 1960







Figure 1. Bandwidth in Mb/s over time. IP bandwidth outpaces SDI. Projected LAN and data center bandwidth needs exceed nominal broadcast data rates as well.


WHITE PAPER THE PATH TO IP IP technology is not necessarily an inexpensive technological road to take. However, the rate at which IP technology accommodates more and more content is simply impossible to ignore — and any industry that is as reliant upon the movement of high bandwidth data as broadcast is must embrace it. Adopting IP empowers broadcasters with scalable flexibility and speed that would be otherwise unaffordable were it not for the trillion dollar ecosystem driving the developments of IP technology. The velocity of the IP train is mind boggling. The question isn’t whether to get on, it’s how to get on while it’s moving so quickly. IP technology is about adopting the two largest open standards in the world, Ethernet and Internet Protocol, into an environment that has traditionally been based on SDI technology. It is about exploiting a rich ecosystem of third-party products to build a content factory that is agile and competitive. It is about cloning and deploying new successful business models, around the world, in weeks, not decades. The Internet has torn down the barriers of entry for media distribution and enabled the development of new business models and content delivery strategies that have increased competition for viewers. Targeted advertising holds a promise to increase ad revenues and even one-to-one relationships with consumers, who increasingly expect personalization and convenience. IP opens the door to these new opportunities and provides the flexibility for broadcasters to develop and execute them while simultaneously producing quality content and regularly increasing bandwidth capacity.

Adopting IP empowers broadcasters with scalable flexibility and speed that would be otherwise unaffordable were it not for the trillion dollar ecosystem driving IP developments.

Agility: The General Business Case for IP Technology There are multiple advantages when considering IP technology for broadcast, but none is more compelling than agility. The operational advantages of IP technology simply offer better return on investment. Broadcast television operations are the factories that drive the medium and IP technology improves employee productivity. Going forward, IP technology is changing the way video is produced. IP data transport not only provides a way to move media from point to point, but also enables carriage of additional, time-varying data related to the media itself. For example, a camera has a fixed location measured with GPS and lens type, based on configuration. As the video is recorded, f-stop and focus are varied. Additional dynamic information related to the

recording can be included in the metadata such as time of day, event type, people, places or things, and other keywords associated with the media. This data can then be used to generate and render realtime graphic enhancements, such as first down lines for American football games or other event-specific graphics. As a result, follow-on productions are richer, and offer more value by including additional clips, sound-bites or text references based on context. This is the real value of IP. It can be argued that metadata has become at least as valuable, if not more valuable, than the actual video being captured. And, the way that dynamic metadata is handled by IP technologies powers creativity, through time-aware, data-rich applications that can’t be handled in SDI.



IP From Glass-to-Glass Camera, router, server, signal processing, production switcher, multiviewer: this is the workflow chain that enables live production and is the engine that drives broadcast — Grass Valley refers to this critical solution set as “Glass-to-Glass.” The live-production signal processing chain. Nowhere else in video is time synchronicity as critical. Processing video pixels and audio samples requires accurate timing of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of signals. This accuracy depends on source-timing the origination of signals and providing ultra-low latency signal propagation. Many plant operations do not require a vertically accurate switch, but for live production this requirement is an essential piece of the system design. Providing interoperable IP technology across many, if not all, elements of a broadcast workflow ensures tight integration that leads to efficiency and solid on-air performance. Discrete systems like cameras, servers, switchers, routers, interface and processing modules, and multiviewers can work together as a cohesive unit with ensured connectivity via IP. This is crucial to today’s broadcasters because it enables their ability to multiply their output — to smoothly and efficiently monetize their content. In fact, Glass-to-Glass IP provides the flexibility to generate the additional revenues every broadcaster seeks. To enable smooth IP configurations, components in the workflow need to be built on open standards and prepared to interact well with technologies from multiple suppliers, providing users the opportunity to work on a common interface. By incorporating non-proprietary technology, such as Openflow and Open Daylight, the familiarity of today’s operations environment is maintained, while command and control of IP switcher gear, for example, is simplified. Additionally, using SDN (Software Defined Networking) software provides the ability to manage IP switches, provision signal flows, manage bandwidth, control QoS, and even manage multicast switching. This capability can be encapsulated and included inside a modern facility control and monitoring system. The operators use familiar control surfaces, engineers can easily manage configurations and facility operations, and the IP switch fades into the background. On-air reliability depends on these people, so it makes sense to enable their access to advanced workflows with little to no additional training.

IP technology outperforms SDI when multiple signals are aggregated on one cable. This further enables distributed systems, which save additional cabling. Large core routers are inflexible, require numerous long cable runs and do not readily expand. However, connecting distributed routers with interconnected trunks is a flexible solution. Expansion can be managed more easily than classic tie-lines. Bandwidth reservation can be used to configure a signal trunk dynamically, based on signal count and format, and in many cases the total signal count will exceed the number of fibers in the trunk. With SDI tie-lines there is only one signal per coax. All of this supports the argument that only IP, installed across this entire critical workflow, can provide the creativity, flexibility and scalability for future advancements that the industry is already incorporating into new content creation paradigms and is anticipating will enable competition in our increasingly on-demand world. It is certainly true that, when correctly configured, some of today’s 10 Gb/s IT routers provide latency less than 10 µs, and if correctly provisioned, they do not block. There are many workflows where the router provides connections, but does not have to switch between them when feeding modern production switchers or master control equipment. IT can certainly carry this load. But, not every switch operation can be delegated to the end-point. COTS IT routers will carry more and more media traffic and be a larger piece of the total infrastructure, but more can be done to improve mutually deterministic switching in the IP domain.

Glass-to-Glass IP provides the flexibility to generate the additional revenues every broadcaster seeks.

Today’s Data Center Core

Fewer cables due to aggregation


Shorter cable runs due to edge proximity


More graceful scaling

Sources and Destinations Figure 2. IT data topologies provide business agility.



Making the Transition — A Four Pillared Approach Pillar 1: Gateways As discussed, every facility will have its own strategy to migrate to IP. IP is a gradual transition — a migration. So, protecting operational methods and installed equipment is essential for many because the cost of new equipment and changes in workflows may be prohibitive. Gateway products provide a solution for those looking to make an incremental transition. Rather than require gateways for every SDI signal, providing them as options in both routers and modular products enables the change for signals, islands, studios, facilities or any other combination. Put simply, gateways are converters — between signal types (formats) and signal transport protocols. They range from the simple, such as a gateway from SDI to SMPTE 2022-6, to slightly more complex, such as SDI to JPEG 2000 to MPEG-2 TS. A third type of gateway would involve the receipt of data in SMPTE 2022-6, and converting it to AVB digital video (essentially, converting from one Internet Protocol to another Internet Protocol).

reservation, QoS, VQoS and many other system functions just would not be possible in a blended IP/SDI workflow without this capability. The unified control powered by SDN-enabled control platforms is essential to span the combined technology infrastructure of SDI and COTS IP that will exist as you migrate IP into your workflow.

Pillar 3: IP Product Line Support Without a complete ecosystem, full IP integration is not possible. Applying IP technology across the entire broadcast workflow facilitates a move to IP and allows latency and switching accuracy to be effectively managed to provide exceptional video processing with IP technology. This means ensuring that timing, data integrity and signal processing are managed with virtually no impact on operator workflow. Retraining your operators is not an option. So, to whatever degree possible, IP support needs to be built into the product types that make up the existing, modern broadcast workflow.

Pillar 4: Live Production Technology

Gateways of this type are the only way to accommodate a gradual adoption of new signal transport standards and, even better, their useful lifetime is indefinite. As we move further into our Internet-enabled world, there will be an increasing need for these gateways. They are the Swiss Army knife of format conversion for today and the future. This means investing in gateway cards now is an extremely safe investment and the likely propagation of gateways throughout the broadcast ecosystem means you’ll need them sooner, rather than later.

IT routers and switches are indeed very fast, and offer low latency for large numbers of signals. But vertically accurate switching is required, and the most cost-effective method to manage the simultaneous routing of hundreds of mutually related signals is not source flows or multicast “leave and joins.” Why? Because achieving accurate switching is challenging when accounting for both flows and SDI simultaneously. Ideally, this should be achieved without Gateways on every signal, and without two CORE fabrics: one for IP, one for SDI.

Pillar 2: SDN Integrated Control

Figure 3 shows how a combined system of routers can be connected in a classic leaf and spine topology. Vertebrae and leaves can be either generic IP routers or deterministic switches.

Integrating SDN capability into plant configuration and control systems protects your most critical asset: trained operators. A properly configured SDN-based control surface can access either crossbars or packet switches through a comfortable, user-friendly and intuitive interface. Router control panels and modular product configuration are good examples, but any bus selection switch from switchers or playout is integrated. Signals and flows are characterized by bandwidth and format within the control system. Managing tie-lines, bandwidth

Using Pillar 2 and Pillar 4 together provides the ability to fully groom and provision your network so that optimal video performance is achieved for real-time live production where every bit is precious, or non-real time creative editing where files are cached between locations, and bandwidth requirements are more relaxed.

Tomorrow’s Video Data Center Core


Precision Time-Aware Fabric Segment


Sources and Destinations Figure 3. Optimized use of time-aware switch fabric in video data centers.



Standards and Interoperability Many broadcasters enjoy relationships with multiple vendors while building a workflow that’s unique to their own specific needs. Equipment suppliers supporting industry standards is the key to making an approach like this work. In the IP transition, support for standards will be critical. For example, SMPTE 2022-6, which defines IP-based protocols for the transport of full-bandwidth, real-time video, audio and ancillary signals, is a logical starting point. Other workflow models embrace AVB. By using SDN-enabled controls and the gateway strategy defined earlier, AVB LAN islands can interoperate with larger WAN IP data systems.

As IP technology is more deeply adopted, there will be new standards. Grass Valley, as one of the industry’s leading developers of new technologies, is participating in the Network Interoperability Joint Task Force, JT-NM, which is sponsored by EBU, SMPTE and VSF, and will be directly involved in the development of these new standards. Customer demand will also certainly drive standards. In either case, as the industry adopts key standards, interoperability is important for all products and an important factor for broadcasters to consider when making decisions about IP migration.

A Complete Solution from a Name You Trust Grass Valley’s comprehensive product line enables IP interoperability, starting with the camera, continuing with the control room monitor wall, and concluding with playout for distribution to the home. Grass Valley is the only broadcast equipment provider covering the complete ecosystem of live production through infrastructure with unified command, control and configuration. Some Grass Valley products already provide IP workflows for operational islands while others use IP technology to enhance traditional functions. Working with our other Belden brands, we offer the ability to support any installation. Fiber, coax and cable management products can all be used to build a solid foundation for years to come. And, Belden’s portfolio of cable and connector products brings the signal all the way into the home or office. Belden has been at the forefront of IP technology convergence in other markets, such as industrial automation, and this experience is being leveraged across the production chain into broadcast television. Grass Valley broadcast equipment combined with Belden fiber, coax, OIC and other infrastructure products provides the only end-to-end, fully integrated solution for your IP transition. From the camera to the multiviewer with the fiber in between, our Glass-to-Glass solution is comprehensive, scalable, manageable, controllable, affordable and reliable. The leader in broadcast technology is backed by Belden’s IP migration experience in order to make you comfortable, no matter what path you take to implement IP in your future. The Four Pillar approach to IP Migration is well supported already by Grass Valley. Here are some details.

Triple 10 GigE

Pillar 1: Grass Valley Gateways Grass Valley has introduced IP Gateways that are easily added to existing signal processing and routing platforms to accommodate the need to handle both IP and SDI signals during an IP migration. These gateway cards reside directly inside the same platform, which previously housed only SDI signals, and convert and packetize real-time, uncompressed, baseband video using SMPTE 2022-6 protocol over 10 Gb/s Ethernet networks. This critical advancement, available in the NVISION routing platform and the Densité signal processing platform (Figure 4), allows broadcasters to add support for IP signal transport throughout their entire facility, without having to do a full forklift upgrade. There are many advantages to this approach, but perhaps the simplest and most beneficial is the opportunity these gateways give broadcasters to incorporate IP signals into small islands, while they execute their overall IP migration across their entire facility.

Grass Valley broadcast equipment combined with Belden fiber, coax … provides the only end-to-end, fully integrated solution for your IP transition.

Triple 10 GigE



Figure 4. IP Gateways will be available for the NVISION routing platform and Densité signal processing platform.


WHITE PAPER THE PATH TO IP Pillar 2: Grass Valley’s SDN Integrated Control Grass Valley’s SDN (Software Defined Networking)-based control application, known as Pegasus, is the key to a familiar, broadcast-centric control environment that enables a hybrid (SDI mixed with IP) workflow that builds a bridge to the future. Unlike many options on the market, Grass Valley supports the use of common, third-party IT routers and switches that can be controlled by familiar broadcast-centric interfaces. In addition, Grass Valley supports a host of legacy routing and modular products from Grass Valley, and from other manufacturers, as well.

Pegasus SDN Controller

The advantages to this approach are boundless. First, using Grass Valley’s SDN control environment — built with broadcasters in mind — enables broadcasters to control IT routers and switches like they’ve done for years: By simply using the same interfaces and control paradigms that have been built to support their specific needs. This approach presents a very shallow learning curve for operators because it leverages existing, familiar broadcast interfaces and no additional or specialized “IT-trained” technicians would be required to support it. Second, this SDN-based control environment allows for the seamless support of hybrid environments — controlling both SDI and IP simultaneously. As broadcasters wrestle with the expenses and workflow disruptions of the IP environments they’re going to need — many will look for bridge solutions to get them there in stages. Using SDN-based control is the simplest hybrid solution available. Third, Grass Valley has embraced the valuable technological skill that exists in the world of IT. Big name IT manufacturers have already staked a claim in the world of IT routers and switches — so why not leverage that? The SDN-based control environment enables broadcasters to welcome IT hardware into their workflows without sacrificing broadcast-centric interfaces and workflows. Grass Valley’s SDN-enabled approach allows broadcasters to leverage the best of the IT world to support a seamless approach to IP. Finally, the introduction of IP support into a broadcast workflow using SDN-based control inspires new levels of flexibility in further IP support. Once the control layer is introduced (imagine not having to worry about SDI vs. IP when making future equipment purchase decisions), additional forays into the world of IP are greatly simplified.

Figure 5: SDN enables the control of IT switches using broadcast-centric control panels.




-27 dB


-26 dB



Loudness: -32 dB

Figure 6: Grass Valley integrates support for IP across nearly its entire portfolio.

Pillar 3: IP Across All Product Lines

Pillar 4: Critical Workflow — Live Production

Grass Valley maintains the most comprehensive product portfolio of any of the leading broadcast solutions providers. In order to facilitate the industry’s demand for IP migration, aggressive product development roadmaps were deployed over recent years to ensure that all critical workflows would support IP.

As more competitors enter the media landscape, broadcasters count on live content, more than ever, to generate viewership and drive brand loyalty. Grass Valley is a longtime leader in Live Production technology and is creating live workflows exclusively for IP. These workflows are live-centric, so to speak, because of their ability to manage sometimes thousands of signals, using fully deterministic timing. This capability is required for IP. The increased value is seen in creativity and flexibility associated with capturing and managing live metadata. Grass Valley believes this capability is delivered with a distributed router fabric supporting mutual signal determinism. In broadcast, you deal with thousands of signals, running at full bandwidth, which have to be completely time-aligned. Coherent signal aggregation provides mutual signal determinism exactly where your business needs it.

From the LDX camera series, the K2 series of broadcast servers, K-Frame production switcher platforms, NVISION routers, Densité signal processing, Kaleido multiviewers and more — Grass Valley is ready to deliver on the promise. Support for IP in multiple product families is the enabling technology, which is enhanced by the expertise Grass Valley adds to the equation. At Grass Valley, a Belden Brand, we leverage our broadcast industry pedigree, vast expertise and technological resources to provide counsel, leadership, training and solutions to our customers looking to embrace emerging technologies.

Mutual determinism is the key.



Underneath it all: The Belden Foundation The foundation of any facility is the fiber, coax and cable management systems that interconnect the equipment. In broadcast facilities, as bandwidth requirements have steadily increased, what previously would have been coax infrastructure has been transitioned to fiber and the increasing data rates associated with 4K/UHDTV, 8K, and beyond, will likely accelerate this trend.

To overcome this issue, Belden has developed a solution called an Optical Inter-Connect, or OIC. The OIC uses an optical shuffle to physically remap the 10 Gb/s signals into a more logical structure in which multiple fibers go to the same physical location. (Figure 8)

4x10G Shuffle

Coax Limitations and the Transition Path to IP While coax cable has been shown to be capable of providing 12 Gb/s speeds, and SMPTE standards are being ratified for 12 Gb/s over coax at the time this paper is being written, for these data rates cable lengths less than the typical 100 meter benchmark of the broadcast industry are to be expected. These distance limitations could possibly be mitigated with a new coax cable design, but as data rates continue to increase, the degradation in transmission distances over coax will remain a factor. During the transition from coax to IP, in many cases, there will be a need to use the deployed 3 Gb/s coaxial infrastructure. IP is a bidirectional signal and uses two fibers: one for transmitting and one for receiving. As part of managing higher data rates, very light mezzanine compression is a good option to reduce 12 Gb/s signals to 3 Gb/s, as one example. This signal would then be put into an IP wrapper and transported over Ethernet, typically over fiber. One typical connector for this is a dual LC SFP+. It converts electrons to photons, and vice versa. However, there are also dual SFPs with DIN, or HD BNC connectors, configured as transceivers. There is no reason that these devices cannot be used to transmit 4K, which has been compressed over IP, using coax. These SFP devices are plug and play, so the option is up to you.

The IP Infrastructure — Belden OIC The primary benefits of fiber over coax are weight and bandwidth. The practical bandwidth of fiber is limited by the ability to convert between electrons and photons at very high speed. Ethernet can provide affordable 10 Gb/s speed, and, by using multiple fibers at that speed, can already yield 40 Gb/s and 100 Gb/s Ethernet connections. For a larger investment, 25 Gb/s is available, increasing the bandwidth to 100 Gb/s in four fibers and 250 Gb/s in ten. As video data rates increase from 12 Gb/s to 24 and then 96 Gb/s over the next three to four years, fiber is the best way to ensure bandwidth capacity is available. IP switch topologies use a leaf-and-spine connection scheme (also known as a one-to-one connected mesh). This is required for nonblocking switch capability. Connecting many 10 Gb/s fibers in this scheme can be time consuming and physically challenging to manage. (Figure 7)









Figure 8. Once installed the inter-connecting cable bundles are more easily managed. QSFP connector Active Optical Cables (AOCs) now map into easily managed MPO/MTP connectors at the OIC which sit at the bulkhead. The output of the OIC is another MPO/MTP connector. Now, instead of having to make connections for each 10 Gb/s fiber, organized bundles of fiber are easily managed and routed between vertebrae and leaves. One additional advantage of the OIC is that a signal tap can be generated at the shuffle. This optical tap provides noninvasive signal interrogation for debugging and troubleshooting the structured fiber interconnect. By being at the forefront of the broadcast transition from SDI to IP, Belden has not only been able to develop fully integrated broadcast over IP solutions, but also develop products and techniques to enable our customers to transition to IP over time, utilizing their current SDI infrastructure.

Figure 7. Single fiber 10 Gb/s links form the structured interconnect at the demarcation point.



Conclusion The media industry lives and dies by the axiom “Content is King.” Grass Valley understands your business depends on the content you produce and deliver. We also understand that harnessing technology to enable new business models, while improving productivity and increasing efficiency can’t interfere with the fundamentals of your business. The gradual, multitiered approach described in this article is the key to meeting that goal.

Targeted advertising. Automated multiplatform media distribution. Scalable, bandwidth capacity busting, signal throughput factories. More compelling content that wins viewers. These are the goals for content creators — and they all depend on IP technology. To learn more about how Grass Valley, a Belden Brand, can help lead you into the IP future, please visit


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Belden, Belden Sending All The Right Signals and the Belden logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Belden Inc. or its affiliated companies in the United States and other jurisdictions. Grass Valley, Densité, K-Frame, Kaleido and NVISION are trademarks or registered trademarks of Grass Valley. Belden Inc., Grass Valley and other parties may also have trademark rights in other terms used herein. Copyright © 2015 Grass Valley USA, LLC. All rights reserved. Specifications subject to change without notice. 11

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