Tips for a Smooth IP Transition

Tips for a Smooth IP Transition

IP Transition_2560The transition to IP may be inevitable, but suffering is optional.

You could always start with a camera with IP output and an IP audio network, two simple additions that would join both video and audio in the IP realm so you’ll never have to step into the edit room again to embed AES audio into the video.

Those cameras are available today, as are audio over IP systems like WheatNet-IP. Simple changes like this can impact workflow now, and set you up for all the benefits of a total IP infrastructure later.

The transition to IP will take time, of course. And some thought. Here are four things that your friends at Wheatstone would like you to think about:

1. Think hybrid. The ideal is a fully interoperable studio, where disparate systems and peripheral gear can talk to one another. Broadcast equipment manufacturers are working toward that goal, Wheatstone included, which is why our WheatNet-IP audio network is AES67 compatible. But until this and other interoperable standards are widely adopted, it’s important to be able to work with existing gear and systems. For many, this includes some MADI gear, some AES/EBU, some analog and some custom control interfacing to critical systems now used in the studio. For this reason, we’ve made it a priority to be able to ingest into our WheatNet-IP system virtually every audio format out there, including native analog, microphone, AES/EBU, SPDIF, IP audio, MADI and SDI.

2. Think beyond access. Think control. IP connectivity isn’t just about access. It’s about control. The more logic you can put on the network, the more control you’ll have over change. For example, WheatNet-IP has an integrated control layer that carries all the logic functions for audio. This makes a world of difference when it comes to being able to handle the unexpected or to repurpose a news set for multiple productions. Control is built into each WheatNet-IP connection point that is shared with other IP connection points across the network, giving you access to not only all sources at once, but also the presets and any associated logic that go along with each feed for controlling such things as mic ON/OFF, or changing remote mic settings for IFB, processing and other parameters.

3. Think distributed network intelligence. Centralized network management is a single-point-of-failure waiting to happen. Distributing network intelligence throughout to every IP point in the network is the smarter approach, because distributed networks like WheatNet-IP automatically build in redundancy - if one part of the network fails for any reason, the rest can keep on functioning. Each IP connection point – or BLADE – stores the entire configuration of the network onboard, which means that failover is immediate. And because WheatNet-IP BLADEs talk to each other, adding onto the network is plug-and-play for easy system expansion -- which in turn adds more control resources, audio mixing and processing tools, and more intelligence for whatever new services come along.

4. Think routable tools. Having the right tools for the job is important. That’s why we place audio tools at all IP connection points in the WheatNet-IP audio network. For example, having two stereo 8x2 utility mixers at the point of I/O makes it practical to do online mixing of sounds, segue remotely between feeds, virtually overdub and pan, you name it. Just recently, we added audio processing to our I/O BLADEs as yet another routable tool in our audio toolkit. Adding new tools is possible because each of our I/O BLADEs has a CPU with operating system inside, which we can add to, change, and make to fit just about any scenario that’s needed.

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