Are you in the picture?
Prem Rodrigues of Siemon explains what is required from the IT network to embrace full AV convergence
At the very heart of every intelligent building lies an Ip-based network powered by a high-performance copper cabling infrastructure that enables the convergence of multiple building services - and associated devices – onto one unified infrastructure.
While in most smart buildings, the lighting, security, fire and safety systems, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) have long shifted to connecting via Ip-based cabling, newer applications such as Poe-enabled computing are now emerging to take advantage of it too.
But what about AV applications like video and projection displays, video conferencing and digital signage? Can they be considered a true IP system?
The most popular AV protocol today is HDBASET. It supports ultra-highdefinition 4K video and audio along with 100 Mb/s Ethernet (100Base-t), USB, bidirectional control signals and 100W of power for distances up to 100 meters.
Newer AV protocols include SoftwareDefined Video over Ethernet (SDVOE) which uses standards-based network cabling, Ethernet, TCP/IP and low-latency switching to transmit AV signals. SDVOE also eliminates the use of AV video matrix switches, which typically cost about 90 per cent more per port than a standard Ethernet switch.
Most industry professionals today see SDVOE as the AV application that leverages network cabling and Internet Protocol (IP). Software-defined Video over Ethernet supports uncompressed 4K video, audio, control and 1 Gb/s Ethernet (1000BASE-T).
Regardless of whether an AV system is HDBASET or SDVOE, the requirements for the underlying cabling infrastructure supporting them remain largely the same. While HDBASET can run over Category 5e (to limited distances) and Category 6 copper cabling, the HDBAset Alliance and HDBASET equipment vendors all recommend Category 6A twisted-pair unshielded cabling at a minimum to support the bandwidth required for 4K signals and reach the full 100-meter distance.
To ensure truly robust performance, however, many AV vendors recommend Category 6A or Category 7A shielded twisted-pair cable. This is because these shielded solutions provide much better resistance to alien crosstalk, which has a significant impact on HDBASET signals wherever multiple cables are bundled together.
Further, with remote power running to video displays at a higher level of 100W, shielded cabling offers much better heat dissipation and thermal stability.
When it comes to network cabling media for SDVOE, Category 6A cabling is not just recommended; it’s a must. SDVOE requires a 10 Gb/s Ethernet network (10GBASE-T), which can only be supported by a minimum of Category 6A cable. And for the same reasons as HDBASET, shielded cabling is recommended to eliminate crosstalk and provide superior heat dissipation and thermal stability for remote powering (90W POE).
From a connectivity point of view, video displays can be deployed much more rapidly if high-performance fieldterminated plugs are used.
These plugs are terminated at point of installation and eliminate the need for traditional outlets and patch cords. This provides savings on material, time and labour, and it also offers a cleaner, more aesthetically pleasing look.
Shortly after the introduction of SDVOE, the HDBASET Alliance introduced HDBASET over IP to also leverage standards-based network infrastructures and 10 Gb/s Ethernet switches for crosscampus transmission, but it requires HDBASET-TO-HDBASET-IP bridges and HDBASET-IP switches.
Besides, the market has seen the introduction of other AV over IP protocols, including the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) 2110 standard. It defines the uncompressed transmission of HD video over IP, JPEG2000 lightly compressed video over IP, and high-efficiency H.264 and H.265 video compression for video over IP.
Prem Rodrigues, director for the Middle East, Africa & India/ SAARC at Siemon