Information technology managers integrating A/V onto their IT networks are starting to come across audio video bridging (AVB). But what is it? Turns out it’s the next phase in the maturation of A/V integration.
Lee Minich, president of Rochester, NY-based Lab X Technologies, says that AVB is “a suite of IEEE [Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers] standards meant to evolve Ethernet and other transports, so they’ll have fundamental support for low latency, time synchronization, and bandwidth negotiation for high-quality real-time media transport.” Minich is also the marketing work group chairman at the AVnu Alliance, an organization dedicated to the advancement of professional-quality audio and video.
According to IEEE’s AVB Task Group, its charter is to craft “specifications that will allow time-synchronized low-latency streaming services through 802 networks.” It’s also focused on establishing “usage-specific profiles that will help ensure interoperability between networked devices” through these specifications.
“AVB is a set of open standards to allow synchronized delivery of video, audio and data across an Ethernet network,” explains Bill Murphy, director of solutions marketing at Extreme Networks, Inc. in Santa Clara, Calif., another member company of AVnu. According to Murphy, the primary concept behind AVB is its multi-vendor approach, not the technology that underlies it. “The goal is all vendors, one network, easily deployed,” Murphy says.
Transitioning to Ethernet addresses a number of the cabling and other installation issues associated with A/V systems and technologies, and while there are proprietary approaches that can solve these problems, AVB provides facility, IT and A/V managers with an open approach. “With AVB, you don’t need to be a networking expert,” Murphy says. “It plugs in and works.”
He believes that everyone benefits from AVB’s open approach, but says that users in smaller organizations are likely to be especially grateful for the ease of use. More companies—Extreme Networks among them—are supporting open standards technologies rather than proprietary platforms.
“AVB reduces the need for complex network setup and management, as the infrastructure itself negotiates and manages the network for optimal