AES67 and Undiscovered Country

Steve DovePredictably, Wheatstone's Minister of Algorithms, Steve Dove, didn’t go down the same beaten path of AES67 compliance as everyone else presenting at the NAB Broadcast Engineering session on audio over IP. 

His discussion on the next thing that needs to happen in studio interoperability put him squarely in discovery and control country – the layer of network communication that is off the grid with regard to AES67, which mainly deals with audio timing and sync issues.

He’s been there before, certainly. “Discovery in the early days of audio networking meant following the network cable to see where it went,” he said, to a chorus of laughter from the roomful of engineers in attendance during Sunday’s NAB Broadcast Engineering breakout sessions for AoIP in the Broadcast Plant.

Steve was part of the AES X192 task force that put forth the AES67 standard, and is contributing to other AES task forces and working groups to bring about a complete set of standards that further discovery and control. Not surprisingly, Steve, who is Wheatstone’s ‘Minister of Algorithms,’ supports AES67; indeed, we are showing a new line of WheatNet-IP hardware compatible with AES67 during the NAB show.

But, as Steve pointed out during his session, for distributed networks like Wheatstone’s WheatNet-IP, logic control of audio functions and discovery of new devices on the network are central to how the system operates -- indeed, if it is a system at all. Each WheatNet-IP access unit, or what we call BLADEs, has an embedded processor. “Wheatstone is a little different because we don’t have a centralized network server; each BLADE is perfectly capable of being a system master,” said Steve.

Wheatstone’s BLADE system has evolved such that any controls, parameters, tallies, buttons and attributes automatically follow any audio source wherever it may be routed. “You get not only the audio, but you get all the microphone settings, say, for that particular mic wherever it goes in the network,” he explained.

Steve hopes to be able to provide that kind of access through open control and discover standards in the future. In the meantime, Wheatstone’s WheatNet-IP system is compatible with AES67 today.






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