“Where is the V in AVB?” asked a thread in the Audio/Video Bridging
(AVB) LinkedIn group. This caught my eye. While it is a popular and growing product in Synopsys'
Ethernet portfolio, it’s critical to understand how customers choose
to use it. AVB products using Ethernet are popping up in a range of
applications, and the automotive market is one area of development.
Yes, the “V” is in there, too.
It is worth taking a step back to understand some of the market
dynamics of networking AVB.
- First, what is the AVB “standard"?
- Is the lack of a defined standard something that consumers
should care about?
- What are the financial impacts to AVB for providers of
products using an IEEE 802.1 compliant network to distribute
audio and video?
This article will expand on these points, and explain why AVB is
gaining traction in many markets, and first may be your automobile.
The AVB standard is actually a series of different IEEE standards
that impact IEEE 802.1 networks, which include Ethernet networks.
They impact the architecture, link level security, inter networking,
and network bridging and Layer 2 management of IEEE 802.1 networks.
AVB was added to support multimedia networking by adding
quality-of-service (QOS) features to support streaming traffic. The
different IEEE standards making up the AVB standard include:
- IEEE 802.1AS-2011, Timing and Synchronization
for Time-Sensitive Applications in Bridged Local Area Networks
- IEEE 802.1Qav, Forwarding and Queuing
Enhancements for Time-Sensitive Streams
- IEEE 802.1Qat-2010, Virtual Bridged Local Area
Network Amendment 14: Stream Reservation Protocol (SRP)
- IEEE 1588-2008, which is not part of what
we refer to as AVB, provides a standard for a precision clock
synchronization protocol for networked measurement and control
systems and is required in AVB networked devices
There are other groups active in the IEEE, focused on Ethernet AVB
and Ethernet automotive applications as well, including a study
group on reduced twisted pair Gigabit Ethernet (RTPGE). But these
four will give you a good start on understanding what an AVB enabled
Why is this important, and why would consumers care? The answer is
simple. Standards like AVB allow for interoperability, which gives
consumers a much wider range of products to select from.
Open is key
Consider a streaming audio product for your home. I purchased a
Sonos system for my home several years ago. This system uses my
wireless home network to make music stored on my media server
available in any room in my home with a Sonos device. Each room can
be individually controlled or linked together from the media center
or a remote control unit. As a consumer, I am very happy with this
system: it was easy to set up and does not require networking
expertise to maintain and support.
When I migrated to a new hardware platform for my media server, the
system “just worked” after installing the software. However, the
system uses a proprietary protocol to communicate across my wireless
network. I am not able to add a product from another company
into my home audio network because it would not be compatible.
Meaning, if I want to expand the audio cloud, or add video, I need
to go back to Sonos to get components, or replace every component in
my audio network with products from another company, or, the worst
option, have multiple networked systems working individually.
Clearly companies like Sonos, Apple, Microsoft, or any other company
shipping products for consumers wants you to buy more of their
products, and by using a proprietary format, they force you to
either change everything or stay with them. I am faced with
dilemma as I look to expand my home audio/video network