1. Can you provide a brief overview about the significance of audio video bridging (AVB) and the applications where the technology can be applied?
EJ: AVB provides a huge step forward for transporting audio/visual content, and provides a means for replacing the diverse varieties of point-to-point connectors with a single, extensible network. For professional uses, it provides deterministic low latency and low jitter. Unlike proprietary A/V networking solutions, which are typically focused on a single industry, the AVB standards were developed by IEEE as an evolution of Ethernet, making it applicable to pro audio, consumer, and automotive industries, to name a few.
2. Describe the AVnu Alliance and its membership profile.
EJ: The AVnu Alliance was established to promote and certify the implementation of the AVB standards in both A/V products and network switches. Membership is constantly expanding, and currently includes 50 manufacturers of silicon, consumer, pro audio/video, and automotive products.
3. Please give us an overview of the new AVnu AVB Certification Program and explain the instrumental role that the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) plays in the program.
EJ: The AVnu AVB certification program has been designed to ensure that any device with the AVnu certification mark will be interoperable with any other AVnu-certified device, and correctly implements the AVB standards. So, in addition to developing tests for the standards, AVnu has also defined additional requirements for devices to establish a baseline level of interoperability. The UNH-IOL has a great deal of collective experience with interoperability testing, and has been instrumental in contributing to productive plugfests and progressive test plans.
BN: The UNH-IOL has been providing Ethernet conformance and interoperability testing services for 25 years. Building on this experience and our engagement with the IEEE standards process, the UNH-IOL brings our extensive testing experience to the program to ensure thorough validation of AVnu products.
4. What factors led to the AVnu Alliance’s selection of the UNH-IOL as the independent testing house for the AVnu AVB Certification Program?
EJ: The UNH-IOL had already established itself as an accomplished and industry-trusted test house, especially for Ethernet standards, and their impressive facilities and experienced staff made them the logical choice for the AVnu Alliance certification program.
BN: The UNH-IOL has been involved with the IEEE standards process for many years, and has tracked the AVB standards effort from its early days in IEEE 802.3 group before migrating into the IEEE 802.1. This standards awareness combined with our testing heritage, recognized neutrality and prior engagements with many of the key AVnu members led to the natural Win-Win choice to work together to validate this emerging technology.
5. Why is this certification so important to AVB infrastructure providers? How will implementation of the technology impact end users / consumers?
EJ: Certification removes a lot of the guesswork for end users when it comes to choosing devices and making sure they will work together. Certification provides an additional third-party confirmation that the AVB components will work correctly. For infrastructure providers, it’s about responding to the growing market demand for AVB devices, and seeing their devices included in the AVB ecosystem.
6. How do AVB infrastructure providers attain this important certification?
EJ: The AVnu Alliance hosts multiple plugfests per year, and this is where member companies can informally test their devices or reference boards with other devices. For official testing towards certification, members must send their devices to the UNH-IOL, where the device will undergo a comprehensive series of tests to determine whether the device meets the compliance and interoperability standards defined by AVnu. After the device passes all the tests, the manufacturer can request to use the certification mark for that device.
7. Aside from the opportunity to achieve certification, what other benefits do companies receive by testing their devices at the UNH-IOL?
BN: AVnu Alliance members are encouraged to pre-test with the UNH-IOL to identify issues early in the development cycle. This pre-testing can greatly ease the final certification test, allowing for greater confidence in products. Beyond certification, AVnu Alliance members can engage the UNH-IOL to perform further value-add test services as well as engage the lab for testing in related areas such as Ethernet physical layer conformance testing, Wi-Fi testing, IPv6 validation, etc.
8. Are there already some certified AVnu products on the market? If not, when do you expect roll out to begin?
EJ: The AVnu Alliance and UNH-IOL have just launched the bridge certification program, so we can expect to see AVnu-certified products in the near future!
9. Are AVnu products compatible with not AVnu products?
EJ: Yes, AVnu-certified products can interface with other A/V equipment, and since AVB supports legacy network traffic, non-AVB devices can safely coexist on the same network. Products that are AVnu-certified may work with other products that support AVB, but interoperability of AVB content cannot be guaranteed without certification.
AVnu Alliance, Marketing Work Group Representative
Meyer Sound, Digital Products Analyst
Ellen Juhlin works at Meyer Sound as Digital Products Analyst, and has also been a sound designer for 10 years, specializing in interactive audio. She was one of the first to graduate from Carnegie Mellon University with a focus in sound design. Ellen has worked at a variety of live entertainment venues around the country, including Walt Disney World in Orlando, South Coast Repertory Theatre in Costa Mesa, and the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh. In recent years, she has been actively involved with the AVnu Alliance, contributing to the Marketing Working Group and evangelizing AVB network solutions. At Meyer Sound, she defines product and user interface requirements based on user research, and has also created custom touch-screen interfaces for unique applications.