Setting the Standard: Implementing Broadcast-Grade IP

by | Jun 22, 2023 | Blog Post

To understand the foundations of implementing IP tech in the broadcast industry, we explored The Origins of IP and how to Define Broadcast-Grade IP in our first two blogs in the series. As we conclude this three-part series, we turn our attention to the challenges that broadcasters and content owners face when integrating IP broadcast technology into their media workflows. In this blog we’ll delve into the hurdles associated with infrastructure, compatibility, knowledge and expertise, and other commonly cited challenges.

Infrastructure Challenges

Just as we emphasized the importance of infrastructure in our first article, implementing IP broadcast technology poses significant infrastructure challenges. Upgrading existing systems to support IP transmission requires careful consideration of network infrastructure, including switches, routers, and perhaps new encoding solutions.

Bandwidth optimization and network reliability become crucial factors in ensuring seamless transmission of broadcast-grade content within the IP ecosystem.

Compatibility Concerns

In our exploration of broadcast-grade IP in the second article, we highlighted the need for compatibility between various systems and devices. However, achieving this compatibility remains a challenge. 

Remember, just because both the encoder and decoder support the same IP protocol does not mean that they can both process the same payload, meaning the codecs, frame types and resolutions for example. Thorough testing, vendor collaboration, and ongoing maintenance are essential to address compatibility concerns effectively.

Knowledge and Expertise Gap

As we discussed in our second article, transitioning from traditional SDI workflows to IP-based systems requires specialised knowledge and expertise. Bridging the knowledge gap within broadcast engineering teams becomes vital to ensure successful IP implementation. Upskilling teams or collaborating with experts well-versed in IP networking, IT infrastructure, and associated technologies can help overcome this challenge.

Scalability and Flexibility

Scalability and flexibility are recurring themes throughout our series. IP technology offers the advantage of dynamic scalability to accommodate changing demands. However, effectively managing and scaling IP infrastructure poses challenges. Ensuring resource availability, maintaining signal integrity in distributed networks, and managing IP streams in hybrid environments demand meticulous planning and optimization.

Security and Data Protection

The adoption of IP technology introduces new security considerations, as discussed in our second article. Protecting valuable content and data from security breaches and unauthorized access becomes paramount. Implementing robust security measures, such as encryption, secure network architectures, and access controls, is critical to safeguarding sensitive content and maintaining trust in IP workflows.

Don’t Get Left Behind

Taking all of these challenges at face value would make even the most ambitious tech leaders reluctant to make any changes or disturb the status quo. But, keeping up with and transitioning to new technologies is an essential factor when it comes to survival in the post-pandemic broadcast world.

Where IP is concerned, the technology has already proven itself whether that be in production, or contribution and distribution workflows. It’s not considered risky anymore. More often than not the perceived risk is borne out of one, or a combination, of the challenges highlighted above. 

By having a holistic understanding and respect for the foundations of IP technologies, it should become clear that actually the biggest risk is being left behind. This blog series has aimed to demonstrate that implementing IP broadcast technology brings immense opportunities and advantages and by proactively addressing these challenges, whether internally or by carefully selecting a third-party supplier, broadcasters can harness the potential of IP technology, achieve greater operational and financial efficiency whilst continuing to deliver high-quality content to their audiences.

Cerberus Tech has the IP video expertise needed to help you transport broadcast-grade content to global audiences and overcome the challenges outlined here. Get in touch with the team to discuss how our IP solutions, Livelink and Network 1, can fit seamlessly into your broadcast contribution and distribution workflows.