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Kevin Gross on the AES X192 Interoperability Standard

Nov 22, 2011 10:38 AM, By Cynthia Wisehart


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I just talked to Kevin Gross. He’s the guy who’s doing the heavy lifting on the AES X192 interoperability standard. As chair of the task force, he’s trying to do things a little differently, based on the feedback that standards processes drag on way too long and are difficult to integrate because work is done by a variety of volunteers.

Gross conceived and developed CobraNet and is an active contributor to the AVB standard; he received an AES fellowship in 2006 for his contributions to digital audio networking, and in the real world, he helped put audio networking into Wembley Stadium, the U.S. Senate, the 2000 Olympics, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. He’s charged with most of the technical work on X192. Sponsoring members QSC and Telos/Axia Audio joined the effort earlier this year, and Gross started working in June. At AES last month, he presented to the task group in a live meeting and says he was pleasantly surprised to have consensus on his work to date. A real-time wiki allows the 40-some members of the task force to weigh in as Gross posts elements of the standard, speeding future feedback.

Key things to understand about this standards process: the goal is high-performance audio IP networking, which means high channel-count, lossless, uncompressed, and latency less than 10 millisecond (Gross thinks les than 1 millisecond is possible).

No new protocols are involved; the interoperability standard will be derived from existing standards, including the High RFC 3190 and Real Time RFC 3550 standards for VoIP developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (the folks who brought you IP and TCP), plus other existing IP protocols including the IEEE 1588 clock synchronization standard, RTP, and DiffServ.

The new interoperability standard is based on the observation that proven proprietary networks—QSC’s Q-LAN for Q-Sys, Telos’ Livewire, RAVENNA, Dante, and the IEE1733 variant of AVB—were all using similar IP standards, just in slightly different ways.

Gross envisions that devices operating under these various Level-3 protocols could retain their proprietary innovations, but also benefit from an X192-enabled interoperability mode; this would allow them to easily exchange audio data using protocols that are compatible with existing and off-the-shelf network equipment and familiar to IT professionals. Beyond that, he suggests that manufacturers may find that X192, once fully developed will meet all their criteria and may decide to implement it as their only networking protocol.

For more information or to join the taskforce, go to www.x192.org.



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