But What Does it Cost?
SFP+ modules will be available through Aurora for around $75 each. The Aurora switches (or other 10G fiber switches) start at around $1,800 MSRP for eight ports. And then there’s the $1,200 for each transceiver.
When I started crunching all these numbers, Harris noted that he compared IPBaseT pricing with HDBaseT and “based on the manufacturer we come out to about the same or less, even though we are fiber. If you compare to a fiber system then we are about half the cost.”
But, if you consider the advanced feature set of IPBaseT, says Harris, “then we are the better value as we can do seamless switching if the inputs are the same frame rate and resolution, and we can perform video wall functions.”
He also points to the expandability of the IPBaseT products which, via an unused slot, can add IP services such as KVM via USB (480 Mbps) and Dante.
“For those that are aware, this is all a very big deal,” says Harris, “especially if we see this in a copper version.”
Hopefully soon after ISE I will be able to put out a complete hands-on review of the product to see if it really meets the hype. If it does I may very well be rethinking the way I do video distribution from this day forward.
Aurora in the Hot Seat
Here are some more notable details, mostly in Harris’s words, in response to Derek’s and my questions.
- There are 2 latencies. First is frame latency which is zero. Second is the latency of the signal itself which is about two horizontal lines—worst case—which is under 20usec. In other words very fast.
- IPBaseT is far better than AVB for large installs. AVB is Layer 2 only, so it is not routable. IPBaseT protocol is Layer 3 so it’s fully routable and therefore creates a true “Wide Area Network.”
- AVB is not ready yet for the “V” part of it. The video data format in the 1722 stream is loosely defined.
- AVB is just a transport layer. It does not define provision for more (HDCP, IR, RS-232, audio extraction/insertion, network management, video wall processing, and much more).
- IPBaseT supports 1588 timebase if the network is capable, but Aurora also has its equivalent (proprietary) way to obtain a global precise timebase when the switch (or one of the switches) does not support IEEE1588 (enables lower-cost switches).
- Dante does have delays but our system does not require Dante. It is an option to bridge to devices that support Dante.
- The concept of IPBaseT is to utilize the strengths of various IP technologies as there is no one technology that can do it all. However you need a non-compressed zero-latency base to work from. Then we bridge when applicable to the various standards like H.264, Dante, ExtremeUSB, etc.
- Back in the days of analog, if something went wrong you could patch around it. With today’s digital systems, it’s not so easy. With IPBaseT you can patch around issues. If a unit set up as a transmitter has an issue, you can borrow a receiver with less importance in the install and set it as a transmitter to get the system working for that important event. Since it is a segmented design if one thing goes wrong it does not necessarily have to take the entire system down, and paths can be patched around using a standard fiber patch bay.
- The wallplates have their own SFP+ modules built in, along with the associated circuitry. Aurora manages to pack it all in by using a three-gang configuration with enough space to land the fiber on the rear, even when generous bend radii are considered.