After just three months from joining the OCA Alliance - the consortium responsible for the development of the AES70 standard - at the 141st AES convention, audio and networking technology developer Archwave released AudioLAN 2.0, expanding the possibilities of its audio networking development platforms and allowing audio systems to truly interoperate.
Archwave is a technology partner of different pro audio manufacturers and especially renowned for its innovative USB audio-streaming technologies. The Swiss company was instrumental in the integration and promotion of the AES67 AoIP interoperability standard, promoted within the joint-efforts of the Media Networking Alliance (MNA), with solutions characterized by straightforward integration and user-friendly control interface.
Archwave currently offers a variety of hardware modules and an intuitive network management system (Command & Control), built around its exclusive CopperLan technology and the AudioLAN suite of products. Archwave AudioLAN offers a completely integrated hardware & software package to guarantee professional grade audio thru RAVENNA and AES67 audio network technologies, with easy configuration via a web browser on a laptop, tablet or smartphone using an attractive and intuitive graphical user interface.
AudioLAN by Archwave comprises a family of off-the-shelf hardware modules which are AES67 compliant and now also support AES70. While AES67 is the industry standard that allows different audio networking protocols to send and receive audio data, AES70 is the architecture for system discovery, control and connection management for media networks, also known as OCA. The Open Control Architecture Alliance (OCA) was set up to promote the AES70 standard for system control and connection management for audio and AV systems, currently in the very early stages of adoption into shipping products. Whilst the two protocols are useful on their own, together they provide new and unique benefits. Users are able to see their entire audio system, send commands from device to device and pass audio to anywhere in the network.
At the AES 2016 convention in Los Angeles, together with Bosch, Archwave showcased the world’s first audio networking solution based on the two open technology standards. As Arie van den Broek, CEO of Archwave Technologies explained to visitors on the OCA Alliance booth, any manufacturer can adopt this into their products, implementing an integrated solution for audio transport, connectivity and control.
The demonstration included one of Archwave’s uNET Standard modules connected to the Bosch OMNEO development board, in this case working with Audinate’s latest Dante network implementation with AES67 support. The AudioLAN control interface allowed simple drag and drop routing of any of the audio connections from the Archwave to the Bosch system. The AES70 implementation provided the means of discovery and connection management whilst AES67 provided the audio connection. Importantly, AES70 sits above all networked audio protocols - RAVENNA, Dante, LiveWire, Q-LAN, etc. - to provide a universal means of discovery and connection management for the network, as well as offering the ability to remotely control devices.
“Users are often confused by the different industry standards and whether they offer any real benefit. AudioLAN 2.0 shows the unique features from combining AES67 along with an industry standard control and management,” stated Arie van den Broek, which also confirmed that a number of manufacturers are already working with Archwave implementing the technology into their products.
As the both Archwave and Bosch emphasized in this demonstration, this new level of interoperability allows a complete industry solution for audio and control, creating two new layers of interoperability between existing the different networked audio protocols, allowing equipment to work better together across IT networks, and for users to easily route channels and manage remote connections. In order to benefit from AES67 we still need to have a ‘mother protocol’ installed in any product such as RAVENNA or Dante, and the same is true for AES70, creating a common translation between the different discovery methods used in each native protocol, as well as connection management. At the same time, AES70 adds new exciting possibilities of remote equipment control, based on a open standard.
AES70 was designed not only to control devices. It can be used to control networked connections too. Therefore the mechanism exists for AES70 to control AES67 audio streams. Devices can patch audio to each other without the need of a centralized control tool, although it’s possible to also use one. Devices will be able to resolve connections to each other without the need of a software control program, and regardless of what audio networking protocol is being used.
Archwave’s AudioLAN 2.0 combines AES67 and AES70 into one coherent technology. The AES70 element actually controls what the AES67 streams are doing and, since it was designed to be very scalable, from two devices to thousands, it will work across very large networks in the same way as it does across one single switch. As Archwave summarizes, “AES70 provides the network intelligence to allow it to modify the audio streaming to suit the requirements of each and every network.”
AudioLan 2.0 will be a firmware upgrade in all Archwave equipped products over the coming months. Bosch will start to implement it into their products.