Network expert

Why you need a network expert for your AV setup

The realms of AV and IT continue to evolve and intertwine with one another.  Distributing AV signals grows more difficult for traditional AV platforms, as resolutions and speeds upgrade to greater heights.  In short, using an existing high speed ethernet network infrastructure makes the most sense.  In this case, latency remains minimized, and distance of distribution greatly improves through connecting network switches.  A network expert is now needed to work more closely with AV designers in optimizing collaborative audiovisual spaces.

To illustrate this point, let’s take a hospital campus as an example. At the hospital, all AV sources are located in the building’s AV center. Each source connects to a transmitter that encodes AV signals into IP data, feeding to the network switch. Displays in the building are equipped with a receiver decoding IP data back into AV signals. Furthermore, the network switch sends the IP data from the transmitters to these receivers, which send the decoded AV signals to the displays for playout. In conclusion, knowledge of network switching and routing remains essential in the design and integration of the audiovisual platform.

Network Expert for AV Over IP Environments

To successfully integrate an AV over IP environment, you’ll need a certified network expert with routing and switching expertise.  A layer 2 or 3 managed switch remains required for most AV over IP setups, with support for virtual local area networks (VLAN) and IGMP snooping. To elaborate, IGMP is a mechanism for AV systems utilizing IP multicasting.  It prevents the switch from sending multicast data to every port, degrading performance and chewing up network bandwidth.  In brief, a traditional AV integrator would have no experience in setting up a distribution environment such as this.

Unified Communications and Collaboration

AV integrators on the leading edge know to have an abundance of network experts on their roster.  In addition, they need to have a solid foundation in unified communications and collaboration skills.  Audiovisual OEMs such as Crestron now partner with companies like Microsoft in taking AV over IP to the next level.  The newly unveiled Crestron Flex provides a collaborative platform by combining Crestron’s IoT based distribution platform with Microsoft’s collaboration applications (Microsoft Teams, Skype For Business and Zoom).

For integrators, the target for signal extension and latency continues to shift.  For example, a push for the transmission of uncompressed audio video signals with near-zero latency and streaming in 4K resolution is in high demand.  As the audiovisual paradigm moves, so will the skill sets needed of integrators.

For more information regarding why AV integrators need a network expert for their designs and installations , please visit to speak with a solutions specialist!

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