Networks and Signal Distribution

Radio Convergence

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Guest Editorial by Szymon Slupik, CTO, Silvair

Szymon Slupik

Every couple of days I'm asked about the future of wireless standards. How is the landscape going to look like  a couple of years from now? Companies are placing their bets. The conventional wisdom has been the number of wireless standards would never be reduced. I strongly disagree with this view.

Actually within a few years we may be down to just four. While there are always niche applications requiring some specific radio features, the majority of applications will converge around these radio families:

  1. LTE / 5G for anything outdoor. Mobile telephony, mobile wide area data (high speed and low speed).
  2. WiFi for generic purpose indoor Internet access for high power devices (such as phones or personal computers).
  3. WiGig for ultra high bandwidth applications such as wireless displays and wireless storage (this may include digital cameras if the industry gets together and defines application profiles, which it should have done 15 years ago).
  4. Bluetooth for anything that is defined as low power (including portable audio, hearing aids, accessories and the galaxy of small or even smaller devices collectively know as the IoT, which will fill the buildings).

Now I'm not saying that LoRa and Sigfox will cease to exist. Nor will 802.15.4, Z-Wave, ANT, UWB and a bunch of others. But they will have a hard time growing or even maintaining their market share and will be pushed to serve niche applications.

Wireless Choices

The reason is simple. Every wireless device at some point benefits from being able to connect to a mobile phone. For commissioning, diagnostics, proximity interaction... plenty of reasons. And there is only so much space on the phone motherboard that vendors are fighting for every tiny piece of it removing (considered valuable) components like 3.5mm headphone jacks. Also there is very little, if anything. not covered by the four.

A phone already has LTE and WiFi and Bluetooth. It will have WiGig in future, because WiFi is too slow for the upcoming mainstream use cases like virtual reality displays. This combo of four radios can today do everything any other radio can do. There is absolutely no reason to add anything else. Especially after Bluetooth has matched (and surpassed) the mesh networking skills of ANT and 802.15.4. And there is no way to convince Apple or Samsung or Qualcomm or Intel to stick anything else into their devices and chipsets either.

If there is anything missing, companies will rather get together and spin an improved variant of one of the four than propose something else. This was exactly the case with Bluetooth mesh: we could either pray to, say, Samsung, to build a 15.4 chip into a phone or define a mesh standard that works on any Bluetooth chip that is out there already. Solving a couple of other fundamental mesh-related problems on the way.

Szymon Slupik is CTO at Silvair, developers of an end-to-end smart lighting platform for commissioning and managing large-scale connected lighting systems in commercial spaces. He also serves as Chair of the Mesh Working Group at Bluetooth SIG, where his Working Group was recently awarded 2017 Working Group of the Year . 

Slupik was also awarded 2017 Committee Chair of the Year and 2017 Outstanding Technical Contributor of the Year. In giving the award for Outstanding Technical Contributor, the Bluetooth SIG noted in its announcement, “Szymon has been the leading contributor and author of the mesh model specification, delivering extremely deep and well thought architecture that has been fundamental to the success of mesh. He has been a co-author of the ground-breaking concept of Mesh Device Properties. On other fronts Szymon has contributed to upcoming significant performance improvements of Bluetooth mesh networking via enhancement proposals to the Bluetooth Core Specification. Szymon has also authored the Beacons for Channel indication and beacon management FRDs. Finally, Szymon led the effort to create the Mesh Professional Lighting Subgroup and has been the co-author and contributor to the IEC 62386 (DALI) Model FRD.”

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Router, Wifi, Firewall, 4G LTE Failover in One Device

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Datto DNA

Lose your internet connectivity and you lose access to business-critical applications, communication and services—and that means losing money, time and customers. When your customer’s business-critical internet connection goes down, they need a solution that can get them re-connected and get back in business, fast.

While the cost of redundant ISP connections may be prohibitively expensive for some small businesses, there is a solution coming in Q4: the Datto DNA.

When your customer’s primary ISP connection becomes unavailable or is intermittently offline, the Datto DNA detects the disruption and automatically fails-over to either a secondary ISP connection or the 4G LTE data network–included right out of the box–with no additional contracts to sign, or overages to pay.

And the best news: it’s built for service providers. This is an easy, attractive product to add in your product offering to customers.

DNA can easily be managed from the cloud. AV service providers can monitor their fleet of DNA devices at various customer locations from a single portal, and then manage and service any individual DNA remotely from the convenience of an easy-to-use web interface. This decreases downtime and provides a better experience for end users with immediate troubleshooting instead of needing to schedule a technician to be onsite, while also saving hours of service time.

DNA has a built-in 32GB industrial grade compact flash storage for fast infrastructure for OS and firmware support.

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Murideo Releases Fresco SIX-A & Fresco SIX-G Combo

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 Fresco SIX-A and Fresco SIX-G Combo

Murideo releases the Fresco SIX-A and Fresco SIX-G Combination, giving AV integrators a new standard for testing, analyzing and commissioning HDMI distribution systems, cabling and interconnects to 18G.

The Fresco SIX-G HDMI Signal Generator & HDCP Tester was designed for the AV integration market to confirm HDMI 2.0 and HDCP2.2 compliance up to the 18 GBP/sec level.

The SIX-G also troubleshoots distributed HDMI systems and a reference source for video calibration (compatible with CalMAN, Light Illusion, and ChromaPure).

One of the biggest challenges for integrators today is determining what infrastructure to put in the systems they design while verifying all of the components will work together. Over the past few years UHD TVs have been a mix of HDCP 2.2 and 1.4, 300MHz and 600MHz –even to the point of varying by port. HDR also adds some unique challenges like exceeding the 10.2 GBPS HDBaseT threshold-- the SIX-G has a full suite of HDR tools to boot.

The SIX-G takes the guess work out of troubleshooting and provides absolute information about HDMI components that will work and identifies ones that won’t work – all in a hand-held, portable field tool.

“There is not an AV installer that doesn’t need an HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 tool like this—and the MURIDEO Fresco SIX-G costs far less (with more features) than other solutions,” says Matt Murray. Shown in photo at left.]


The Fresco SIX-A 18 GBPS Advanced HDMI & HDCP Tester & Signal Analyzer was designed for the AV integration market to troubleshoot, analyze and commission digital AV distribution systems up to HDMI 2.0x and HDCP 2.2 operation up to the 18 GBPS level.

“Pair the SIX-A with the SIX-G (generator) and you have the perfect "fox and hound" point-to-point troubleshooting system available today,” adds Murray.

The SIX-A is an extremely useful and cost effective field test tool for systems integrators in today's world of mixed systems and multiple flavors of SD, HD and UHD this tool solves problems.

“Consultants will love the SIX-A as a tool for system commissioning and validation – with included PC software for advanced analysis and reporting,” adds Murray.

One user, Ricky Jennings of Kalibrate, says "We use the SIX-A and SIX-G for testing basic and complex switching solutions for maximum capability and performance (including complete high bandwidth HDMI cable testing, HDBaseT and HDIP link testing up to 18 GBPS. We simply love our SIX-A and SIX-G. It's a complete and invaluable tool for our field service teams and has reduced go-backs and replacement on non-defective parts to almost zero."

The Murideo SIX-G HDMI Generator and SIX-A HDMI Analyzer are now shipping as a set. They are also entered in CEDIA 2016's competition for Best of Show Awards. The SIX-G and SIX-A were recently featured at the CE Week UHD TV Shootout in NYC and were used to provide reference test patterns (including HDR) and analysis of source devices.

Murideo (an AVPro Global Holdings Company) is a manufacturer of goods designed to assist in calibration and installation for video distribution systems and calibration.

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Panasonic’s DIGITAL LINK with Long Reach Mode

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Digital Link

Digital Link is a connection system based on HDBaseT technology that supports the transmission of HDMI signals, uncompressed 4K (4.2.0) video1, Full HD video, audio, and control commands through a single LAN cable for very long distances—up to 150 m (492 ft) in Long Reach Mode*.

It’s a simple, high-quality digital transmission technology from Panasonic that works to reduce installation cost and complexity in venues of all sizes.

For example, Digital Link is ideal for large auditoriums, supporting 4K video over distances of up to 50m with a single LAN cable. It saves money – fewer cables and receivers means reduced chance of failure and far lower infrastructure costs.

Digital Link system

Some of the advantages of a single LAN cable are obvious but here is a list from Panasonic:

  • Less chance of system failure with fewer cables and receivers
  • Lower Infrastructure Cost
  • Reduces cost of control system upgrades
  • Reduces cost of external receivers
  • Reduces total cost of AV control software
  • Reaches further distances
  • Supports 4K video* over distances of up to 50 m (164 ft) with a single LAN cable
  • Allows 1080/60p signal transmission for up to 150 m (492 ft) via a single LAN cable using RJ45 connectors and in Long Reach Mode*
  • Enables digital connection of uncompressed 4K*1 and Full HD video, audio, LAN, and control commands
  • Minimizes image and sound degradation

Digital Link supports the control protocols of Crestron, Extron, AMX and some others. This makes it easier to configure a wide variety of systems and allows Digital Link to integrate into an existing control setup.

Where more than two display devices are integrated into the network, Digital Link can simplify installation of digital signage networks. DIGITAL LINK is a key plank in Panasonic’s own simplified front-to-back video-wall solutions. Each panel can be daisy-chained via Digital Link, combining digital content and control commands in one cable.

It’s also lets you create a 4K digital display system in locations where cable lengths previously prevented the distribution of 4K content, such as in large casinos, corporate boardrooms, or for retail signage networks.

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Watch Video, How to Make a Panasonic Digital Link System

Extron Ships the AV Industry's First 4K/60 @ 4:4:4 HDMI Scalers

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Extron DSC HD-HD 4K Plus A

Extron Electronics introduces the availability of the award-winning DSC HD-HD 4K Plus A and DSC HD-HD 4K Plus A xi, the AV industry’s first scalers that can process single-path 4K/60 video signals at 4:4:4. HDCP 2.2 compliant HDMI 2.0 inputs and outputs support data rates up to 18 Gbps.

The scalers incorporate the Extron exclusive Vector 4K scaling engine, developed internally by Extron's expert team of signal processing engineers for critical-quality 4K applications. The DSC HD-HD 4K Plus A xi provides the added flexibility of scaling and managing 4K/60 as a dual path signal. The scalers provide many integrator-friendly features, such as on-screen display, stereo audio embedding and de-embedding, internal test patterns, and the ability to display custom on-screen images and logos.

"The DSC HD-HD 4K Plus A scalers are the AV industry's first to support 4K resolutions at 60 Hz with 4:4:4 signal processing. They are ideal for critical-quality imaging of full-motion video and highly detailed graphics in the most demanding 4K applications," says Casey Hall, VP Sales and Marketing for Extron. "This industry-leading 4K scaling performance is a direct result of our ongoing commitment to world-class engineering and research."

Extron DSC HD-HD 4K Plus A xi

The DSC HD-HD 4K Plus A and DSC HD-HD 4K Plus A xi incorporate the Extron-exclusive Vector 4K scaling engine. Engineered in-house for critical-quality 4K signal processing, the Vector 4K scaling engine delivers the power and precision required to manage 4K content. Whether integrating legacy sources with 4K displays, or downscaling 4K content to HD displays, Vector 4K provides processing and clarity for any 4K application

The DSC HD-HD 4K Plus A has a single HDMI input and output that support resolutions up to 4096x2160 at 60 Hz. The DSC HD-HD 4K Plus A xi features a pair of HDMI inputs and outputs. The additional input and output allow integration with source devices and displays that support 4K as two columns. The DSC HD-HD 4K Plus A xi can also accept two matched-resolution inputs for side-by-side display on a single screen, or provide duplicate outputs for driving a pair of displays.

In addition to 4K signal integration and processing capabilities, these scalers offer several features that enhance and simplify AV system integration. Custom images can be displayed as a screen saver, HDCP notification, or corporate branding. An image can also be displayed as a logo with full position and keying control. The DSC HD-HD 4K Plus A and DSC HD-HD 4K Plus A xi also feature essential audio integration capabilities, including discrete, selectable analog and digital audio muting, input gain and attenuation, and output volume control.

Watch Product Video, Extron DSC HD-HD 4K Plus A

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