April 2, 2024

cloudSwXtch Is Your Gateway to SRT in the Cloud

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The live production community has an abundance of compression and transport protocols at their fingertips to leverage for moving video content between locations. We recently wrote about the value that JPEG-XS compression brings to live production workflows in the cloud, where broadcasters want the visual quality that uncompressed video offers without the heavy bandwidth consumption and operational expense.

On the ground, content creators and streamers can choose from several proven transport methods to reliably move video content over IP networks and connections, including Zixi, RIST and HLS. These methods, along with others such as SRT, were created to accommodate limitations in the networks including jitter, packet loss and low bandwidth. All of these methods have benefits and viability, and their presence in the market will continue as many media companies have built their workflows around them.

SRT appears to be a primary option for many in the live production community. Originally developed by Haivision, SRT – short for Secure Reliable Transport – became an open-source video streaming transport protocol in 2017. SRT was designed in part to overcome problematic links. It quickly gained favor as a reliable mechanism for live video transport over public internet connections, especially as it pertained to live production and distribution, as well as remote contribution and collaboration.

While SRT certainly lives up to its name when it comes to security and reliability, its ability to move live content with very low latency was perhaps the greatest attraction for broadcasters and live content producers. Mobile production companies often use SRT as part of their content acquisition strategy. Video taken in through the camera system and switched on the truck is sent to a studio or video village over an SRT connection, arriving to its destination without delay. This is absolutely essential for live programming, and SRT’s ability to move large volumes of data in real-time without dropping packets - even when network conditions are erratic - makes it a favorite in this community.

The enablement of SRT transport is made possible through SRT gateways. These solutions create a bridge between live video sources and destinations. SRT is an agnostic technology that can transport an array of formats, codecs, and resolutions. That means that users can adapt live video and broadcast distributions to their protocol choices, using SRT’s real-time protocol conversion features. SRT gateways also can be used to move those live production and broadcast workflows between their on-prem infrastructure and cloud networks.

We Have the Keys

cloudSwXtch is a high-performance network built to help broadcasters and content producers seamlessly move production workflows into and through the cloud. Its technology foundation enables customers to demand more of their cloud networks, with the ability to support multicast, network path redundancy, and protocol fanout among many other applications that can be turned on and off within cloudSwXtch to support the customer’s requirements.

swXtch.io has now introduced its own SRT Gateway solution, which allows users to send their SRT workflows directly into cloudSwXtch. Once in the cloud, cloudSwXtch can add multicast capabilities to enable dynamic workflows, or fan out signals to other SRT endpoints as unicast or RIST streams, for example, paying respect to SRT’s ability to interface with many different protocols at once. Specifically, cloudSwXtch provides all the functionality required to manage SRT flows, with additional technologies required. cloudSwXtch essentially turns SRT’s point-to-point connectivity into a switched protocol, which makes it more flexible and even easier to use.

There are two ways to achieve SRT connectivity for our customers. The first is via a “drop-in” model with cloudSwXtch. A content producer with encoded SRT video in the cloud can connect directly to cloudSwXtch via its SRT Gateway. As cloudSwXtch is available on all major public cloud networks, cloudSwXtch can grab the SRT stream from whichever cloud it is present within, and the client has multiple options for managing that stream. cloudSwXtch can create multiple SRT streams, create a unicast stream, or simply pass along the original point-to-point SRT stream to an SRT endpoint.

A second possibility is to create a bridge for SRT content coming from on-prem networks, and add cloudSwXtch’s fanout capabilities to support the conversion and transmission of different protocols. SRT is a point-to-point protocol, but with cloudSwXtch users can create additional flows to serve different endpoints. Users can additionally set up protocol fanout menus within cloudSwXtch instead of requiring separate SRT devices, unicasts and so forth.

Separately, cloudSwXtch can bridge multicast into the cloud, or create an SRT link to the cloud with the added protection of lossless UDP connectivity. Lossless UDP optimizes packet delivery for high-bandwidth streams with minimal latency for dynamic ground-to-cloud bridging, and without any SDK integrations or software changes required. Stream protection can be further enhanced through SMPTE ST-2022-7 hitless merge, offering very robust network path redundancy as compressed or uncompressed SRT flows move into and through the cloud.

Give The People What They Want

We work with many customers who have different requirements from one event to another. There will be fluctuations with the amount of SRT used, and how dynamic the SRT flows will be from project to project. cloudSwXtch ups the ante on operational simplicity and ease because there are fewer workflow elements to configure. This is a benefit we anticipate will be very attractive in the virtual production universe, where SRT transport is also a popular choice.

Consider the monitoring of SRT feeds moving through the cloud in a multicast configuration. Since everything is networked via cloudSwXtch, the user’s monitoring device needs only to subscribe to the SRT feed that already exists on the network. The customer can tap into the point-to-point SRT source stream without having to completely reprocess the stream, or being forced to create a new one to establish a connection to the monitor. This is just one example of how cloudSwXtch streamlines the workflow without limiting its reach.

cloudSwXtch also offers customers complete observability of streams through its wXcked Eye user interface. wXcked Eye provides users with a network map that populates all stream views and channel views, along with flexible parameters for how each customer configures and looks at their broadcast networks. For a customer bringing SRT feeds into cloudSwXtch, wXcked Eye is the place to configure SRT streams, configure multicast capability, and manage the many different protocols and conversions required.

There are many opportunities where SRT flows and cloudSwXtch can come together, where cloudSwXtch is grabbing an SRT signal direct from a cloud or is deployed with bridge software on a server inside a truck or a flypack. Whether accepting camera sources, satellite sources or coding sources, cloudSwXtch can pull into your SRT feeds and reliably transport them to serve any format, protocol and endpoint desired. It’s a big universe out there, and cloudSwXtch exists to help you navigate its further reaches with ease.

Get in touch with our sales team to learn more about leveraging  the capabilities of cloudSwXtch. If you're planning on being at NAB Show, come find us, April 14-17, in the Las Vegas Convention Center West Hall at booth W4429, to chat about swxtch.io's solutions for broadcasting in the cloud.

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