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What is the Avnu Alliance and its Mission?

The Avnu Alliance is a community creating an interoperable ecosystem of low-latency, time-synchronized, highly reliable synchronized networked devices using open standards through certification.

Avnu Alliance members include more than 95% of the Ethernet silicon suppliers in the market, leading players in the networking infrastructure space, household names from the automotive industry and prominent firms in audio-visual markets.

Avnu Alliance facilitates a new certified networking ecosystem and simplifies network synchronization for engineers through Audio Video Bridging (AVB) and Time Synchronized Networking (TSN) standards, built into Ethernet, not around it; solving major technical and performance issues such as: precise timing and real-time synchronization, bandwidth reservation, and traffic shaping all while reducing the total cost of ownership by minimizing deployment and maintenance time.

The Alliance is focused on applications of these technologies in the Automotive, Professional A/V, Industrial and Consumer Electronics markets.

What is deterministic networking?

Deterministic networking is required in a wide range of current and next-generation connectivity applications that need a network that behaves in a predictable fashion. Deterministic networking is made up of two vital technologies: Bounded latency and precise timing/synchronization. Examples of deterministic networking include:

  • Media networking. Networks that convey audio and video information need to stick to strict timing rules and require predictable or bounded latency. If an audio or video packet arrives late to its destination, the receiving device (for instance a video screen or speaker) has no data to present. In practice this might mean a dropped frame of video, an unwanted audio artifact such as a pop or silence.

Precise timing is needed to enable audio data to be presented from different speakers with a known phase relationship, and synchronization between video and related audio streams.

  • Control networking. Control networks need to accept inputs from sensors, perform control loop processing, and initiate actions in response. Such actions (for example controlling a networked industrial machine or a conveyor belt) are highly time-sensitive. They require deterministic network delays with low-jitter input and output sampling, to create a control system that behaves predictably.
  • Safety-critical networks. Deterministic networks often need to implement redundancy, so that if one part of the network fails, the system can still function robustly and safely. This is an important part of deterministic networking.
  • Mixed media networks. Deterministic networks need to be able to differentiate between data with varying levels of timing-sensitivity and priority. This is important in an environment such as a vehicle, where auto makers would like to be able to use a single network infrastructure for all communications – such as climate control, infotainment, body electronics or driver assistance.

The IEEE AVB/TSN base standards enable deterministic networking as the foundational technology that can satisfy the common needs of these diverse and demanding applications.

What is AVB?

Audio Video Bridging (AVB) replaces both the physical complexity of analog cables and the network complexity of earlier proprietary solutions with an open, standards based approach that enables interoperable platforms to offer more affordable and better market solutions.

AVB is an evolution of standard Ethernet and other compatible media, such as wireless LAN, to add support for real-time audio video and control applications. It is the common name for the set of technical standards developed by the IEEE 802.1 Audio Video Bridging Task Group. AVB standards add capabilities to the Ethernet network providing three major enhancements:

  1. Precise timing to support low-jitter media clocks and accurate synchronization of multiple streams.
  2. A simple reservation protocol that allows an application on an endpoint device to notify the various network elements in a path so that they can reserve the resources necessary to support a particular stream.
  3. Queuing and forwarding rules that ensure that such a stream will pass through the network within the delay specified by the reservation.

What is TSN?

Time Sensitive Networking is the evolution of AVB, building upon the AVB specifications to expand the range, functionality and applications of the standard. AVB is continuously evolving for new demanding applications and markets that are increasing interest in the technology. TSN is the new name for the same IEEE 802.1 Task Group, which developed AVB. The Time Sensitive Networking set of standards will be backwards compatible with AVB, but add new features and enhancements as part of the standard.

Avnu Alliance has the job of guiding what is needed from this specification for new applications in automotive and industrial segments and simplifying the process for engineers and designers to build products utilizing TSN. Some of the new key features in TSN include added fault tolerance and redundancy, and further improvements in time sensitive scheduling and latency control to AVB/TSN networks. AVB / TSN standard is an upgrade to existing networks (wireless and wired) – representing the synchronization and bandwidth layer for time critical applications. AVB and TSN can complement other existing and emerging specifications and standards.

How does AVB and TSN relate to other protocols and standards?

The IEEE AVB/TSN standards define how a network (primarily Ethernet networks) should be made timing-aware. AVB/TSN are not communications protocols, but – like other capabilities such as VLAN and Power over Ethernet – they are core network capabilities that can be used by any (open or proprietary) communications system that needs them. When you buy an Ethernet chip, it just has this capability.

These foundational standards facilitate a broad-range of higher-layer communications technologies, all in a timing-aware environment. So the user can still choose the most appropriate transport layer, data encapsulation format and enumeration and discovery techniques for their application, all within a timing-aware framework.

How does Avnu Certification work?

The Avnu Alliance defined a procedure which may then be used to certify products to the Avnu-certification based IEEE standards. Before certification can be achieved, Avnu Alliance defines the market specific requirements and develops the conformance and interoperability test plans as well as the testing procedures. The test house produces detailed reports and data that are fed back to the manufacturers to help address any issues they may have. Once deficiencies have been satisfactorily resolved and the product has passed the testing procedures, the test report and certification application can be submitted to Avnu Alliance for formal approval and the ability to use the Avnu-Certified logo.

Any member can submit a product for Avnu-certification testing.

Why should you join Avnu Alliance as a promoter member before you’ve developed products with AVB/TSN?

The Alliance has developed a rich set of tools to help its members develop AVB/TSN products. When you join Avnu Alliance, you can make sure you are engineering the right requirements into your products. Your membership allows you to participate in developing the market requirements and test plans so that your products are ready for certification without re-engineering. You can also get real-time updates on specification changes. Avnu Alliance members are given a rich set of tools to help you build your AVB/TSN products to the specifications, test devices and accelerate product development before entering the formal testing program.

Also, Avnu Alliance membership gives you the opportunity to collaborate with fellow Alliance members to develop a complete ecosystem of interoperable devices. Membership gives you the chance to network and consult with time sensitive application experts and engineers and get tips and best practices for implementation.

By participating in the workgroups you can help ensure that the AVB/TSN compliance program meets the demanding performance benchmarks for your market and influence technical specifications. The Avnu members work together to define Avnu certification, ensuring that AVB/TSN is easy to implement and has broad global market appeal.

How can I become a member of Avnu Alliance?

Anyone is eligible to join the Avnu Alliance. See the “become a member” page for membership information.

Where can I get more information about Avnu Alliance?

The Avnu Alliance website www.avnu.org includes a broad range of technology and market-specific white papers as well as links to standards organizations.