AVB Ethernet

High-performance audio networking for the 16A
the industry standard way

Developed by the IEEE, the 802.1 Audio Video Bridging (AVB) extension to the Ethernet standard is now shipping as a standard feature in every MOTU AVB audio interface, ready to have an immediate, positive impact on your pro audio workflow. AVB audio networking fulfills the promise of a truly professional, scalable audio networking standard that can change the way you think about audio I/O and distribution for your own specific needs.

An open industry standard

AVB has been developed by the IEEE as an international standard specification for transporting high-bandwidth, low-latency audio and video over Ethernet. As a true industry standard, it is not proprietary and controlled by one company, allowing for open interoperability across devices and brands, with consistent, non-disruptive adoption of refinements to the specification, as it evolves.

It's Ethernet — for pro audio

AVB audio networking works very similarly to regular Ethernet. The only difference is that you use AVB switches instead of Ethernet routers, and you use a higher grade of ethernet cables (shielded CAT-5e or CAT-6), which are affordable and easily purchased wherever networking supplies are sold. However, AVB goes way beyond Ethernet. By design, bandwidth is high, latency is low, and audio streaming is guaranteed to be uninterrupted.

What does AVB mean for you?

In a nutshell, AVB audio networking gives you two important benefits: 1) flexible, convenient control of your entire audio system from any web host on the same network — even Wi-Fi devices like an iPad or iPhone, and 2) endless possibilities for expanding your system or constructing a customized installation. Here are just a few ideas.

Personal studio expansion

Start with a single MOTU AVB interface that fits your immediate I/O needs. Add a second MOTU AVB interface with a simple Ethernet cable.

Studio system

Place three to five MOTU AVB interfaces at strategic locations in your studio, mixed and matched as needed, all connected to a MOTU AVB Switch.

Multi-room installation

Install a MOTU AVB interface in every room of your studio facility, church, music department, or broadcast facility. Route audio from any source to any destination in your entire facility with sub-millisecond timing.

Scalable concert systems

Integrate FOH mixing, in-ear monitoring, and concert recording with long cable runs (100 meters) and network wide accessibility. Manage audio routing with convenient 8-channel stems and ultra-low latency. Scale your system for different sized performance venues. Build in system redundancy with ease.

Large-scale commercial installations

With long cable runs and industry standard networking infrastructure, MOTU AVB systems are well-suited for large-scale commercial installations such as arenas, stadiums, theme parks, clubs, casinos, houses of worship, broadcast facilities, schools, universities, and so on.

No licensing fees

Because AVB is an open industry standard specification, there are no expensive licensing fees that must be passed on to you. Instead, cost goes directly towards achieving the highest possible networking performance for your dollar.

Over 512 channels of network audio

AVB is designed to handle hundreds of audio channels over a network. A MOTU AVB network (with MOTU AVB interfaces and the MOTU AVB Switch™) can stream over 512 channels. In addition, each MOTU AVB device can broadcast multiple 8-channel network streams and simultaneously listen to multiple 8-channel network streams. The number of supported streams varies by product, with the 16A offering the maximum: 16 streams (128 channels) in and out, simultaneously.

Low, fixed network latency

Standard AVB network latency is fixed at 2 ms. MOTU AVB network latency is an astonishing 0.625 ms (fixed), even over 7 "hops" (switches) and hundreds of meters of cable. That's only 30 samples when the system is operating at 48 kHz. When adding the ultra-low processor latency of MOTU AVB interfaces, that's an astonishing 0.92 ms point to point, over seven switches and potentially hundreds of meters of network cables. By comparison, other proprietary networking systems have unpredictable, variable latency in the 2-5 ms range.

0.625 ms

Point-to-point network latency at 48k

FPGA in 4
FPGA out 4
DSP in/out 6
Processor total 14
Network 30
I/O + Network                44 (0.92 ms)

Precision timing and network-wide sync

AVB provides its own network-wide time base for better-than-sample-accurate phase lock across all connected devices. Timing accuracy is down to the nanosecond. Better yet, a MOTU AVB network provides one-click synchronization: click the "Become Clock Master" button in the MOTU AVB web app for the MOTU device you choose as the clock master, and all other devices on the network immediately resolve to it.

Guaranteed Quality of Service (QoS)

AVB’s Stream Reservation Protocol provides Guaranteed Quality of Service for each and every audio stream. Once a point-to-point network connection is established, AVB guarantees that the audio stream will never be interrupted by any other network traffic of any kind.

True plug-and-play operation

A MOTU AVB system has been designed from the ground up to provide automatic device discovery, enumeration, and connection management. Just plug your MOTU AVB interfaces into a standard AVB switch and go. You don’t need an IT professional to configure the network. AVB is a self-managing network protocol.

Bridging to standard Ethernet

AVB can coexist with standard ethernet networks, for connecting standard ethernet devices like Airports or other Wi-Fi routers, Ethernet switches, and even entire Ethernet networks in your home, office or studio. This gives you control of your AVB devices from anywhere in your facility and access to the internet for instant firmware updates served from MOTU's cloud servers.

Long cable runs

A single AVB network connection can be up to 100 meters with a standard copper wire CAT-5e or CAT-6 cable. Fiber-optic cable runs can be much longer. With multiple switches — up to seven “hops” (switch-to-switch connections) — you can create a network that covers very large distances, if necessary.

Host access through
Thunderbolt or USB

MOTU is first to combine AVB networking with Thunderbolt and USB2 connectivity. MOTU AVB networks do not require PCIe slots. Instead, you can conveniently connect your host computer(s) through USB or Thunderbolt.

Support for multiple computer hosts

A MOTU AVB network can host as many computers as can be physically connected, with complete access by all hosts to all connected devices and audio streams. All computers and all network devices run in sync with each other, resolved to the network's master clock.

256 channels of host I/O

Over Thunderbolt, MOTU's AVB interfaces support 256 simultaneous channels of audio I/O (128 in plus 128 out). If your computer has multiple Thunderbolt ports, such as the new Mac Pro cylinder, you can access the network through multiple Thunderbolt connections that support 256 channels each.

Star configuration

MOTU AVB employs a star network configuration, which is much more flexible than daisy-chain scenarios by allowing for multiple branches that can be fed to multiple destinations.

Web interface and wireless control

MOTU's AVB system can be controlled from MOTU's AVB Control software, which runs within any web browser running on any networked laptop, tablet, or smart phone — even over Wi-Fi. Control your system from multiple devices at the same time, from any OS platform (Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, etc.)