New services and innovation

IP Matrix Project

Rai Way has adopted an innovative IP matrix and a new data centre with software-based headend

Evolution of the core business

At the heart of the evolution of Rai Way's core business is a project: the IP matrix, a new video/audio transport and distribution infrastructure launched on the occasion of the adoption of MPEG4 coding for broadcasting content on the digital terrestrial network together with the new headends installed in the data centre specifically implemented at the Rome Monte Mario Rai Way facility.

A completely revamped audio/video transport and distribution network

The IP Matrix Project takes its name from the main goal we set for ourselves: to create a network for routing and transporting audio/video signals in Rome that would combine the advantages and simplicity of the old SDI and ASI matrix video technologies with the flexibility and scalability of IP technology.

In implementing it, we used state-of-the-art, multivendor technologies synchronised via PTP, including 100G datacentre IP switches and video/IP gateways.

With this new network, we can easily transport and monitor audio/video signals, with and without compression, thanks to an advanced orchestrator system, the SDN Controller, which manages all network resources and audio/video services.

The new infrastructure, linked to revamped headend platforms, provides a flexible, scalable, dynamic, low-latency and, above all, reliable network, thanks to a series of protection mechanisms.

Full support for the new video/IP standards allows us to easily and remotely change the network configuration and services to best meet all new requirements while minimising any impact on services.

According to Michele Frosi, Rai Way's Chief Technology Officer, the implementation of the IP matrix represents a milestone in our journey towards a complete IP network infrastructure and a quantum leap in the way such infrastructures are managed, optimising the use of resources and facilitating operators. Having completed such an important project during the pandemic crisis period and within the time constraints of the ongoing refarming process is a further point of pride: following the introduction of this state-of-the-art infrastructure, new services can be implemented in line with the technological development of the entire broadcast sector.

The IP matrix represents a milestone in our journey towards an IP network infrastructure

Headend platforms

The new headend platforms – 15 to be precise – are a project of great importance to the Italian broadcasting sector and consist of a solution whose core is a high-quality, high-density video processing encoder, designed for distribution via DTH, DTT, IPTV and OTT of live SD, HD and UHD content that is purely software-based.

These new headend platforms support all future encodings, e.g. HEVC, SHVC and IP technology and, in particular, the new uncompressed video standards such as SMPTE 2022-6 and 2110, which will allow us to easily implement new services with minimal intervention.

A state-of-the-art audio/video transport infrastructure to implement new services in line with broadcast technology developments .

A new datacentre

The Rome Monte Mario data centre was created to host the new encoding and multiplexing platforms for all DTT, SAT and DAB services we provide to RAI and third-party customers. In connection with the latter, we were awarded the transmission capacity tendered by the Ministry for Economic Development for no fewer than seven geographical areas for the implementation and operation of eight DTT networks.

The new data centre is an important hub. In fact, the Rai Way IP matrix connects RAI's main urban sites in Rome, namely Via Teulada, Saxa Rubra and Via Asiago, with the new Monte Mario data centre, bringing uncompressed video signals from RAI deliveries to the entry points of the headend platforms and compressed video signals from the platforms to Rai Way's terrestrial and satellite distribution networks.

Transition of Rai signals to MPEG4

Rome, 20 october 2021