Duke is considering deploying Crestron’s NVX network-based AV solution in a unique active learning/gaming environment, so we sent a few members of Duke’s AV community to attend Crestron’s NVX Design and Application (DM-NVX) and DigitalMedia Networking Certification (DM-NVX-N) classes. This was a unique class as it was highly compressed to accommodate our group’s schedule and needs.
Crestron’s NVX platform is an AV over IP solution that replaces the need for more traditional 8×8, 16×16, 32×32, 64×64 and 128×128 DM switchers. NVX is more flexible, scalable, and brings AV into parity with modern IT practices. In essence, it’s the future of hardware-based AV.
The class started as many Crestron classes do with general introductions, some background on the devices, where to start when researching help (psss, it’s Crestron’s website)… and from that point on, we were thrown head first into the deep end of networking. Yes, very little of the class had to do with traditional audio or video. We covered the OSI model, IP addressing, subnet masks, port numbers, IP transport protocols, hubs, switches, routers, and DNS. For those that have a networking background, this was a nice refresher course. But, for more traditional AV folks, networking can sound like a foreign language. I won’t bore you with the details, but the first slide deck was over 180 slides, and the information was dense. After being bombarded with all of the information for roughly six hours, we took our first test. Most everyone passed on the first try… even if it was by a single question.
After the test and a bit of time to recover, we started a hands-on exploration of the hardware. We started off by connecting one NVX directly to another NVX, setting one as a transmitter and the other as a receiver. After a few minutes, we had a very basic AV system! The next phase was to connect the two NVX units to a local switch. That took a bit of switch configuring/setup, but again, it was easy. As we started the second day, we connected our local switches to a core switch, so we could share any of our NVX transmitters to any of the receivers. While more complicated, it wasn’t that difficult to configure. During the final hours of the last day, we chatted about programming for the NVX and how and why you may want to consider a DigitalMedia XiO Director, a Virtual Switching Appliance Crestron offers to simplify programming for more complex NVX setups. We had another test, and the class was over.
A few takeaways:
- NVX, or AV over IP, is here to stay and AV groups should get comfortable with the future
- While AV folks don’t need to throw away their old skills, networking is a core part of the future of AV
- Start befriending your networking folks… today
- IP over AV has a range of network security concerns, so you should also befriend your networking security folks
- The future is exciting and complicated. Lean into the new way of doing things (or at least understand them)