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Ready for 8K Part 4 - 100G Ethernet is Ready for 8K Payloads

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Editor’s Note: This content is contributed by Gordon Lau, Systems Architect - Pro AV, Broadcast, and Consumer.


Technology continues to enable us to capture and share content with increasing fidelity as each generation of mobile phone, television, or camera is released. With the latest equipment, 8K ultra-high definition (8K UHD) is becoming more common amongst professionals and consumers alike. In our previous blog we discussed why and where 8K resolutions are being adopted today, as the leading edge of a larger wave of immersive media technology.

With 8K UHD increasing the number of captured pixels to 7680x3840, a 24bit 8Kp60 uncompressed video stream can be over 40 Gbps (Figure 1). This is a 4X increase over 4K UHD, and requires significantly more bandwidth to capture, transport, and store this high-quality video. Consumer-grade devices typically introduce a codec to shrink bitrates and file sizes to a manageable size, but this isn’t always desirable in professional environments where high-fidelity video sources are required for further processing or used as the basis for 4K cropped video.

Figure 1: Video Bandwidth for Different ResolutionsFigure 1: Video Bandwidth for Different Resolutions

These sorts of data rates can easily overwhelm standard interfaces we have relied upon for years, such as Serial Digital Interface (SDI), which is limited to a bandwidth of 12 Gbps. To move this amount of data around a facility with fidelity, we look to Ethernet which had evolved originally in the data communications industry, to serve adjacent applications such as professional audio/video.


The Ethernet Alliance roadmap (See figure 2) shows the progression of Ethernet speeds supported in the industry since 1980, with continued evolution of the standard to speeds of more than 400 Gbps planned for the next decade. The 100G Ethernet standard provides enough bandwidth for 8K UHD media transport with sufficient excess capacity for audio, timing synchronization, and other metadata often required for professional media.

Figure 2: Ethernet Alliance RoadmapFigure 2: Ethernet Alliance Roadmap

History has shown that the wide adoption of Ethernet in our homes, offices, and data centers has also resulted in large economies of scale which has made all link speed nodes more affordable as more applications and industries converge to leverage Ethernet. From connectors to cabling, Ethernet allows for robust video media transport with a wide variety of features including media options for longer transmission distances, fault-tolerant topologies, and protocols to support 1-to-1 or 1-to-many distribution.

Because of Ethernet’s flexibility and scalability many AV-over-IP protocols and standards have emerged to build on top of Ethernet to add features like error correction, security, and control mechanisms. Examples of such protocols include the SMPTE ST 2110 suite of standards, AIMS IPMX, Haivision’s SRT, Audinate® Dante® or NDI® to name just a few.


The AMD portfolio of silicon products with programmable IP media access controllers (MAC) can enable your products with 100G Ethernet for all your media connectivity needs.  The programmable IP portfolio scales to enable NBaseT for compressed media,  10/25G Ethernet  for 4K and below applications, 100G Ethernet  for 8K UHD, and up to the latest 200G/400G Ethernet  for multi-channel implementations.   Select AMD UltraScale+™ and Versal™ devices also have one or more 100G MACs hardened on device silicon, simplifying implementation, and reducing time-to-market for your media-enabled products.  Contact your AMD sales representative for more details on how you can get started today!