What is the PIPE Concept?

The PIPE Concept, designed by Ferncast and used in their aixtream software and pro audio codecs, is a completely new way to handle the configuration and monitoring of audio transmissions and recordings. The goal of the PIPE concept is to revolutionize the way users set up and edit audio connections, whether for classic RTP streams, DVB transcoding, playout of OTT streams or any other audio transmission application.

What are the advantages of the PIPE Concept?

  • A PIPE is a graphical depiction of the the entire connection configuration from start to finish, from source to sink. This includes special audio processing options like error correction, resampling and remixing, which can be edited directly with the rest of the connection.
  • PIPEs replace opaque submenus and settings scattered all over the user interface with a simple abstraction of the connection and encoding process, which the user can understand at a single glance.
  • The entire connection can be configured on a single object, which makes even complex configurations quick and easy to set up. Thus, workflow is simplified.

How does connection setup work?

In the PIPE Concept, the connection setup, is displayed as a so-called PIPE. For this it uses PIPE Elements, which represent the individual steps of the connection.

Creating a PIPE is as simple as using drag-and-drop controls to combine the necessary elements into a working PIPE. The user starts by selecting a source element, then adds an encoder element and finally picks a sink element.

Further audio processing elements can be added in the middle as appropriate. Once the elements are in place, detailed configurations of the elements can be done after a simple click on the relevant element. This way a user can, for example, set the input channels of an audio source element, set the bitrate of an Opus encoder element and finally the IP address of the target host in an RTP sink element. All this happens in a single screen, the user never needs to navigate to any submenus to find where to perform specific configurations.

Users of aixtream soon realize how much faster and more intuitive the PIPE concept makes the connection configuration, especially for more complex scenarios.

While a PIPE is fast and easy to configure, the sheer amount of choice in how to configure a PIPE means that any audio transmission scenario can be reproduced with it. Many contemporary user interfaces make it impossible for a user to create very specific scenarios, but Ferncast’s aixtream has no such limitations thanks to the PIPE Concept. No matter what source element you want to use with whatever sink element, in aixtream it can be configured, and it will work.

Can it get even simpler?

  • The aixtream GUI also supports even simpler connection setup for more specific use cases. This includes the SIP CallsWidget, for quick and easy establishment and monitoring of SIP calls. While basic SIP calls can be quickly performed via this widget, it is fully integrated with the PIPE concept to enable more specific SIP applications, like simultaneously recording the incoming audio or transcoding it for another use.

Written by Tobias Dornbusch

Tobias studied International Professional Communication at the Flensburg University of Applied Sciences and devotes his skills in Technical Translation and Editing to various tasks here at Ferncast. As our foremost wordsmith he takes care of most kinds of communication, including documentation and support. He ensures that our communication including blogs is both professional and modern.

December 04, 2020

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