The Network is arguably the most important component in an IPTV network. All devices are connected to the Network and all data and channels flow through it.
A well-planned, organised and correctly configured network will ensure an optimal experience for guests and minimal intervention and maintenance.
The quality and specification of the hardware used in the network is key. Even the best network engineers cannot overcome hardware that is not up to the task.
We recommend enterprise-grade hardware throughout the IPTV/Apple TV network. This includes manufacturers such as Cisco, Ruckus and HP/Aruba.
Due to the huge possible variations in requirements, we are not able to provide a one size fits all shopping list for network hardware. We will, however, be happy to discuss hardware if required.
Copper ports should be Gigabit throughout.
IPTV network isolation
The IPTV network must run on a dedicated VLAN. This VLAN cannot be the default VLAN (Typically VLAN 1) If there is a need to run additional services on the IPTV VLAN, please raise this with you account manager, so we can investigate and make sure there is no impact to the TV solution.
Internet Group Management Protocol configuration is key to having a successful IPTV environment, it is responsible for management of multicast streams across the entire network and ensures the TV streams are economically managed and do not overwhelm switch hardware.
Version 2 or 3 can be used, however the version in use must be consistent across all switches.
IGMP requires one switch to be the configured to query and all other switches to be configured to use IGMP snooping.
The Querier should be the Switch the IPTV source is directly connected to, there should be no intermediary switch.
For switches that are part of the infrastructure but do not have any IPTV clients connected there are two configuration options:
- Do not add the IPTV VLAN to the Switch
- Add the VLAN to the switch AND enable IGMP snooping regardless of if it is believed IPTV clients will be connected to the switch or not.
Once switches are configured and the source is connected the streams should be tested using a Windows or Mac and VLC. The IGMP processes should be monitored on the switches to ensure they are managing the IGMP groups correctly.
Fast leave should be configured ONLY on the ports the Apple TVs are connected. If fast leave is enables elsewhere such as on unlink ports it will cause unusual behaviour.
All switch ports with Apple TVs connected should have port fast enabled.
Not enabling port fast may result in Apple TVs not configuring automatically after a checkout.
DHCP should be configured on the IPTV VLAN. As devices are wiped after checkout and will lose all settings, we are not able to use manually assigned IP addresses.
It is, however, OK to statically assign DHCP addresses via MAC address, but please note we are not able to provide a complete list of MAC addresses until all Apple TVs have been enrolled to MDM.
The Caching server provided by ROOMNET will be the primary DHCP server for the IPTV network. This allows us to host content such as Artwork and icons locally, improving the guest experience.
We recommend at least one additional DNS server is specified to allow failover to our cloud storage and ensure continued functionality in the unlikely event our server stops responding.
Apple devices generate a lot of background traffic via mDNS, when there are significant numbers of Apple TVs on a single VLAN this can have detrimental effects on both the network and the Apple TV. This presents as slow loading of content and generally sluggish behaviour. For example, when opening the App store, it is either very slow to load the main page and content or in extreme cases, it may be unable to connect and present an error message.
To Avoid these issues ACLs are required to block both IPv4 and IPv6 mDNS traffic.
Commands will vary between manufacturer and firmware.
Examples have been provided below of an ACL and can be used to tailor a manufacturer specific solution.
Deny across the whole subnet host 18.104.22.168 port 5353 Permit all other UDP traffic.
Deny UDP ff02::fb/128 any port 5353 Permit all other UDP to everywhere.
We do not recommend the use of more general port isolation commands as there is often a detrimental effect to MDM connection and other functions.
Public IP Addresse(s)
The dynamic topshelf configuration is defined via the public IP address of each Apple TV used to speak to our cloud infrastructure. We are able to support up to two separate public IP blocks per location.
ROOMNET Caching Server
The ROOMNET Caching Server is a Mac Mini That’s utilising Apple’s Caching server and some custom ROOMNET magic. This server hosts, Apps and Firmware for the Apple TVs. It also holds local replicas of assets such as branding, channel icons and topshelf content.
It also provides a hand way to troubleshoot multicast streams and investigate network issues.
For this to work correctly we require the server to sit on the IPTV network and have a static IP address.
This static IP will also be the primary DNS server as detailed in the DNS section.
Apple TVs are typically efficient in bandwidth usage, most applications will not require a contact stream of data from an external source. Video content (with the exception of live TV) is usually downloaded in chunks.
We do typically recommend 2-5Mbps is available per device to ensure a consistently good experience for all guests.
If WAN bandwidth restrictions are required It is recommended each device is allowed 2-5 Mbps for HD or up to 10Mbps for UHD.
As we provide software updates and app content from a server within the LAN, we do not recommend any internal restrictions are used.