MediaLink is a complete real-time multimedia networking system providing connectivity for virtually all types of audio equipment. The system is rapidly becoming an industry standard as dozens of audio manufacturers design MediaLink-compatible equipment. Today, MediaLink hardware carries MIDI, PA-422, RS-232, and an object-based control and monitoring protocol over fiber-optic and twisted-pair cables. In the near future, a custom VLSI integrated circuit will allow the system to carry high-speed data, such as digital audio and video, over the same cable. This circuit will provide unprecedented integration and management of multimedia data. The MediaLink protocol encapsulates virtually any type of digital data into a packet, and then inserts it into the network. A unique characteristic of MediaLink is that it assures delivery of each packet to its specified destination at a guaranteed time of arrival. This capability ideally suits it for the real-time constraints of professional audio systems. This paper describes the MediaLink system paradigm, network protocols, custom VLSI chip, and several example applications.
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