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Network switch for a small Dante network, yes or no?


Ben B
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Hi!

 

I am on the verge to switch to Dante on my cart. I will connect 3 DSQD to my Scorpio. I understand i could just daisy chain the 3 DSQD into the Scorpio but it somehow feels less safe than having a network switch (is it?). I am new to Dante and although i passed the Dante certification level 1, i still have a couple question that need answering to reassure me before buying everything.

If i choose to go the switch way, i’ll need one that can be powered through my battery distribution system (Audioroot k-art) as my cart runs off batteries.

 

Is there anyone using sort of the simular setup and care to share their experience? Switch? No switch?

 

Thanks for your input!

 

Ben

 

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I am certain that I would have explored Dante if I were a working PSM today.  It is a really good AoIP for a lot of reasons.

 

All I can say, as the owner of a large Dante Fly-pack music recording rig (32 channels at 24/96) is that the switch is a very important part of the system as it grows.  You may well be able to make a "daisy-chained" cart work in your network's most simple iteration but as it grows, which it certain will, the switch(s) become the centerpiece of the network.

 

That being said, it takes a much deeper dive into Dante to make a switched network even work and an even deeper dive to get it to do exactly what you want it to do.

 

So I guess it boils down to if and when a PSM would want to make that move.

 

FWIW, there are really small (four or five port) gigabit switches (unmanaged) by companies like Netgear that a person can find at almost any thrift store if you want to try out something  to get you started.  Make certain that they don't have "power saving" built in as, on an unmanaged switch, you won't be able to turn it off.  You DO NOT want that in your network.

 

If you end up with a managed switch like a Cisco SG300, look to Yamaha for set up instructions.  Detailed and understandable.  The trick with the Yammy instructions is knowing when to quit fussing.

 

https://usa.yamaha.com/products/contents/proaudio/docs/dante_network_design_guide/301_setting_sg300.html

 

Also, look to Audinate for help and I hardily advise certifying at the first two levels through their education offerings.  The third is so "network-nerd" level that I have, sigh, been unable to pass even as I have built a large and functioning network and know the ins and out well.  I have also decided that the third level certification is totally unneeded for what I do (probably just to save face).

 

https://www.audinate.com/learning/training-certification

 

Good luck.

 

D.

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The Scorpio has two ports that, if I understand it correctly, acts as a switch. So you could plug your computer in one port and the go out to the other to the first DSQD, then daisy chain the other two DSQD. And Dante doesn’t need the computer once you have done the initial setup - the devices remember each other.

But - the beauty of having a switch is you can use Wireless Designer to scan and deploy frequencies for all your DSQDs in one go.

I have a Netgear GS105. It’s a 5-port switch and runs off the 12v distro - bonus point => same plug as Lectro, so your existing cables fit.

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Thanks Tourtelot for the detailed answer. I did pass the Audinate certification level 1 and will then start for the level 2. What you said about outgrowing the daisy chain network is very true... I remember when i started and built my first cart, when it was done i thought to myself i would never need more than my 6 track recorder and couple lavs... :)

 

Thanks Johnny Karlsson for the tip on the Netgear GS105. It does say in the user guide of the switch that it has IEEE enabled (which i learned in the Dante certification level 1 and what tourtelot said, you do not want). Did you encounter any problem?

 

It seems like having a switch is the way to go. I'll keep searching for a 1 Gbit, no power saving, 5 ports, DC powered switch. If anybody has a tip on such a switch, let me know! :)

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10 minutes ago, Ben B said:

Thanks Johnny Karlsson for the tip on the Netgear GS105. It does say in the user guide of the switch that it has IEEE enabled (which i learned in the Dante certification level 1 and what tourtelot said, you do not want). Did you encounter any problem?

Strangely, when I bought this, I did extensive research and made sure it didn’t have that power saving feature, but the current description indeed does say it does. Maybe mine is an older version(?)

I have had zero problems.

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I use 2 ubiquiti edgerouter x (primary/secondary) and love them.  They are affordable, small, power efficient, and work great with Dante.  They have higher throughout than their Netgear etc cousins, and are really flexible.

One thing to consider with a switched network is ip assignments.  Static ip's work if you don't change your setup, but if you're like me and constantly changing which devices your using on each job, them a dhcp server is a most.  The ubiquiti can be programmed as a switch (not router) that also had a dhcp server.  That's a nice bonus for a self contained system like your cart system would be, and can be easily turned off to plug into another network.

I also use an edgerouter 10x when I need more ports.

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Hey Kelsey.  Why do you say that the Ubiquity router has "more throughout" (throughput?) than the Netgear GS series?  Gigabit is gigabit isn't it?  I use the small Netgears but not ofter.  I do have a five-port in the back of my preamp rack that routes the remotes, a four-port ,rack mounted, for small jobs and a couple of 8-port (4x4POE) that I use as POE power supplies or "cable extenders".  They all work fine.

 

I have three large Cisco SG300 switches that I use on large jobs that serve DHCP and run at least two VLANs.  One switch on the stage and one in the control room.  These are set so that some of the ports provide POE.  These allow for a "s**t-load of devices to be on the network.  But as I said earlier, I am out of the PSM work and using this stuff for Fly-pack music recording work so my situation is very different.

 

D.

 

Oh, and BTW, I probably have a dozen Netgear (small-guy) switches, almost all of which I found in thrift stores for $5-10 with the proper power supplies.  So there's that.

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15 hours ago, Ben B said:

Thanks! The edgerouter x looks like what i am looking for. Hopefully the DC plug in the back is the same size as a Lectro one (it seems hard to find any info on the size of that plug).

I have powered my edgerouter x from my bds before, so you should be fine.

 

7 hours ago, tourtelot said:

Hey Kelsey.  Why do you say that the Ubiquity router has "more throughout" (throughput?) than the Netgear GS series?  Gigabit is gigabit isn't it?  I use the small Netgears but not ofter.  I do have a five-port in the back of my preamp rack that routes the remotes, a four-port ,rack mounted, for small jobs and a couple of 8-port (4x4POE) that I use as POE power supplies or "cable extenders".  They all work fine.

 

I have three large Cisco SG300 switches that I use on large jobs that serve DHCP and run at least two VLANs.  One switch on the stage and one in the control room.  These are set so that some of the ports provide POE.  These allow for a "s**t-load of devices to be on the network.  But as I said earlier, I am out of the PSM work and using this stuff for Fly-pack music recording work so my situation is very different.

 

D.

 

Oh, and BTW, I probably have a dozen Netgear (small-guy) switches, almost all of which I found in thrift stores for $5-10 with the proper power supplies.  So there's that.

Hey Doug.  The throughput I'm referring to (if i had checked my spelling) is the switch capacity, not the line rate.  While each port runs at 1Gbps, the switch internally can only handle so many packets per second, and not all switches stack up.  In a common unicast setup this will probably never become an issue.  In larger multicast workflows a lot more data has to be handled by the switch without bottlenecks, even though each line can only handle 1Gbps.

 

I don't mean to say the Netgear won't work or perform well.  I own a netgear GS105e also, and have used it without issues in the past.  I also own 3 varieties of the ubiquit, and a cisco SGxxx (can't remember which model).  I can't find a pps rate for the netgear that I own right now, and the edgerouter x is lower than the edgerouter lite, so it's  possible my memory is off.  When I bought these several years ago I remember having to research the throughput because I ran into issues in my studio network, and increasing the internal switching capacity fixed my speed / bandwidth issues, even though all the networks were 1Gbps throughout.  I settled on the ubiquiti as a good balance between switch capacity and low cost.  I also find them a lot more configurable than the netgears.  For example on one of my edgerouters I run a wireguard server for remote access. 

 

+1 to running VLANs.

 

 

 

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Even if the network is dedicated to Dante (it can get tricky if you have other high demand or bursty applications running) I would never consider an unmanaged switch. 

The price of a reasonable managed switch from a reputable vendor is peanuts compared to the equipment usually discussed in this forum. And you can't imagine the amount of pain that crappy networking gear is capable of inflicting. 

 

And indeed multicast Dante can be taxing for poor switches. And it can become a nightmare in case you plug a wireless access point to your network. 

 

If only thanks to the capability to show interface statistics (errors, etc) managed switches are, in my opinion, mandatory. 

 

(Note that I am writing this with my ISP guy hat on)

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/11/2021 at 6:03 PM, Johnny Karlsson said:

The Scorpio has two ports that, if I understand it correctly, acts as a switch. So you could plug your computer in one port and the go out to the other to the first DSQD, then daisy chain the other two DSQD. And Dante doesn’t need the computer once you have done the initial setup - the devices remember each other.

But - the beauty of having a switch is you can use Wireless Designer to scan and deploy frequencies for all your DSQDs in one go.

I have a Netgear GS105. It’s a 5-port switch and runs off the 12v distro - bonus point => same plug as Lectro, so your existing cables fit.

Quick update. I ended up getting a Netgear GS105E. After some research i found out you can turn of the IEEE in the setup menu of the switch. (it should actually be turned off by default). 

 

I do have a problem with powering it via my power distro. The old Lectro power cable i have laying around do not power the switch. I am trying to order a replacement power cord and solder a Hirose onto it to see if it's the lectro plug that isn't working or not.

I ordered a Audioroot K-Art with one output regulated at 12V so i might just use that output to power the switch. @Johnny Karlsson what is your setup exactly that you can power the switch through your power distro?

 

I did also have a couple issue where my Dante Virtual Sound card clock sync unlocked and my DVS got muted. After a few minute it locked in again and it worked. I did some research and it's apparently and mac/DVS/thunderbolt Ethernet dongle issue. Has anyone encounter that issue as well?

 

I'm brand new to Dante and i'm still figuring it out. Although i did pass the Dante certification level 1 and 2, when it comes to setup the my own network some things still makes me scratch my head...

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12 hours ago, Ben B said:

. @Johnny Karlsson what is your setup exactly that you can power the switch through your power distro?

I have powered it previously from a Remote Audio BDS, with the regular BDS cable w/Lectro plug. Currently from a RA MEON LiFE, with a cable I made (4-pin XLR to Lectro plug). No regulator.

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  • 4 weeks later...
14 hours ago, codyman said:

Ubiquiti makes a little switch that can be powered via USB-C or PoE.  $29!

https://store.ui.com/collections/unifi-network-switching/products/usw-flex-mini

 

However, I would be careful with Ubiquiti for this application.

 

Don't get me wrong, I use Ubiquiti wireless gear at home and I am happy. I also track beta/prerelease firmware versions.

 

BUT (and it's a big BUT) they tend to disregard features that they don't perceive as important, and it usually means those features will be unstable. It took some time for them to fix a simple bad multicast implementation (they equalled IGMP to all multicast, which is wrong, breaking an IPv6 address assignment).

 

What worries me in this case is energy efficient Ethernet (EEE), which is a know no-no for Dante. I am not sure you can disable it. 

 

Second problem with Ubiquiti, they used to have two different Ethernet switching families: UniFi and EdgeSwitch with the former designed for "enterprise" networks and relying heavily on a controller you need to install somewhere, although you can use a mobile app to manage them, and the latter being more "classical" with no proprietary centralized management and configurable via a command line (similar to Juniper Networks equipment) or a web interface. Sadly the EdgeSwitch line seems to be discontinued. I am not sure whether they have sacrificed it temporarily due to component shortages or it is a permanent decision.

 

I have a 48 port UniFi switch I haven't used for some time, I will plug it this evening and report back what I see. That said, I wouldn't trust them much for this particular application. 

 

And, trust me, I don't have anything against Ubiquiti. The 48 port switch was a gift from them in order to test beta versions, so I have reasons to be even grateful. Talking to them in case of bugs is also easy thanks to the forum and the bang for the buck is incredible. BUT they tend to be a bit chaotic with software development and (I know I am repeating myself) little used features are sometimes overlooked.

 

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4 hours ago, borjam said:

However, I would be careful with Ubiquiti for this application.

Well, you certainly sound 1000x more qualified about networking than my limited experiences.  I ordered one not for Dante but for a home use application (I have a detached two car garage that I've drywalled and finished into a sound studio / keep all my gear etc. and a cat6 cable has been run through an electrical conduit underground from the house where the cable modem and router are so I'm creating a sub network for my iMac / NAS / Wifi extender etc in the garage).  I've heard a lot about Ubiquiti and I figured for $29, might as well dip my toes in and see if it works out for me.

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1 hour ago, codyman said:

Well, you certainly sound 1000x more qualified about networking than my limited experiences.  I ordered one not for Dante but for a home use application (I have a detached two car garage that I've drywalled and finished into a sound studio / keep all my gear etc. and a cat6 cable has been run through an electrical conduit underground from the house where the cable modem and router are so I'm creating a sub network for my iMac / NAS / Wifi extender etc in the garage).  I've heard a lot about Ubiquiti and I figured for $29, might as well dip my toes in and see if it works out for me.

 

Oh no problem then!

 

As I said, I have spent like €500 on Ubiquiti wireless hardware and I am very happy. I recommend it to friends and I basicly forget that they exist except when I feel like tinkering. So, it's a good thing.

 

I cautioned about Dante because the topic is "Small switch for a small Dante network". 

 

But I would only be careful about Dante specifically. Anyway give me an hour and I will check whether it is possible to disable Energy Efficient Ethernet using the mobile app, at least for a USW-48 (48 port). 

 

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1 hour ago, borjam said:

But I would only be careful about Dante specifically. Anyway give me an hour and I will check whether it is possible to disable Energy Efficient Ethernet using the mobile app, at least for a USW-48 (48 port).

Switch arrived.  Lectro SMV for scale.  If this works well for Dante, quite the buy given this could easily even fit into a sound bag if need be.  An SMV even weighs more (without a battery even).

switch.jpg

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On 11/14/2021 at 4:57 AM, tourtelot said:

Oh, okay.  I can only speak to never having had a problem plugging four Dante devices and a laptop into a Netgear 5-port box.  Thanks for the explanation.  But also, I rarely use these for anything other than Cat cable extenders.

 

D.

Hi Doug
Have you found using a small switch reliable as a Cat5/6 cable extender?…How much cable are you running?

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As you probably know, 100m (330') is the maximum recommended cable length between Dante devices.  If you plug one of those little switches mid-line, you can double the allowable distance to 200m.

 

Have I ever needed to be 200m away in any of my setups?  Nope. But it's a good thing to know just in case.

 

If I needed to be really, REALLY far away, I'd use fiber which allows, with the correct adapters, a more than 10km distance.  Even run-of-the-mill fiber with adapters into my Cisco switches will allow a few thousand feet and I can not imagine needing any longer runs, ever.  At least for the work I do.

 

D.

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Finally I had a chance to check it.

 

I have updated an UniFi switch to version 6.0.3.13535. 

 

According to somewhat sparse information on Ubiquiti's forum and checking out the configuration from the command line it doesn't support EEE. So that's a good thing.

 

The potentially troublesome feature would be IGMP snooping as well. You really want it because it prevents multicast traffic from flooding all the switch ports, but Ubiquiti has been known to be sloppy with its implementation.

 

By default it is disabled:

 

(UBNT) #show igmpsnooping 

Admin Mode..................................... Disable
Multicast Control Frame Count.................. 0
IGMP header validation......................... Disabled
Interfaces Enabled for IGMP Snooping........... None
VLANs enabled for IGMP snooping................ None

 

Anyway these switches can be a bit messy to set up without a controller. 

 

First you need to ssh to it using the "ubnt" user name and password, after finding out which IP address it got from your DHCP server.

 

After doing that you need to do a "telnet 127.0.0.1" from the switch command line in order to enter the Cisco style configuration mode. 

 

US-48-G1-US.6.0.3# telnet 127.0.0.1

Entering character mode
Escape character is '^]'.

Warning!
The changes may break controller settings and only be effective until reboot.

(UBNT) >enable 

(UBNT) #show startup-config 

network protocol none
vlan database
exit
configure
line console
exit
line telnet
exit

 

Maybe the best you can do is to use it in default mode and be happy if it works. I will try and setup a Dante network later using the IGMP configuration and I will post it anyway in case anyone is interested.

 

 

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I can't imagine multicast flooding on a 5-port switch, but I could be wrong.  Early in my Dante journey, I ask Brett THE TECH GUY at Audinate about whether I should use this setting and that setting and IGMP and QOS and all that stuff.  He chuckled and said, "Just plug in your devices and go to work." (or words to that effect).  I have found that to be (mostly) true even on my large closed Dante network.

 

I have some thoughts on what I might need to do if I am ever asked to join a second large network; think a live recording in a PAC that has a Dante reinforcement rig that is also on the house network, ticket sales, accounting, office telephones, etc.  But the truth is, I will probably never find myself in such a situation.

 

D.

 

EDIT:  Just saw that you were talking about a 48-port switch. I do have IGMP set up on my switches but I am running more than 20 devices, some with huge multicast outputs on multiple VLANs.  

 

 

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3 hours ago, tourtelot said:

I can't imagine multicast flooding on a 5-port switch, but I could be wrong.  Early in my Dante journey, I ask Brett THE TECH GUY at Audinate about whether I should use this setting and that setting and IGMP and QOS and all that stuff.  He chuckled and said, "Just plug in your devices and go to work." (or words to that effect).  I have found that to be (mostly) true even on my large closed Dante network.

 

Yes, I agree. If your network is dedicated to Dante you don't need to mess with priorities. Multicast flooding might be a problem if you have a lot of traffic and some 100 MBps devices that can't cope with all the multicast.

 

3 hours ago, tourtelot said:

 

EDIT:  Just saw that you were talking about a 48-port switch. I do have IGMP set up on my switches but I am running more than 20 devices, some with huge multicast outputs on multiple VLANs.  

 

Yes, I checked that one because it's the only UniFi switch I have around. Mostly I wanted to check whether it had the infamous EEE (Energy Efficient Ethernet) which it does not. 

 

 

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