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Dante is a very useful protocol, but to ensure its reliability make sure to always deploy with proper TCP/IP networking architectures to minimize errors within the network.

Dante is built, entirely, around gigabit technology, so make sure that all networking gear is at a minimum gigabit. We have a rule when it comes to Dante distribution. If you are planning on running under x32 channels of i/o on a discrete Dante/audio network you ‘can’ get by with an un-managed gigabit switch. However, if you are planning on more than x32 channels of i/o or running other data traffic on your network you ‘should’ upgrade to a managed gigabit switch. Dante is essentially VoIP on steroids, so you will need switches that have QoS (specifically, Diffserv ‘DCSP’ with strict priority). The ‘smarter’ your network the more reliable your audio transport becomes. Also, the smarter your network becomes then the faster you can run it. It is not suggested trying to run Dante at a low latency in an un-managed network (lessons learned from CobraNet).

Make sure you try and maintain a ‘star’ network topology. It may seem logical to make the console your Dante ‘Grandmaster’, but this is not necessarily the best clock for the network. Make sure to always pick a grandmaster that is somewhat centralized within the network. A console is usually located on a branch of the network… and may even be located behind two or three switches (note: each switch adds latency to the packets). The grandmaster sends out a pulse that must penetrate the entire network… the more complex your network structure the harder it is for the ‘pulse packets’ from the grandmaster to reach every Dante client within relative time. Ethernet clocking schemes are not the same as clocking like Wordclock. I see this a lot within lab racks of PLMs. Just because each Lab PLM has an internal switch does mean that one should connect their PLM amps in series. For best performance one should always have a network switch in the rack and connect each amp to a port on the switch. Then there is an uplink from each rack to a main network switch.

Using fiber is always best!

Have fun!