Can I use EEE (Energy Efficient Ethernet or 'Green Ethernet') in my Dante network?

Short answer: no.

EEE (Energy Efficient Ethernet) is a technology that reduces switch power consumption during periods of low network traffic. It is also sometimes known as Green Ethernet and IEEE802.3az.

Although power management should be negotiated automatically in switches that support EEE, it is a relatively new technology, and some switches do not perform the negotiation properly. This may cause EEE to be enabled in Dante networks when it is not appropriate, resulting in poor synchronisation performance and occasional dropouts.

What features are important when purchasing a switch?

Dante makes use of standard Voice over IP (VoIP) Quality of Service (QoS) switch features, to prioritize clock sync and audio traffic over other network traffic. VoIP QoS features are available in a variety of inexpensive and enterprise Ethernet switches. Any switches with the following features should be appropriate for use with Dante:

How does Dante use DSCP / Diffserv priority values when configuring QoS?

Switches prioritize packets using what are called DSCP/Diffserv values. Although Dante packet priority values have been chosen to make it simple to configure QoS with many switches (as shown in the video above), some switches require special configuration to recognize and prioritize specific DSCP values.

The table below shows how Dante uses various Diffserv Code Points (DSCP) packet priority values:

What is Quality of Service (QoS)?

Quality of Service (QoS) is a feature of managed switches, which ensures that certain types of network packets (e.g. clock sync and audio packets) get preferential treatment and are "moved to the front of the line" ahead of other traffic. This is achieved by attaching a priority number to each packet, which is then used by the switches to ensure that high priority packets get processed before lower priority packets.

What is the difference between a 100Mbps, 1000Mbps and 10000Mbps switch, and how does this affect Dante?

These numbers indicate the maximum rate that a port on a switch can transfer data. 100Mbps is often referred to as “Fast Ethernet”, 1000Mbps as “Gigabit Ethernet” and 10000Mbps as “10Ge” or 10 Gigabit Ethernet.

What is the minimum requirement for switches in a Dante network?

While Gigabit switches are recommended, 100Mbps switches may be used in limited scenarios.

  • For low channel count (<32) applications, a 100Mbps switch may be used as long as it supports proper QoS, and QoS is active. The use of 100Mbps switches without QoS is not recommended or supported.
  • For higher channel counts, Gigabit switches are essential. QoS is recommended for Gigabit switches on networks that share data with services other than Dante.