Webinar: How Dante AV-over-IP helps IT management deliver high-quality conferencing solutions | Audinate

Webinar: How Dante AV-over-IP helps IT management deliver high-quality conferencing solutions

On Tuesday, April 7th, panelists from Audinate and Shure presented a webinar covering topics in AVoIP and IT management, hosted by AV Technology.

USB and analog-based conferencing solutions create unmanageable problems for IT departments and compromise both audio quality and device placement. Moving to a manageable AV-over-IP system addresses many of these issues and brings conferencing under IT control with unique high quality microphones and DSPs for superior user satisfaction. This webinar looks at how a Dante-based conferencing solution using Dante Domain Manager looks and is installed to achieve these results.

Questions and Answers

Dante & Dante Domain Manager Questions

Q: How much latency is acceptable in the network? 

Dante uses user-selectable fixed values for latency between devices. On a healthy 1 Gbps network, it should be easy to maintain a Dante latency of 1 ms or less over 10 switch hops.

Q: Can I use Dante audio-over-IP today? I have a Bosch Dicentis Simultaneous Interpretation System.

Yes. The Bosch Dicentis system is based upon Dante.

Q: Can we have more info about Dante over IP?

For more information about how to setup and use Dante, we recommend you review Audinate’s video tutorials at: https://www.audinate.com/learning/training-certification/video-tutorials

Q: Why all devices are on a single cable and not daisy chained?

Dante devices are connected using networking best practices, which generally means a “star” topology. This reduces the odds of any one device failure impacting others. Daisy chains are possible with some devices, but each link in that chain adds a network “switch hop” that impacts the latency budget.

Q: Does Dante work with Linux workstations?

Linux is used extensively in Dante hardware devices, but Dante desktop software does not support Linux at this time (e.g., Dante Virtual Soundcard and Dante Controller). Dante Domain Manager runs natively on Linux, as it is a server-based product.

Q: When will Dante AV products become available?

Audinate announced Dante AV in 2019, and manufacturers have begun developing products that incorporate Dante video-over-IP. Contact the manufacturers you are interested in and inquire about their specific Dante AV plans.

Q: Is there a limit to how many switches may be used on a Dante network?

There is no problem connecting multiple switches to a Dante network if the network topology is reasonably considered in order to prevent avoidable bottlenecks. As a rule of thumb, Dante conservatively supports up to 10 switch hops between devices at 1 ms latency. If you need more switch hops, you may increase latency using Dante Controller. In most real-world setups, the number of actual switch hops is surprisingly low – often only 2 or 3.

Q: Can we route Dante over a WAN or MAN?

To clarify: Dante does NOT work over the general internet; variabilities in delivery reliability make this unwise. Dante can be used over a wired WAN or MAN using Dante Domain Manager to configure audio across multiple subnets. And if you are linking properties with private fiber, DDM can even manage synchronization with GPS clock references on each property.

Q: Dante Domain Manager appears to be priced per number of rooms/domains. Can you define what constitutes a room/domain?

A domain is a group of devices that is user definable and could be a room, zone, building, or function. When selecting a Dante Domain Manager package, it’s best to look at node (device) count and need of enterprise features like LDAP, SNMP, and High Availability. Our Sales department will be happy to clarify any questions you may have.

Q: I am always confused with Dante Primary and Secondary. Can you explain please? 

Some Dante devices provide two separate network ports – the main network (Primary) and a redundant backup network (Secondary). Dante transmits on both networks simultaneously.  If one network fails, the information can be used seamlessly from the other network – no audio dropouts.  Use of a Secondary backup network is entirely optional and doesn’t affect other functionality. If you are not using a redundant network, then do not use the Secondary port.

Q: In conference rooms, are you able to pick and choose which mics and speakers to have active?

Yes. Dante Controller or any software that employs the Dante API can be used to route audio as desired. Separately, the DSPs with Dante ports often have remote control capabilities, allowing various controls panels to control mics and speaker levels.

Q: Will Dante video be managed with Dante Domain Manager?

Yes. Dante AV is compatible with Dante Domain Manager.

Q: I work at a State University. Do you know of any large Higher Education Institutes that have a Dante system in place for classroom audio in multiple buildings, and is there a white paper on them?  

Higher education uses Dante extensively. You can find several white papers and case studies on this subject at https://www.audinate.com/meet-dante/dante-in-action/projects/education

Q: How can we implement higher levels of security on audio streams beyond the Dante Domain manager?

Dante Domain Manager encrypts control and connection traffic, which ensures that no other device can obtain connection and clocking data. Audinate also provides manufacturers with the means to introduce their own implementation of audio confidentiality as desired.

Q: We typically use private dedicated switches for Dante because IT would not allow anything on their network.  Is there information to give to an IT client to help them be open to putting Dante devices on their network? 

Yes. This document is meant for IT departments working with Dante: https://my.audinate.com/sites/default/files/PDF/adding-dante-to-your-network-audinate.pdf.
 It is not unusual for groups to create larger concentrations of A/V gear on a “Leaf” network, where A/V is given its own network switches that may offer a single point of connection to the main enterprise network.  This dramatically reduces the audio traffic on the campus-wide core network and gives the A/V team some degree of control over their own equipment.

Q: I am a video guy, not an IT guy.  Did you say that to clock multiple devices, you need a multicast network? 

All IP networks support both unicast and multicast traffic. Standards require the use of multicast in any AV-over-IP LAN for clocking and discovery, but the amount of that traffic is very small. Dante audio itself may be transported via unicast or multicast at the user’s discretion in order to support different user routing choices.

Q: Is there a guide available for using VLANs with Dante?

Audinate does not provide step-by-step instructions, as these vary from one switch manufacturer to another. You can find lots of information about configuring networks for Dante at https://www.audinate.com/training.

Q: At what point would you suggest separate infrastructure between data and Dante networks?

There is no hard and fast rule. Dante isn’t special – it is simply another type of standards-based network traffic. Once the total traffic exceeds approximately 70% of switch capacity, you might be well served by separation, but only if that yields enough of a difference. A very small Dante installation – say, 16 channels – only requires 24 Mbps of traffic and so may not a significant source of network congestion.

Q: Is there significant traffic with no content being delivered? 100 Mbit on a Gig network is a significant burden.

Dante will use approximately 100 Mbps to deliver 64 channels of audio, but only when audio is flowing, e.g., Dante does not flood the channels with “dummy” data when no audio is present. If your needs are met with fewer than 64 channels, then Dante scales downward accordingly.

Q: Will Dante Domain Manager allow connection of an existing sports arena network with a travelling broadcast truck network without changing settings in the arena network for connectivity?

Merging two networks requires planning.  If you oversee both networks, this can be made easy. If you don’t then you may have issues, some as simple as an IP address conflict. 
To work around this, the common approach is to use a “bridge” device.  This will be a physical audio or video device with two network connections.  It simply reads the signal from one network and repeats it to the other network port.  In this case, the networks are not logically connected.  This has practical benefits as well, since it silos any network issue.  If the broadcast truck fails, it cannot take down your sports complex network.

Good examples of bridge products might be the SSL HC Bridge or the Yamaha RSio64-D.

Q: What is the sample rate used when referring to number of audio channels Dante supports?

When estimating bandwidth, we assume a 24-bit/48kHz stream.  Dante supports 16, 24 and 32-bit depths at sample rates from 44.1 kHz to 192 kHz, depending upon devices and manufacturer preferences.

Q: When configuring Dante input/output only, could the audio engineer or IT staff do the routing via wireless connection (Wi-Fi)?

Yes. Dante Controller can be connected using WiFi, but Dante audio cannot traverse WiFi connections. Dante Controller must be on the same network as the Dante devices in order to work, regardless of connection type.

Q: We have here 2 servers 80 kilometers apart with a 10 Mbps connection and static IP addresses. Will Dante work over this connection?

No. A 10 Mbps network is too slow for Dante to work with. Dante requires at least 100 Mbps bandwidth. If you wish to use Dante over a long distance, this can be done using GPS clocking in both locations, synchronized using Dante Domain Manager. However, the bandwidth between locations must be at least 100 Mbps.

Q: Are you developing or expecting an internet networked audio solution with latency low enough to allow reliable online band rehearsals (<10ms)?

That would be nice, wouldn’t it? We agree, but the way the internet works rules that out as the packet timing is far too unreliable to support a “real time” system like Dante. Long-distance Dante may be accomplished using dedicated private data lines between facilities, but even then, latencies due to the speed of light alone will often exceed 10 ms.

Q: Can Dante be used in multiple facilities of same company, so they can share audio/announcements between the offices?

The details depend upon the physical distances involved and the clear network bandwidth available between offices. This can be done by configuring Dante Domain Manager to pass selected channels between domains.

Q: Can you plug a Dante recorder into a hub and steal and record the audio from a conference like on a Sound Devices Scorpio or 888?

Without Dante Domain Manager, that would be possible under some circumstances if one has physical access to the network. Dante devices may be locked using a simple PIN to prevent unwanted routes. With Dante Domain Manager installed, only authorized users are allowed to see the devices, let alone create audio subscriptions.   

Q: What about connecting remote sites connected via VPN? Will Dante work or is limited to a LAN environment?

While not limited to a LAN environment (i.e. single subnet) with Dante Domain Manager, Dante audio will not work over a VPN. Control and Monitoring with Dante Domain Manager can work over a VPN.

Q: Can you control Dante Virtual Soundcard vía Dante Domain Manager? Or is limited only to routing?

Instances of Dante Virtual Soundcard can be managed like any other Dante device within Dante Domain Manager. Dante Domain Manager does not control the specific functions of recording or playback when using Dante Virtual Soundcard or Dante Via, it only determines how they are organized on the network and who has authority to make changes. Dante Domain Manager can provide organization, scalability, authorization, monitoring, and logging for Dante networks. It does not control routing, which requires Dante Controller. 

Q: What kind of settings we need to use if implementing Dante on existing networks?

If running Dante with other traffic on the network, you will likely want to implement QoS to protect the time sensitive Dante clock and audio data from other network traffic.  Depending on the amount of multicast in use IGMP snooping may be helpful. For a more complete set of instructions that suits your needs, we recommend that you consider taking the Dante Certification Courses offered free by Audinate.

Q: How does Dante work with wireless microphones?

The wireless mic uses RF frequencies between the microphone and the receiver.  The receiver then puts the audio on to the network using the Dante protocol.

Q: Is Dante Domain Manager free to download?

You can get a free 30 day trial by contacting Sales (https://www.audinate.com/contact/sales).  After that it is available for purchase.

Q: IT departments often don't like to see AV traffic shared with their network. How can we solve this issue?

Meet with IT early in the project so they have time to understand and implement your requests. IT, like everyone else, does not like to be slammed with last minute requests and projects. Be prepared with specifics of what you need and be flexible they have many aspects of the network to keep up and running. Conveniently Dante follows IEEE networking standards, so it doesn’t act unpredictably on the network. Audinate provides a convenient 1-page guide for network integration: https://my.audinate.com/sites/default/files/PDF/adding-dante-to-your-network-audinate.pdf

Q: Is there a recommended brand or series of switches and routers to be used with Dante?

We typically don’t recommend any specific switches as what each user requires can be quite different. You want to make sure to get 1GB switches, and for most systems we recommend a managed switch just in case you need the management features it provides. For Dante only networks that only need one switch you could get away with an unmanaged switch.  In all cases, you’ll want one that doesn’t use (or can disable) green or energy efficient ethernet (IEEE 802.az.)

Q: What is the preferred category cable be for best Dante performance? Cat 5/6 or 7 shielded or non-shielded? What would the advantages and disadvantages be with using 5 through to 7? 

Any Gigabit rated CAT cable will do, and that includes CAT5e, CAT6 or CAT7.  CAT5e is not officially certified to handle 1Gbps but will reliably deliver it most of the time. CAT6 is certified for 1 GB speeds and can do 10Gbps at shorter distances.  CAT7 is certified up to 10Gbps speeds and will do 40Gbps, but likely you don’t have a 10Gbps network yet. As CAT6 cable is slightly stiffer it can be more difficult to install than CAT5e cable. You will only need shielded cable if installing in particularly electrically noisy environments, though fiber may be a better option in that case.

Q: Have run into a situation where Dante traffic needs to be routed over an existing network in which their outfitted with 100mbs fast ethernet switches in each of the dozen locations. With 2-3 streams of audio going to each location, do you see this being an issue? (it is a paging system so not constant traffic)

This is not likely to be an issue, though you may want to deploy QoS to keep clocking consistent and protect the audio data from any other network traffic coming through the slower switches. 2 or 3 channels of Dante audio typically consume about 4 Mbps of data.

Q: Why do energy efficient switches cause Dante to fail?

Green Ethernet attempts to shut off ports when not in use and then reawaken them when data resumes. This skews the arrival times of clocking packets, causing synchronization to become unstable.

Q: Can you brief me difference between Dante software and Dante Domain Manager?

Dante is a hardware and software solution stack that transports precisely timed digital audio between devices using standard IP Networking. Dante Controller is software used to configure Dante devices and create audio routes between them. Dante Virtual Soundcard and Dante Via are pieces of software that allow you to add your computer to the Dante network for recording and playback. Dante Domain Manager is software deployed as a server-based solution to help users organize, secure, scale, and monitor their Dante network.

Q: For conferencing setups and number of installs that are unlikely to change and stay fixed, are setting these up with Dante cheaper, the same or more expensive than setting up as analogue?

CAT cabling can be significantly less expensive than analog cabling. The time for terminating connections is reduced dramatically – and that results in significant savings.  Additionally, the ability to manage and monitor devices remotely can greatly reduce service and support hours.  Total cost of installation is probably a close call, but as a total cost of ownership proposition, Dante certainly comes out ahead.

Q: Does QoS need to be applied when using Dante and does it need to be configured in multiple places e.g. Switches, Dante Domain Manager, other AVoIP systems e.g. NVX director etc?

QoS is a feature that is only implemented on network switches and nowhere else. QoS is useful when sharing bandwidth with non-Dante devices, and especially if network traffic is high, e.g., >70% of switch capacity.  If Dante is on its own 1Gbps network, you likely won’t need to use QoS.

Q: Can Dante Domain Manager be installed in a Cloud configuration?

No, not yet.

Q: Can Dante Domain Manager manage AES67 devices with PTT V2?

Dante Domain Manager does not manage non-Dante AES67 devices, but an AES67 domain can be created to manage Dante devices with Dante firmware v. 4.2+ that need to be placed in AES67 mode. More details can be found here:  https://dev.audinate.com/GA/Dante Domain Manager/userguide/1.1/webhelp/content/appendix/aes67_and_smpte_domains.htm?Highlight=AES67

Q: Where is the IT whitepaper on your website, "So you want to put Dante on your network"?

https://my.audinate.com/sites/default/files/PDF/adding-dante-to-your-network-audinate.pdf

Q: What kind of bandwidth is required to do monitoring and adjusting and live time usage? 

Dante control data is very low bandwidth, in the range of several Kbps.

Q: What is the maximum distance Dante audio can be distributed in a building?

Any single Ethernet connection using Cat5/6/7 cable can extend 300 ft. This distance can be increased arbitrarily by adding additional switches, or by using optical fiber instead of copper.

Q: What about the use of VLANs for Dante over IP networks?  That's the approach our IT network engineers will be using in a brand-new build out at the university where I work.

It’s perfectly fine to run Dante on VLANs with in campus network infrastructure.

Q: Are you working through dealers for Dante Domain Manager licenses and renewal?

A Dante Domain Manager license is permanent and may be purchased through resellers. The yearly support and maintenance package is also sold through resellers.

Q: is there a mechanism for integrators to resell Audinate software?

Yes, there is a mechanism for integrators to resell Audinate software. Select Sales at the contact page on the Audinate website and fill out the form: https://www.audinate.com/contact 

Q: How does Dante work with SMPTE 2110 and the PTP domain number of 127?

With Dante Domain Manager you can set up a SMPTE 2110 domain. Dante devices with 4.2+ Dante Firmware can be placed in Interop mode to transmit and receive SMPTE 2110 audio flows. You can control clocking parameters (including domain number) and RTP audio flow parameters. We suggest reading the Dante Domain Manager User Guide SMPTE section to learn more about this. https://dev.audinate.com/GA/Dante Domain Manager/userguide/1.1/webhelp/content/appendix/aes67_and_smpte_domains.htm?Highlight=SMPTE. This video of recent broadcast webinar may also be useful: https://youtu.be/SrFGiS_GpKE

Q: Does Dante connectivity vary from brand to brand?

No. Dante is designed to provide 100% interoperability regardless of the brand of product. Different devices may have different features, such as support for more or fewer sample rates, but basic connectivity always works.

Q: Does Dante Domain Manager enable Dante Controller to control 3rd party equipment

Dante Domain Manager can provide organization, scalability, authorization, monitoring, and logging for Dante devices/networks only. Dante controller is still used to route audio between devices. Non-Dante devices are not enrolled in domains or controlled by Dante software.

Q: Is Dante multicast?

Dante can transmit using unicast and/or multicast. The PTP clocking standard (IEEE1588) requires that clock data be sent using multicast within a LAN. Dante discovery uses multicast to find Dante devices on a LAN. The multicast traffic generated by Dante for clocking and discovery is very small, a few Kbps at most.  Audio streams (which represent far more data) are unicast by default but may use multicast at user discretion on a per-device/per-channel basis. Multicast audio is very efficient when transmitting identical content to many endpoints.

Q: Can you run Dante Domain Manager on the same computer as Dante Via?

Dante Via runs on Windows or macOS, and Dante Domain Manager runs on Linux. For these to exist on a single computer, Dante Domain Manager would need to run as a VM using hypervisor software installed on the host OS. The host OS would then also run Dante Via. We do not recommend this setup, as it may result in excessive resource consumption and less than ideal performance. Dante Domain Manager is best installed on a server that is always available.

Q: Does Dante Domain Manager have a support plan available?

Yes. Dante Domain Manager resellers are trained to provide the first line of technical support. If the reseller is unable to answer the support ticket, they can escalate it to Audinate. If there continues to be an issue, the end user can submit a ticket to the Dante Domain Manager support portal.

Q: Can you use Dante Domain Manager in place of Dante Controller on a Catalina machine?

No. Dante Domain Manager and Dante Controller do not perform the same tasks. Dante Controller is still used to control device setup and routing; Dante Domain Manager provides security and the ability to extend Dante across subnets.

Q: Does Dante Domain Manager allow you to assign roles to AV techs so they can perform basic routing specific to an event’s needs?

Yes. Dante Domain Manager allows you to assign user roles on a per domain basis.  There are currently 4 roles available, Site Admin, Domain Admin, Operator and Guest (and technically None or no access to a domain). The Operator role has access to edit audio routes but not access to change clocking or moving devices in/out of a domain.  Guest is read only access.

Q: Can we use the same network switch for both Dante and Video over IP streaming? 

Probably. The issue is the bandwidth required by video, which may be quite large. If the switch’s backplane bandwidth is large enough to handle both the Video over IP streaming and Dante data, it will work. You’ll likely need to implement IGMP snooping and QoS depending on the Video IP streaming technology, especially if it’s on the same LAN as Dante audio data.

Q: Are all the Dante Cards (chips) compatible with Dante Domain Manager?

Yes, all currently produced Dante products may run Dante firmware 4.x, which enables Dante Domain Manager functionality. Some legacy Dante firmware versions (i.e. lower than 4.0) can be associated in Dante Domain Manager domains but do not allow full functionality. A few very early Dante products cannot support Dante Domain Manager, notably the Dante Legacy Module used as a CobraNet replacement in a small number of products from the 2009-2010 era.

Shure Questions

Q: What is the processing latency of the Shure MXA910?

The IntelliMix automix output of the 910 is 18ms, in comparison to the direct outputs which are 7ms. (excluding Dante latency). 

Q: Is IMX room certified for use on MS Teams? 

IMX Room is not currently MS Teams approved. If you need MS Teams approved devices, currently MXA 310, MXA 910 and P300 are MS Teams certified.

Q: Will IMX room run on a W10 virtual machine on a mac

No

Q: So IMX room is supported on Crestron flex products? You install it directly on the codec?  Is it a Microsoft Teams “approved”

Yes you can install IMX Room directly on the Crestron Flex UC-160. (it is just an intel NUC). Get to the administrator log in and install the app just like a normal computer. It is not MS Teams approved.

Q: Does the IMX Room support dual NICs? For instance, bringing Dante on one NIC and control/UI access on another?

Yes

Q: Is there any particular reason why IMX can't work on VM ?

Not intended use case. Also, audio drivers can misbehave in virtual environments and we are already using a “virtual Audio Driver”.

Q: With your IMX product, does any of the audio procession happen on the client's PC or is the processing happening on the MXA products (or both)?  How taxing is this, processor wise, on the client's computer?

Certainly depends on the use case, but all processing that IMX-Room offers happens on the PC itself. Now with IMX processing on the microphone, it is of course possible to utilize that processing on the microphone instead. (or mix and match, this is user defined) By following the recommended minimum system specs for an IMX Room PC, the consumption is fairly low allowing the computer to properly accomplish other tasks it needs to (run the codec, share screens, presentation SW, etc)  

Q: Hi Troy, you mentioned IMX Room can interface with MSTeams/Zoom what's your approach to integrating with other third party soft codecs?

It integrates with all SW codecs equally – IMX Room is simply an audio device available to any SW codec running on the same computer as IMX Room.

Q: Does Shure IMX Support Crestron Mercury?

Crestron Mercury is not a Windows Device, so no.

Q: What is connectivity Between Software License to softcodec

Not sure I understand, but IMX Room is licensed individually from any SW codec.  

Q: Is IntelliMix room software a free download?

Shure offers free 90 trials of IMX Room

Q: Can IMX application use in divisible conferencing application?

It can with some configuration steps, but it is not designed for this use case

Q: Is Extron TLC compatible with IMX Room?

Yes, IMX room can be controlled through TCP/IP command strings.

Q: What happens when an IMX license expires? Does the room just stop working?

90 days after contract/license expiration, audio will stop passing through the outputs of IMX Room.

Panelists

Brad Price
Product Marketing Manager
Audinate

Troy Jensen
Lead Market Development Specialist
Shure