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Author Topic: Testing Cat 5 installation for Dante use  (Read 1772 times)

Riley Casey

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Testing Cat 5 installation for Dante use
« on: February 10, 2014, 01:29:46 pm »

A local venue has installed some Cat 5E or Cat 6  cable for use on a specific show that we have traditionally pulled our own fiber for.  I need to test this for suitability for Dante networking, essentially that it will support Gigabit ethernet.  Some Googling around points to some utilities including one resident on Mac OSX that should confirm this. I plan to park my computer at one end of the line and one of the switches we use for Dante at the other end and run the utility.  Any reason to think this would not suffice to tell me if this will support the show?  Thanks for any pointers.

John Penkala

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Re: Testing Cat 5 installation for Dante use
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2014, 02:02:02 pm »

A local venue has installed some Cat 5E or Cat 6  cable for use on a specific show that we have traditionally pulled our own fiber for.  I need to test this for suitability for Dante networking, essentially that it will support Gigabit ethernet.  Some Googling around points to some utilities including one resident on Mac OSX that should confirm this. I plan to park my computer at one end of the line and one of the switches we use for Dante at the other end and run the utility.  Any reason to think this would not suffice to tell me if this will support the show?  Thanks for any pointers.

Riley,
       I'm very interested as to what you find as one of my clients is adding a CL5 and a pair of RIO boxes to their system.  Although not on a Dante network, I have used a connection utility in the Auvitran software for Ethersound. It monitors the quality of the connection in real-time. If the Dante control software has a utility like that, you could run it day of show making sure that you have enough time to run your fiber if it fails the test. I don't blame you if you want to know before the day of the show and don't want to drag a console and stage box in beforehand. This is assuming a utility like that even exists for Dante. Sorry, if I muddied the water. Let us know what you find out!

JP
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Scott Helmke

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Re: Testing Cat 5 installation for Dante use
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2014, 02:37:14 pm »

I use a Black Box TS580A "LAN Performance Verifier" to test and verify category performance of all the Ethernet cables we use for digital audio.
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Samuel Rees

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Re: Testing Cat 5 installation for Dante use
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2014, 05:10:46 pm »

What utility are you looking at? I'd like to test some cat lines, but don't have a place in the business model for for some kind of dedicated hardware. I've got a Mac, also.
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Riley Casey

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Re: Testing Cat 5 installation for Dante use
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2014, 08:00:30 pm »

Network utility in the .. Utilities folder as it turns out.  It correctly identifies 1000 Mb versus 100 Mb switches in the shop but I have no idea if it's simply reading a tag in the switch hardware at the end of the line or genuinely determining that the connection will reliably support Gigabit traffic.

What utility are you looking at? I'd like to test some cat lines, but don't have a place in the business model for for some kind of dedicated hardware. I've got a Mac, also.

Erik Jerde

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Re: Testing Cat 5 installation for Dante use
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2014, 10:49:52 am »

Network utility in the .. Utilities folder as it turns out.  It correctly identifies 1000 Mb versus 100 Mb switches in the shop but I have no idea if it's simply reading a tag in the switch hardware at the end of the line or genuinely determining that the connection will reliably support Gigabit traffic.

It's just reporting that it successfully negotiated a gigabit connection which is pretty basic.  There is no performance guarantee and no testing of the line (beyond very basic stuff) involved. 

If you want to truly verify the connection you'll need specialized test equipment which runs fancy measurements on the wire.  I would at least verify that it's wired correctly, a cheap tester should accomplish that.
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Chris Johnson [UK]

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Re: Testing Cat 5 installation for Dante use
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2014, 02:39:02 pm »

In short:

You can't confirm infrastructure quality without something like this:

http://www.flukenetworks.com/enterprise-network/network-testing/CableIQ-Qualification-Tester

Software products can't tell you very much because they only operate above the physical layer - they are up in Layer 4-7 of the OSI model.
To really tell whats going on with your cable, you're interested in the physical and electrical properties

Even though testers like this are not cheap, they are typically a small investment when you compare it to the financial risk on a show which relies on cat copper or fibre tech (fibre variants exist also)
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Mac Kerr

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Re: Testing Cat 5 installation for Dante use
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2014, 02:53:48 pm »

In short:

You can't confirm infrastructure quality without something like this:

http://www.flukenetworks.com/enterprise-network/network-testing/CableIQ-Qualification-Tester

Software products can't tell you very much because they only operate above the physical layer - they are up in Layer 4-7 of the OSI model.
To really tell whats going on with your cable, you're interested in the physical and electrical properties

Even though testers like this are not cheap, they are typically a small investment when you compare it to the financial risk on a show which relies on cat copper or fibre tech (fibre variants exist also)

Chris, do you know what the Black Box tester doesn't do relative to the Fluke to justify the $1300 price difference? Does it really matter? This is an issue I hope to have to deal with more and more as I get to use network based audio systems more and more, and I probably should have a tester, but don't want to spend more than I need to.

Mac
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Testing Cat 5 installation for Dante use
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2014, 02:59:51 pm »

Chris, do you know what the Black Box tester doesn't do relative to the Fluke to justify the $1300 price difference? Does it really matter? This is an issue I hope to have to deal with more and more as I get to use network based audio systems more and more, and I probably should have a tester, but don't want to spend more than I need to.

Mac

Bingo.  I can see such tools in my future.  The Black Box unit appears to use TDS to qualify wiring and the unit can be inserted between 2 TCP/IP devices to monitor negotiated connection speeds.  The latter may not be important if working mostly with AES50, but could be useful with Dante.

I don't want a $2000 piece in my tool box if $600 will do.
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Jens Palm Bacher

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Re: Testing Cat 5 installation for Dante use
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2014, 03:51:18 pm »

A local venue has installed some Cat 5E or Cat 6  cable for use on a specific show that we have traditionally pulled our own fiber for.  I need to test this for suitability for Dante networking, essentially that it will support Gigabit ethernet.  Some Googling around points to some utilities including one resident on Mac OSX that should confirm this. I plan to park my computer at one end of the line and one of the switches we use for Dante at the other end and run the utility.  Any reason to think this would not suffice to tell me if this will support the show?  Thanks for any pointers.
Some Intel and 3com NIC cards supports hadrware-level cable diagnostics
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