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Author Topic: QOS and Dante  (Read 10428 times)

Justice C. Bigler

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Re: QOS and Dante
« Reply #30 on: October 16, 2016, 03:30:34 am »

The other thing to remember is that most enterprise level equipment takes a level of networking expertise to setup and configure that most audio techs don't posses.

Our previous lighting head bought a bunch of high end Cisco enterprise level routers for use with our new lighting consoles and networks and remote control for RFU and iPad use for each of the theatres, thinking that they would be better or last longer etc... He was never able to get any of them up and running. Our application did not require that kind of hardware, and we wasted a couple thousand dollars on shit that got boxed up and sent to surplus without ever being used. A couple years later our new lighting guy bought some consumer level Netgear wireless routers and got them up and running in a day.
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: QOS and Dante
« Reply #31 on: October 16, 2016, 06:09:33 am »

While you might consider it cutting corners, it's not.  The short answer is we know what we are doing with regards to choosing suitable components for mission critical systems.  Be it audio transport, data, whatever, the configs for our apps in the majority of cases are set and forget.  The switch is there as a support part, much the same way an XLR connector might be.  Were these extra features able to add to the application it might be determined to be a better cost value. 

Cash isn't unlimited and even though we're doing big gigs with big budgets, we still have to be smart with the dollar. Buying an enterprise grade switch when there are more cost effective solutions that do exactly what is required isn't being smart with the dollar.  In the same way we wouldn't take an SD7 into a gig when a QL was suitable, we wouldn't buy switches that are more expensive that don't really add anything to our app.  At this gig the difference if using Dante with a redundant loop and a few spares is the difference between US$60k or so and under $15k.  (assumes 20 x $3k enterprise 24 port L3 GB switch w/ fiber module or 20 x $600 SG24 w/ fiber module) Is there a $45k difference in real world use for a Dante app?  For all but a small handful of gigs in the world, no. 

The SG wasn't used as a reference because that's all they had laying around.   ::)  The Audinate folks know a bit about networking...

From the early days of UDP audio over UTP there have been issues with switch types and choices starting with Cobranet in the 90s.  The SG was likely chosen because it's readily available, affordable for most apps, relatively easy to use with the performance/features required for the application.

To address the specific advantages claimed in your post...

Service:  Spares need to be available at the job or in the room.  You don't worry about what happened to it, you swap it out and get on with the show.  The shop techs or day crew will slap it around and see what happened.  I don't need the same level support with a switch that I need from Meyer, Yamaha or Digico.  Besides, Cisco isn't going to be able to support Dante (or likely even know what it is).

Deployment configs: These apps already use breakouts to panels with ethercon or opticon or whatever the app needs.  Doubtful you'll find anyone in the bigs using only plastic RJ45s for all gigs, all the time.  There will always be some here and there to patch as needed, that's the nature of a one off.  As a rule you'll see ethercons and appropriate optical connectors.  As of the PSU, if it passes signal without issue and stays powered up, that's what it needs to do.  If the PSU design were to impact either the performance or reliability of the switch, that's a different issue.  The dual, hot swappable PSUs are good, but it comes at a steep price.

If you have some specific use cases or failure modes in this application that shows the SG unsuitable I'm all ears.

All very interesting and valid points.   I am also asking some of these questions as I wonder if my networking skills will be of any use to the production world.  After 35 years I am winding down my IT career.

WRT Justice's comment, that is an unfortunate story, if a few dollars had been spent on professional services those switches and routers could have given you years of service.  Stories like this only feed the lore that enterprise gear is unapproachable.  Frankly the discourse I see on other "audio" related topics is far more complicated than setting up a few vlan's and QoS policies.

A few other points I would like to address.  Don't sell the Cisco engineers short, I am sure they understand Dante and any other production applications.  Cisco, Exteme and all the other vendors in that space have presence in the broadcast, post production and studio space.  I have personal knowledge in Cleveland of the Ethernet switching and wireless network that was deployed during the renovation of the State and Ohio (I think) theaters.  I was a subcontractor during that work.  The same team that did that work just finished this project http://www.zenithsystems.com/?page_id=75

Lastly as far as my purely speculative guess about the selection of the Cisco small business switches don't be too surprised.  Lucent/Bell Labs has virtually unlimited resources however every 5ESS autoplex mobile switch has a Xyplex terminal server for serial interfacing.  It was chosen for convenience reasons.  I saw similar decisions made during my tenure at Motorola.

Dave I want to thank you for your candor,  detailed and considered response.  It was a very interesting read.

I truly hope that I can utilize my networking skills in a production capacity at some point.

 
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Justice C. Bigler

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Re: QOS and Dante
« Reply #32 on: October 16, 2016, 12:17:04 pm »

WRT Justice's comment, that is an unfortunate story, if a few dollars had been spent on professional services those switches and routers could have given you years of service.  Stories like this only feed the lore that enterprise gear is unapproachable.  Frankly the discourse I see on other "audio" related topics is far more complicated than setting up a few vlan's and QoS policies.


The "professionals" that we would have been able to bring in were City IT. We try to keep them away from our production systems because once they start working on a system, they want to hook it up to the City network, proxy servers, and start putting all kinds of anitvirus software and firewalls on every computer they touch. Plus then they require network log ins and user profiles for everything. It's easier for us to manage our own systems. And since our lighting and audio networks are all closed systems and don't connect to the internet, or each other, it's easier this way.


As it happens those consumer level Netgear routers are still running happily with no other issues since. Besides, the Cisco SG300s that we use for Dante and the Dell switches that we use for the ETC stuff isn't exactly the consumer level routers that you can grab at Wal-Mart for $30.


A guy with good networking skills would be highly valuable in our industry. But it's sort of like an NEC certified electrician who decides to just work as a theatre lighting technician. Once upon a time I tried to start a career as an IT and networking guy. Then I got into audio. There's not a day that goes by that I don't wish I would have stayed the course. 14 years later and I could be making some nice money instead of working for peanuts in the audio business. My advice would be to enjoy your retirement and maybe do a few small gigs just for fun--but those won't be the kind of gigs that you will get to flex your networking muscles on.



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Cailen Waddell

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Re: QOS and Dante
« Reply #33 on: October 16, 2016, 02:56:53 pm »

All very interesting and valid points.   I am also asking some of these questions as I wonder if my networking skills will be of any use to the production world.  After 35 years I am winding down my IT career.

WRT Justice's comment, that is an unfortunate story, if a few dollars had been spent on professional services those switches and routers could have given you years of service.  Stories like this only feed the lore that enterprise gear is unapproachable.  Frankly the discourse I see on other "audio" related topics is far more complicated than setting up a few vlan's and QoS policies.

A few other points I would like to address.  Don't sell the Cisco engineers short, I am sure they understand Dante and any other production applications.  Cisco, Exteme and all the other vendors in that space have presence in the broadcast, post production and studio space.  I have personal knowledge in Cleveland of the Ethernet switching and wireless network that was deployed during the renovation of the State and Ohio (I think) theaters.  I was a subcontractor during that work.  The same team that did that work just finished this project http://www.zenithsystems.com/?page_id=75

Lastly as far as my purely speculative guess about the selection of the Cisco small business switches don't be too surprised.  Lucent/Bell Labs has virtually unlimited resources however every 5ESS autoplex mobile switch has a Xyplex terminal server for serial interfacing.  It was chosen for convenience reasons.  I saw similar decisions made during my tenure at Motorola.

Dave I want to thank you for your candor,  detailed and considered response.  It was a very interesting read.

I truly hope that I can utilize my networking skills in a production capacity at some point.

Scott have you ever thought about working with a theater consultant.  Designing network topologies and equipment for new and renovated theaters?   Could be a nice use of your skill set...


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: QOS and Dante
« Reply #34 on: October 16, 2016, 09:03:31 pm »



A guy with good networking skills would be highly valuable in our industry. But it's sort of like an NEC certified electrician who decides to just work as a theatre lighting technician. Once upon a time I tried to start a career as an IT and networking guy. Then I got into audio. There's not a day that goes by that I don't wish I would have stayed the course. 14 years later and I could be making some nice money instead of working for peanuts in the audio business. My advice would be to enjoy your retirement and maybe do a few small gigs just for fun--but those won't be the kind of gigs that you will get to flex your networking muscles on.


I am already past the "just for fun" my little audio company will do over 300 shows next year.  They are hardly "shows" by your standards but we have upped the ante for the small production space in Cleveland and I have some fantastic guys working for me. 


The money motivation is not the issue.  I want to provide value and work on a level in production that would challenge me.  There is an aviation writer that was the Chief of Surgery at a major teaching hospital in Tampa.  He retired from being a surgeon and went from a private to a commercial pilot at 72 years old.  He flies the line with 20 something kids in Citations and Lear Jets.  He cleans the cabin, services the labs and carriers the passengers bags just like any other charter pilot.  He is having the time of his life.


A challenge, a little humility and a clear scope of work in a fast paced production environment sounds like a great experience. 







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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: QOS and Dante
« Reply #37 on: October 20, 2016, 02:34:33 am »

I caught the webinar on this.  Good stuff....

Very well written.  Converged network with over 2000 ports
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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman
River Delta Audio is now:

Ghost Audio Visual Solutions, LLC
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Re: QOS and Dante
« Reply #37 on: October 20, 2016, 02:34:33 am »


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