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Title: Ethernet over XLR
Post by: Bob Faulkner on June 28, 2019, 07:52:49 am
Did a search on the forum... there's plenty of results with "Ethernet" and "XLR", but I didn't find anything specifically as "Ethernet over XLR".

Is anyone doing Ethernet over XLR?  I use Crown MA 9000i amps and would like the convenience of checking their status during shows.  Currently, everything is setup/confirmed with the amplifiers before a show... never had any issues, but it would be nice to "see" what's going on with the amp - from FOH.  We don't drive the amps hard.  Our status check of the amplifiers is currently from viewing the "power-meter" lights around the attenuation knobs.

Was considering something like this for network connectivity:
https://www.redco.com/Redco-EA-4P-MX-01-Ethernet-to-4-Male-XLR-breakout-cable-1.html


Or... for perhaps using wireless (between FOH and the stage), was considering a device that connects into the wired-NIC port (of the laptop) that would convert the wired signal to wireless... and then have the same converter at the amplifiers (connected to a non-managed switch), that would convert the wireless signal back to wired.  There used to be something like this available 10 years ago... very basic; the devices were not switches/routers/bridges; no setup of anything... just plug the devices into the computers and you could have a personal wireless network almost 500' apart. 




Title: Re: Ethernet over XLR
Post by: Taylor Hall on June 28, 2019, 08:04:48 am
While you -can- do what you're saying with the xlr/ethernet conversion, I wouldn't recommend it. I don't see much reason to convert from one type of cable to the other, when all you really need is a single ethernet cable run.

What I think you're looking for is a wireless bridge. They're still fairly common and a lot of modern routers can be set up to act like them.

Your second scenario is much easier to set up. All you would really need is your wireless router near your amp rack (assuming the wifi is strong enough to get to your FOH location), plug your hiqnet ports into that and then connect to the router via wifi. Alternately you can set up a dumb hub/switch and run a single ethernet cable back to FOH where you could situate your wireless router.

Title: Re: Ethernet over XLR
Post by: Bob Faulkner on June 28, 2019, 08:38:52 am
While you -can- do what you're saying with the xlr/ethernet conversion, I wouldn't recommend it. I don't see much reason to convert from one type of cable to the other, when all you really need is a single ethernet cable run.

What I think you're looking for is a wireless bridge. They're still fairly common and a lot of modern routers can be set up to act like them.

Your second scenario is much easier to set up. All you would really need is your wireless router near your amp rack (assuming the wifi is strong enough to get to your FOH location), plug your hiqnet ports into that and then connect to the router via wifi. Alternately you can set up a dumb hub/switch and run a single ethernet cable back to FOH where you could situate your wireless router.


Thanks.  For a wired connection, was hoping to use an existing snake channel, instead of having to pull 150/200ft. of CAT-5/6 cable.

I would rather do wireless, but having to manage networking gear (i.e. managed devices) - configuration setup, troubleshooting, password(s), etc..  especially for what I need, is not the direction I would like to go.  I'm trying to keep the setup as simple as possible.

If I did this right, a drawing of the wireless setup is attached to this post.  It's very basic.

-- I know a wireless device like this (in the drawing) existed at one time... I'm hoping these are still available.

Title: Re: Ethernet over XLR
Post by: Steve Crump on June 28, 2019, 09:07:55 am
Edit.

I should have read Taylorís post a second time before posting.
Title: Re: Ethernet over XLR
Post by: Russell Ault on June 28, 2019, 10:20:16 am
I'm trying to keep the setup as simple as possible.

Then don't use wireless. Guaranteed to not work the one time you really need it, especially if it's a user-friendly unit.

For a wired connection, was hoping to use an existing snake channel, instead of having to pull 150/200ft. of CAT-5/6 cable.

You could try it and see if it works (you'd need at least two snake channels for 100 Mbps Ethernet) but I'd be very surprised, especially over that distance.

Cat5e is really cheap. I'd just bundle a couple runs of it to your snake (so you have spares) and then not worry about it.

-Russ
Title: Re: Ethernet over XLR
Post by: Erik Jerde on June 28, 2019, 11:21:22 am
Thanks.  For a wired connection, was hoping to use an existing snake channel, instead of having to pull 150/200ft. of CAT-5/6 cable.

Unlikely to work.  10/100Mbit ethernet requires two pairs.  Gigabit requires 4.  Most (all?) mic cable doesn't even meet the specs of cat3 cable which if memory serves (it's been a long time) was the minimum for 10Mbps ethernet.  Additionally, 328 feet is the spec max cable length for copper for Ethernet.  That's point to point with solid cable.  Patch bays and splices unless very high quality will further reduce the functional length.  Trying to use sub-standard cable over a relatively long distance is unlikely to work. 

All that said of course it may work, it wouldn't be hard to rig up a RJ45 to 4 XLR adapter and try it.  Make sure you get the pairs right though.  If it does work it would be interesting to know what the reliability and throughput is.  I wouldn't waste my time on it though.

The advice to bundle a couple network lines with your analog snake is good advice.  Use a flexible rubber-jacketed tactical cable and it should be durable and reliable.  Use ethercon shells so it can take the abuse of a live environment.  The idea of using a snake channel reminds me of a recent "audio hacks" post where someone wise commented that "hacks" in the end often take more time and produce a worse result than if you'd just done things properly the first time.
Title: Re: Ethernet over XLR
Post by: Pete Erskine on June 28, 2019, 11:44:05 am
Did a search on the forum... there's plenty of results with "Ethernet" and "XLR", but I didn't find anything specifically as "Ethernet over XLR".

use a converter

https://www.blackbox.co.uk/gb-gb/fi/1521/13600/ADSL-Ethernet-Extender-Kit/
Title: Re: Ethernet over XLR
Post by: David Sturzenbecher on June 28, 2019, 11:45:18 am
Did a search on the forum... there's plenty of results with "Ethernet" and "XLR", but I didn't find anything specifically as "Ethernet over XLR".

Is anyone doing Ethernet over XLR?  I use Crown MA 9000i amps and would like the convenience of checking their status during shows.  Currently, everything is setup/confirmed with the amplifiers before a show... never had any issues, but it would be nice to "see" what's going on with the amp - from FOH.  We don't drive the amps hard.  Our status check of the amplifiers is currently from viewing the "power-meter" lights around the attenuation knobs.

Was considering something like this for network connectivity:
https://www.redco.com/Redco-EA-4P-MX-01-Ethernet-to-4-Male-XLR-breakout-cable-1.html


Or... for perhaps using wireless (between FOH and the stage), was considering a device that connects into the wired-NIC port (of the laptop) that would convert the wired signal to wireless... and then have the same converter at the amplifiers (connected to a non-managed switch), that would convert the wireless signal back to wired.  There used to be something like this available 10 years ago... very basic; the devices were not switches/routers/bridges; no setup of anything... just plug the devices into the computers and you could have a personal wireless network almost 500' apart.

There are plenty of devices out there that boast the ability to transfer network down a two-wire connection.  All will be much more expensive then a $30 cat6 cable

https://www.transition.com/products/media-converters/eo2pse4052-111-eo2pd4052-111/

https://www.pimfg.com/product-detail/ETHERNET-REP-4

http://www.wantec.com/2wip.html

https://www.2nusa.com/en_US/products/intercoms/2n-2wire

https://www.mobotix.com/en/products/system-components/mx2wire-media-converter
Title: Re: Ethernet over XLR
Post by: Frank Koenig on June 28, 2019, 11:52:32 am
I'd go wireless. It's just side information, not mission critical. It may take a bit of fooling around to get it setup initially -- seems like it always does -- but should be hassle-free after that.

I did exactly that with some Powersoft K series and a Windows laptop with Armonia (Powersoft's control app) when I had an analog mixer. Now that I'm digital the amplifier data hitch a ride on the GigaAce snake to FOH. A short Ethernet cable incorporated in the "drive snake" between the mixer's stage rack and the amplifier rack and an Ethernet patch cable between the desk and the laptop complete the connection. All wired.

--Frank
Title: Re: Ethernet over XLR
Post by: Scott Holtzman on June 28, 2019, 12:58:07 pm
I'd go wireless. It's just side information, not mission critical. It may take a bit of fooling around to get it setup initially -- seems like it always does -- but should be hassle-free after that.

I did exactly that with some Powersoft K series and a Windows laptop with Armonia (Powersoft's control app) when I had an analog mixer. Now that I'm digital the amplifier data hitch a ride on the GigaAce snake to FOH. A short Ethernet cable incorporated in the "drive snake" between the mixer's stage rack and the amplifier rack and an Ethernet patch cable between the desk and the laptop complete the connection. All wired.

--Frank


I would try and find some old 56k UDS point to point modems and a routers (Cisco 2600 series with the v.35 port you need for the modem are under $10.00!!!) on eBay.  That will work great down the snake.  56k is plenty fast enough for telemetry data. 
Title: Re: Ethernet over XLR
Post by: Bob Faulkner on June 29, 2019, 08:06:39 am
Thanks for all the suggestions and links.  I would rather use a wired connection, but I think that would be more of a hassle than it's worth.  So, I'm going to look at the wireless options. 

The wireless units I'm looking for are more for a peer-to-peer type of network, meaning, no need for switching and routing, or any network configuration.  They just "plug&play". 

Title: Re: Ethernet over XLR
Post by: David Sturzenbecher on June 29, 2019, 08:24:26 am
Thanks for all the suggestions and links.  I would rather use a wired connection, but I think that would be more of a hassle than it's worth.  So, I'm going to look at the wireless options. 

The wireless units I'm looking for are more for a peer-to-peer type of network, meaning, no need for switching and routing, or any network configuration.  They just "plug&play".

I guess why can't you just loom a cat6 to your snake? It would be all of $30 and the most correct way to do this.  You wouldn't have to pull two lines, it would just get deployed whenever your snake does.
Title: Re: Ethernet over XLR
Post by: Bob Faulkner on July 01, 2019, 08:05:58 am
I guess why can't you just loom a cat6 to your snake? It would be all of $30 and the most correct way to do this.  You wouldn't have to pull two lines, it would just get deployed whenever your snake does.
I considered this, but there were a few negatives.

1.  The CAT cable would need to be able to withstand some minor abuse (mostly abrasions) when being pulled across outdoor areas (parking lots, gravel, sand, dirt, etc...).  I would probably need plenum grade cable, which (in my experience) doesn't coil well and is somewhat rigid, however, they seem to take a bit more abuse.

2.  Would need about a 10' whip on the house side for the computer, and about a 30' whip on the stage side.  The snake head rarely sits directly next to the amplifier rack.  The rack is rarely (if ever) on the stage.  Would need some spare distance to ensure connectivity no matter where the snake head and amp rack sit.

3.  Coiling/managing the whips - this may seem trivial, but it's added time and another "step" in the process of setting up and loading out.

At least with wireless (the peer-to-peer type - no switches, routers, bridges, etc...) laptop and amp-rack can be anywhere.
Title: Re: Ethernet over XLR
Post by: Tim McCulloch on July 01, 2019, 09:18:59 am

I considered this, but there were a few negatives.

1.  The CAT cable would need to be able to withstand some minor abuse (mostly abrasions) when being pulled across outdoor areas (parking lots, gravel, sand, dirt, etc...).  I would probably need plenum grade cable, which (in my experience) doesn't coil well and is somewhat rigid, however, they seem to take a bit more abuse.

2.  Would need about a 10' whip on the house side for the computer, and about a 30' whip on the stage side.  The snake head rarely sits directly next to the amplifier rack.  The rack is rarely (if ever) on the stage.  Would need some spare distance to ensure connectivity no matter where the snake head and amp rack sit.

3.  Coiling/managing the whips - this may seem trivial, but it's added time and another "step" in the process of setting up and loading out.

At least with wireless (the peer-to-peer type - no switches, routers, bridges, etc...) laptop and amp-rack can be anywhere.

You'll spend more $ for the convenience.

CAT5 is throw-away/recycle.  I've had a piece of generic, non-plenum rated on a drive snake that gets deployed 80 times a year, by stage hands (meaning it's not treated kindly) for 5 years.  It's now due for replacement.  I think we paid 11 cents a foot for the cable and I crimped on 2 RJ45 for about 50 cents.  It's a 250ft snake...

If you're running 250 ft or less, an extra 5 ft at the console end isn't a problem.  If you have a genuine problem dealing with the extra run-off on the stage end, cut it off there, terminate it with an RJ45, use a coupler and another CAT5 cord to reach the amp rack.

Maybe it's my age but I don't understand why folks seem to hate the very thing that makes all our stuff work:  copper.
Title: Re: Ethernet over XLR
Post by: David Winners on July 01, 2019, 02:49:46 pm
I've never owned a FOH snake without at least a power cable taped to it.

If the free ends bother you, put a dash mount rj45 in the snake box and, like Tim suggested, use a coupler on the board end. I would rather coil up a small loop at the stage end and set it on top of the stage box than find a cat 5 cable, but that's me.

While wireless is cool and convenient, when it works, if you're running a snake anyways, I would recommend using the right tool for the job. Some cat 5 cable is more rugged and coils better than other types, but I haven't personally had any trouble with standard cable.
Title: Re: Ethernet over XLR
Post by: Caleb Dueck on July 01, 2019, 08:48:09 pm
I've never owned a FOH snake without at least a power cable taped to it.

If the free ends bother you, put a dash mount rj45 in the snake box and, like Tim suggested, use a coupler on the board end. I would rather coil up a small loop at the stage end and set it on top of the stage box than find a cat 5 cable, but that's me.

While wireless is cool and convenient, when it works, if you're running a snake anyways, I would recommend using the right tool for the job. Some cat 5 cable is more rugged and coils better than other types, but I haven't personally had any trouble with standard cable.

I would look closely at the type of Cat5e/6 cable.  Install cable with thin PVC jacket and solid core wires doesn't hold up well.  Cheap 'tactical' cables aren't much better (Elite Core Audio).  True rubberized cables that are made for this, such as from ProCo, Whirlwind (Belden), TMB, and a few others - are roughly on par with standard, great quality microphone cables.
Title: Re: Ethernet over XLR
Post by: Bob Faulkner on July 02, 2019, 09:23:43 am
You'll spend more $ for the convenience.

CAT5 is throw-away/recycle.  I've had a piece of generic, non-plenum rated on a drive snake that gets deployed 80 times a year, by stage hands (meaning it's not treated kindly) for 5 years.  It's now due for replacement.  I think we paid 11 cents a foot for the cable and I crimped on 2 RJ45 for about 50 cents.  It's a 250ft snake...

If you're running 250 ft or less, an extra 5 ft at the console end isn't a problem.  If you have a genuine problem dealing with the extra run-off on the stage end, cut it off there, terminate it with an RJ45, use a coupler and another CAT5 cord to reach the amp rack.

Maybe it's my age but I don't understand why folks seem to hate the very thing that makes all our stuff work:  copper.
Sometimes I'm willing to pay for convenience!

I'm a small shop and may have 2 (at least 1) other person working an event.  Anything I can do to increase the efficiency of us setting up (and running) a system is always "in front".  If I had a few more people (that I can count on) that will work shows, I probably would look at looming a CAT cable to the snake... and leave it with them to work on termination of both ends.  The lack of labor is what drives much of my decisions... unfortunately.

Title: Re: Ethernet over XLR
Post by: Tim McCulloch on July 02, 2019, 09:42:38 am
Sometimes I'm willing to pay for convenience!

I'm a small shop and may have 2 (at least 1) other person working an event.  Anything I can do to increase the efficiency of us setting up (and running) a system is always "in front".  If I had a few more people (that I can count on) that will work shows, I probably would look at looming a CAT cable to the snake... and leave it with them to work on termination of both ends.  The lack of labor is what drives much of my decisions... unfortunately.

If the CAT is loomed to the snake there is ZERO difference in time.  You'd still have to plug in your wireless system (or at least take it out of what it travels in, etc).  I see neither time nor labor savings.  In fact I think the wired solution is faster and less prone to random failure.

Edit PS - plugging in the CAT cable takes far less time (a few seconds) than setting up my laptop.
Title: Re: Ethernet over XLR
Post by: Rob Spence on July 02, 2019, 11:23:55 pm
If the CAT is loomed to the snake there is ZERO difference in time.  You'd still have to plug in your wireless system (or at least take it out of what it travels in, etc).  I see neither time nor labor savings.  In fact I think the wired solution is faster and less prone to random failure.

Edit PS - plugging in the CAT cable takes far less time (a few seconds) than setting up my laptop.

I agree. I have a 100í TMB Proplex I bought from Mike Pyle. It has EtherCon ends and after a few uses the stiffness worked out of it.
I bought protective covers from Audiopile.net to keep the ends clean. If I ran analog snakes still, I would happily add this to the snake.

Bottom line is that WiFi is simply not reliable. What works at sound check will often not work after doors open (without spending lots of money).

I ALWAYS have a mixer with real faders and use a tablet to tune the mix. If it fails, I can still do the show.
Title: Re: Ethernet over XLR
Post by: Bob Faulkner on July 03, 2019, 10:41:37 am
If the CAT is loomed to the snake there is ZERO difference in time.  You'd still have to plug in your wireless system (or at least take it out of what it travels in, etc).  I see neither time nor labor savings.  In fact I think the wired solution is faster and less prone to random failure.

Edit PS - plugging in the CAT cable takes far less time (a few seconds) than setting up my laptop.
I'm getting the feeling wired is the way to go.

How are you attaching the CAT cable to the snake?  Wrapping it around the snake (i.e. twisted pair), or keeping it straight using something like velcro straps every 5' to secure?
Title: Re: Ethernet over XLR
Post by: Tim McCulloch on July 03, 2019, 12:13:09 pm
I'm getting the feeling wired is the way to go.

How are you attaching the CAT cable to the snake?  Wrapping it around the snake (i.e. twisted pair), or keeping it straight using something like velcro straps every 5' to secure?

Scotch 88 vinyl tape about 4ft apart.  We end up re-taping all our looms every couple of years as part of our winter maintenance program.

The application I mentioned earlier has had at least 5 years of setups and take downs, all by stage hands.  Even though I have a couple of cracks in the outer jacket (I can see the twisted pairs) it still functions for 18 amps and processors on the network.  It's being replaced by Rapco DuraCat at some point soon because it wont work forever.  For the <$50 we have invested it's been perfect so far.

The trick to saving time as a one-person operating is *packaging* your gear so you can safely handle either the weight or bulk, and keeping things used together, together in the packaging.  My current back pain is testimony that I didn't do that right 35 years ago...
Title: Re: Ethernet over XLR
Post by: Mac Kerr on July 03, 2019, 01:34:04 pm
I'm getting the feeling wired is the way to go.

How are you attaching the CAT cable to the snake?  Wrapping it around the snake (i.e. twisted pair), or keeping it straight using something like velcro straps every 5' to secure?

Straight with etape or friction tape every 3'.

Mac
Title: Re: Ethernet over XLR
Post by: Chris Hindle on July 03, 2019, 03:42:44 pm
Straight with etape or friction tape every 3'.

Mac
Don't even THINK of using Tie Wraps...... :'(
Chris.
Title: Re: Ethernet over XLR
Post by: Pete Erskine on July 03, 2019, 04:40:26 pm
Meant for telephone wire, probably means twisted but I have used it with quad telco cable and regular xlr.
Gives you 2 Ethernet paths.  Discontinued but several on ebay.
good for 500 meters
comes in pairs - use 1 at each end

specs for similar:
https://www.manualslib.com/manual/842579/Netsys-Nh-300sp.html?page=22#manual