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16-Aug-2022 Dante Recommendations

Network Equipment for Dante Applications

Over the years people have asked us if there were specific makes or models of networking equipment that we could recommend. Their goal was to optimize their network deployment to function well with our Dante®-enabled products. Our standard reply has always been that any Ethernet networking equipment that complies with the relevant IEEE® standards should work acceptably. We were hesitant to recommend any specific equipment as there were many fine brands of equipment that could meet the requirements. Prices for acceptable equipment ranged from very modest for “consumer-grade” units to big bucks for “carrier grade” equipment.

Some consumer-grade unmanaged Ethernet switches seem to perform very well in Dante applications. These have traditionally been from brands such as D-Link, Linksys, TP-Link, TRENDnet, and NETGEAR. However, recently there seems to be a proliferation of “generic” networking equipment coming onto the market. The prices are amazing low but their performance has not been confirmed and is doubtful it will ever be consistent.

Other mid-priced managed Ethernet switches, when correctly configured, can provide excellent performance. Equipment from Brocade, Cisco, Dell, Extreme Networks, and Hewlett Packard is often utilized.

On the higher-end there are sophisticated products intended for data center applications from firms such as Arista Networks, Cisco, Dell EMC, Extreme Switching, FS, HPE, Huawei, Juniper Networks, Mellanox, and QCT. These typically require extensive configuration to provide optimal performance for an application.

There is, of course, lots of “crossover” between brands and technical performance that can be provided. The manufacturers mentioned above are just examples and the compilation is far from complete and certainly not exhaustive in what segments are supported. Please do your own research to find what exact equipment is correct for your application.

With that said, Studio Technologies is intrigued by NETGEAR’s ProAV solutions. Offered by a company that we always considered to be “solid,” their ProAV line includes Ethernet switches, access points, and related equipment that are directly intended for professional audio and video applications. For example, the M4250-series of managed switches include pre-configured profiles for directly supporting Dante applications. We recommend that these offerings be “checked out” as they might be very good for some applications. The price points seem to be in the middle, certainly not “low-end” but reasonable for serious applications such as education or business campuses. These products seem to have strong potential for use in Dante and related applications and are certainly worth reviewing in detail.

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