Free Custom «Networked Audio Protocols over Ethernet» Sample Essay

«Networked Audio Protocols over Ethernet»


In the modern business world, success is paramount to access and management of information. Reliable as well as efficient business information has been observed as gaining a competitive advantage by various contenders. In achieving that goal, the internet has become a vital part of communication or relay of information. The internet is the interconnectivity of a number of computer devices to a network that uses a standard protocol suit. The topology, in turn, is the design to which a local area network or any other Communication Network is arranged. Thus, internet topology is the structure of interconnectivity of the computer devices involved. That means it makes a pictorial configuration or display of a network arrangement concerning connecting lines as well as nodes. Ethernet is a computerized networking technology that is established for local area networks (LANs) as well as Metropolitan Area Networks. The net involves a number of protocols that remain necessary for audio transfers on different platforms (Bakker, 2008). There are a number of protocols, including Dante, EtherSound, CobraNet, A-Net, AudioRail, Livewire, and RockNet. Each of these protocols distributes networked audios as described below.


Dante is an amalgamation of hardware, software as well as network protocols that are known to deliver multi-channel, low latency and uncompressed digital audios over an ordinary Ethernet Network. Its development was in the year 2006 and brings about improved audios over what used to be done previously on Ethernet earlier technologies such as EtherSound and CobraNet. At its inception, it was designed with one-millisecond latency and up to 24-bit and 96-kHz audio. The development of Dante had both commercial as well as professional applications.

Dante brings about significant improvements to install sound, professional audio products, as well as a live sound from various types and categories. Further, its ability to solve problems experienced in Ethernet is of outstanding performance, unprecedented usability, and superior flexibility. Again, it carries media data in a standard User Datagram Protocol (UDP), thus appearing to both Ethernet and IP router like other standard complainant data. Furthermore, it has become the first to offer a solution that fully leveraged the performance as well as the price benefits of 100 Mbps and 1 Gbps changed networks.

Moreover, Dante has been known to have the ability to deliver high-bandwidth as well as digital media streams that remain uncompressed in present networks that persistently carry Transmission Control Protocol such as Email and internet browsing. Other core technological advancement includes its high capacity to penetrate network routers, automatic configuration, high channel count in comparison with others, and its support for native gigabit.


The protocol’s manufacturer is Gigagram. It has an ability to make way for close to 64 audio channels through a bi-directional mode of the Ethernet network and at a low latency. The type of protocol design may occur through a daisy chain topology by presenting routing bus type of audio channels for both upstream and downstream. With such technological advancement, there are limited redundancy options and its connectivity is to be preconfigured (Riley & Breyer, 1999).

Besides, other EtherSound compatible systems types such as ES-100 may be designed via the use of redundant ring topology. The developer of protocol intentions is such that it must conform to the IEEE 802.3 requirements. The development of EtherSound has seen it represented as ES-100 used on Ethernet network of 100 Megabit and ES-Giga that is used on devoted Ethernet Gigabit. However, the two are incompatible with each other. Despite being compliant with the 802.3 standards, the manner in which it transports audio information has disallowed the use of its features to any network topology point.

Moreover, the protocol has a low latency that is capable of delivering close to 64 channels of 24-bit and 48 kHz audio data. That is possible with a latency level of only 125 microseconds. The latency present for EtherSound is stable as well as deterministic. At present, the world has over 10,000 nodes associated with the protocol and the number of manufacturers using such a format has grown to 30 for about 100 products. Today, EhtherSound is being used in OB vans, live sound and touring systems, as well as broadcasting installations. It has an ability to transport audios of very high quality with a sampling frequency of 192-kHz and a 24-bit resolution (Spurgeon, 2000). Its low latency has made it more attractive to users. ES Control is software that can be put to use to offer managing assistance to various manufacturer products in a particular system.


Developed in the 1990s, CobraNet was considered to be the first commercially successful audio implementation over the Ethernet platform. Its design and primary use were for big commercial sound installations like airports, convention centers, concert halls, and stadiums. CobraNet does as well have a very low latency and high quality. CobraNet helped in shaping for future system changes due to its flexibility. For example, audio routing changes on the fly with commands with no rewiring at all.

The technology has widely received commendations as the one that makes reduction to the routing hassles of multiple noise-free channels, as well as costs via a single Ethernet network. More CobraNet benefits include the ease of sending about 64 channels through a CAT-5 single cable as an alternative to operating a number of analog lines that remain dedicated. Besides, it prevents sound degradation due to its use of uncompressed digital signals and, finally, it is simple to manage as well as effect changes where need arises.

Due to its use of standard Ethernet tools, using CobraNet has made it simple to make an addition or do a layout audio reconfiguring. That can be done through plugging in of new components and later reconstructing via the administrator interface. CobraNet has positioned itself as the de-facto standard in the field of audio networking and has over 1,000,000 uncompressed channels with low latency and real time proficient grade, owing to its long use in history. That has led to over 50 manufacturers to engage in the development of CobraNet-based products. Such products include amplifiers, DSP processing units, mixing consoles, and powered speakers among others. Presently, CobraNet supports 32 by 32 bi-directional channels above Fast Ethernet with latency of 1.33/2.66/5.33 mS (Gross, 2006).

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A-Net uses similar Cat-5e cables as does the Ethernet-based protocol while ensuring audio transmission. That it has approached in a determinable manner. At its inception, A-Net was intended for the purpose of carrying audio that was not grafted in an already existing protocol. The design was to fit generalized network traffic. A-Net is constructed on the physical Ethernet layer. However, it strips out all management data layers that are added over, as well as make introduction of timing stability.

A-Net makes use of devices in merger hubs rather than switches as is the case with some of the other interfaces. Using such combination hubs will further lead to existence of parallel topologies in networks. A-Net cable has an extension of about 150m/ 500 feet on Cat-5e. Each of the A-net devices makes a refreshment of the signal for an extra 150m. The difference is considered to be vital at the times when one seeks to connect locations that are farther apart such as in a live venue or a studio. In terms of clocking options, A-net seems to be more flexible in comparison to variants that are Ethernet based.

Any device that appears on network is considered to be an external master clock. A 64 A-Net system may operate smoothly in conjunction with other digital devices present. Despite the fact that, traditionally, components that are digital facilitate house stock, they have applied major applications such as synchronizing. Customarily, digital components have been using exact sample rates in building an interconnected device. Unfortunately, no Ethernet-based system has been able to achieve that, thus giving advantage to A-Net (Riley & Breyer, 1999). Support rate samples that are variable permit the A-net network to make sync to clock source whereby the sample rate is not necessarily the nominal value.

Audio Rail

The first production of audio rail was in 2004 though it has been discontinued since then. The technology was designed and developed with projected chains of digital audios commonly referred to as snake products. It was patented and created from the scratch rather than being an upgrade of an earlier technology. Its only product to go to market became ADAT rx32tx32 with the first distribution done in 2004 (AudioRail Technologies, 2004). The technology mode of transportation was the Ethernet Physical Layer, while its mixed use networking was Fiber or the Cat5. The control communication was proprietary and had a zero fault tolerance. Further, it had a capacity of 32 channels with a low literacy level of about 0.25 μs as well as an infinite diameter of operation (Bouillot et al., 2009).


Livewire is an interface developed by Axia Audio. Its introduction was in the year 3003 and it is mainly applicable for radio station applications. Livewire systems can carry audio over a similar network as those applied by the internet protocol. Livewire makes provisions that are to any point routing of audio, use of sources that are multi cast, as well as destinations of uncompressed AAC and PCM. Unlike other systems, the audio does not have to be handled in a separate manner. That can therefore be achieved via the use of a number of quality service tools for the purpose of network management and the existing protocol.

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For livewire, a number of services could be put in place and network configuration is commenced to be in any format that may be put into use for ordinary data networks. For livewire transmissions, audio is performed by the use of standard Ethernet conductor cables that are smaller than the XLR interconnects. The products are available only from the Axia Audio. It is primarily used in the broadcast studio services. The current manufacturer of the Livewire interface is Telos Systems.


The manufacturer of RockNet is Riedel and it produces exclusively live sounds and most of its products are available only from the media houses. RockNet is a low tenancy sound distribution network customized to tour as well as makes use of newly installed audio applications. The interface has provided a global solution to almost all conceivable audio distribution difficulties. It is thought to have such operations as those that are analog with an active opening system.

It has 160 24 -bit and 48 kHz channels that counter rotate on a single CAT-5 cable. The RockNet products are usually designed for heavy duty. Features of RockNet include 160 worth of channels (300) and 80 Channels (100). Besides, it has a CAT -5 network interface that is generally redundant. There are up to 99 devices in a single network. Additionally, it has a front panel operation, remote control, and the status indicator, which are made of LEDs.

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Internet Topology

Internet topology is the structure where a network has been created. There are several topologies, which depend on the nature of connection that would either use hardware or software mechanisms. The three main internet topologies include Daisy chain, Daisy Ring, and the Star Network. Each of them has a different structure with a range of advantages as well as disadvantages. For instance, while a Daisy chain may involve connection of devices where there is a beginning and ending computer, it is different for the other two. The Daisy Ring has neither the beginning nor the end. All devices are connected in a circular manner, while the Star Network has all devices connected from one central point.

Daisy Chain

A daisy chain is a wiring system whereby multiple devices can be wired together. This can be in either a sequence or a ring. Daisy chains are used for analog signals, digital data, power, or a combination of all of them. The term can be used in reference to large scale devices that are in a series of connections such as power strips plugged together. Some common devices that use this form of connectivity are USB and Ethernet cables. Ethernet technology is built on daisy chain or daisy ring topology. However, audios are transferred through Ethernet standard, thus creating a possibility of having complex topologies that uses Ethernet switches.

For a linear bus topology, there is one common medium of transmission to which the nodes of the network have been attached. Information transmitted through the medium reaches nodes simultaneously for its output. However, a terminator ought to be attached at the end of the bus to avoid echoes when the electrical signal hits the end. In turn, a ring may not have that problem. That is because the data here move in a circular form and there are no sharp ends. Further, all nodes are treated as a server in a daisy ring, which is not the case in regard to the chain or bus.

An EtherSound-100 ring topology is considered as one of the simplest redundant topologies. An advantage of such a ring connection is the fact that is has no need for switches and is as well easier to set up. The connection is from one device to the next where the interface is positioned as “IN” and “OUT”. Every device becomes a part of the ring and it is still possible for the Ethernet to work should one of them be unplug. That is because the system automatically reverts to the daisy chain system.

A similar redundancy to that of STP protocol is present for the ES100. At a preferred primary master (PPM), an “IN” interface is blocked in case of a ring connection. In case one of the computer devices fails, the PPM automatically unblocks, ensuring that connection of the devices still continues. Using Trunked daisy chain topology would require use of layer 2 switches of the Ethernet. The possibility of using ES protocol for only compatible devices in the topology can be realized.

Generally, it is hard to configure switches to ensure that they perform properly with available ES devices. For the 100Mbs, use of switches may lead to connectivity problems. According to the EtherSound protocol, 100Mbs bandwidth is necessary in such situation. Further, an EtherSound permits channel dropping as well as addition at the points of each node in the length of the chain or the ring. Despite the fact that the number of channels between the two given points is always limited to 512, the number can be altered to make it higher depending on routing necessities. For a data chain, a connection is end-to-end and it is easy to set it up and wire due to the fact that separate network requirements are not required.

Nevertheless, it is crucial to note that in a situation when one device experiences a failure; there is the risk of leading to a split and hence creating two separate networks. In general, the possibility of having daisy chain modules together is prevalent for an EtherSound. That can be used while intending to set up a star configuration or make use of the matrices in setting up redundant architectures. An EtherSound connection always allows most of its connections to be done via the daisy chain. The connection is done with devices that can make a reading or writing of audio channels in a bidirectional DataStream containing a fixed bandwidth of close to 64 channels for both directions.

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A ring network is a computer connection system where all devices are connected in a circular manner. The data are passed from one particular device to another. The circular arrangement does not create an opportunity for the transmission line through which nodes are attached to remain hanging. The nature of connectivity here is such that the “OUT” of a cable from one device becomes the “IN” cable of the other one.

The last computer for this particular series has a cable move from it back to the first computer. The network system in that case is such that there is no one device that can be singlehandedly by the server. By connecting all devices together on an equal platform, it automatically means that all computers will have to play the role of the server and no one can take control of them. The data from a sender pass from one computer to another until it gets to the intended destination.

Ring networks have a number of advantages. Firstly, transmission data are considered to be simplified as they only move in one direction. That could help in getting any type of data disseminated in one common direction. Secondly, it is extremely hard to have data collision or mix-up and, thus, relevance of the information as well as accuracy is required.  The other advantage is the ability to attach extra computers to the transmission line. Since it uses point-to-point configurations, it has become increasingly easy for faults to be identified and isolated.


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A central node is of no importance to manage connectivity of devices as each of them acts as its own server. Importantly, the network is orderly. Despite those advantages, there are as well disadvantages associated with Ring Network.

The first one is the fact that one faulty device can lead to a catastrophe for the entire process. It has difficulties in configuration as compared to the star network. The bandwidth for the entire stem is shared for every attached device. Again, there are a number of communication delays occasioned by an increased number of nodes. Further, movement, addition, as well as changing of devices will negatively impact the networks (Bellis, n.d.).



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