Audio Over IP - DANTE

What is audio over IP (AoIP)? The simple technical answer is that it is the use of computer networks to transport audio and video between devices, replacing legacy technologies such as analog, AES/EBU, and others.

What is Dante?

Dante is a powerful technology that allows many channels of audio to be transmitted and received over a single Ethernet cable without the complexities and limitations of earlier solutions. Dante’s low latency and tight play-out synchronisation meets the most demanding of professional audio and installed sound requirements using off-the-shelf IT equipment. It is easy to set-up configure and manage because Dante-enabled devices discover one another over the network and learn each other’s capabilities (number of input and output channels, sample rates and bit depths supported etc.) Dante devices and channels can be given “friendly” names meaning audio can be routed without having to use or remember magic numbers.

Why Use Audio over IP Over Traditional Audio Distribution?

According to Josh Rush, vice president of marketing for Audinate, Portland, Ore., one benefit of IP audio is the dramatic reduction in cabling and labor costs.

“What once took weeks now takes hours,” Rush said. “Also, there’s the ability to route and reroute audio streams with software, rather than running new cables. Finally, high-quality, multichannel audio can be delivered over long distances with near-zero latency and no signal degradation.”

While audio over IP has been more widely used in installations such as stadiums, convention centers and universities, there is now strong adoption in smaller specifications such as K–12 schools, houses of worship and residential.

Legacy installations will be a big category for contractors with edge devices helping to network much of the existing hardware in place, Rush said.

“True IP audio can run on the network with common, off-the-shelf equipment,” he said. “This is a huge benefit for both the installer and customer, as they can route audio over existing cabling and switches from their data network; or if one doesn’t exist, they can buy off-the-shelf, standard equipment.”

Being able to leverage the current cabling infrastructure is a sound strategy for contractors. ECs will be able to achieve installation and cost savings for customers who want the power of the network but may not have the budget for a total rip and replace.