3 Things You Need to Know About Network Switches

SwitchPlateYou’re about to embark on a social experiment.

You’ve selected the perfect control surfaces and the audio network is almost laid out for your new studios. Everyone and everything speaks broadcast and, so far, you haven’t had to take up IT as a second language. But now you’re about to drop a couple of network switches into the middle of it all and you’re worried that things could erupt into a civil war between this newer IT world and the radio cavalry.

Relax. You’ll be glad to know that our engineers have already done the testing and vetting for you. Here are three important characteristics they look for in a network switch.

  1. Fully managed. We use managed switches rather than unmanaged switches for WheatNet-IP audio networks because this type of switch allows us to configure the switch to operate most efficiently in IP audio networks. Management also allows us to control and monitor the switch during operation; for example, we can directly gauge switch bandwidth usage.
  2. Robust IGMP (Multicast) Capability. Switches with good, complete IGMP implementations allow a large number of multicast streams to pass unhindered through the network. They also allow us to keep track of streams in use, and prune those which are no longer needed.
  3. Fast. Switches in IP audio networks control a large amount of traffic. This requires fast, high-capacity switching fabric inside the switch, as well as gigabit connectivity. This combination results in near-zero delay, reliability, and a whole lot more.

Wheatstone engineers perform testing in order to develop a list of switches known to be suitable for the WheatNet-IP audio network. Your Wheatstone sales engineer can help you in selecting and obtaining these switches. We recommend that you install dedicated switches for your audio network; never share switches with the office LAN. You can always install separate NIC cards in workstations or servers -- one for the enterprise LAN and another for the audio network – to provide access to both networks.

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