Recommended network configuration

ENTTEC recommends devices are configured with a Static IP and DHCP disabled for long-term installations. This ensures the unit continues to receive commands from devices unicasting to it. If DHCP is used, there is a chance the device’s IP address can change following its DHCP lease renewing following a power cycle.

With all devices on your network set to Static IP addresses in the same range, this allows for more predictable management of devices within the installation.

It is strongly advised that a ‘show network’ should not be directly connected to the internet or made to be part of a VPN without a sufficient firewall in place.

A common method to manage the show and other connected devices in the network remotely is to use a ‘Management PC’ with two network adapters. One to remote into the PC using the internet, and the second without an internet connection to show critical data.

  • If using DHCP as your IP addressing method, ENTTEC recommends using the sACN protocol or Art-Net Broadcast. This will ensure that your device continues to receive data if the DHCP server changes its IP address.
  • ENTTEC does not recommend unicasting data to a device with its IP address set through the DHCP server on long-term installations.

 

Recommended network distribution equipment

We recommend that all network hardware used with ENTTEC devices has a minimum of 100baseT network speed (10/100).

For the most reliable performance, your installation should be on a separate network or V-LAN or from all other non-Lighting related devices. This will ensure bandwidth usage is minimised and the network traffic is predictable.

DHCP

The default network configuration for ENTTEC devices is to have DHCP enabled. If using a router, you will need to ensure that DHCP is enabled.

If you wish to run your network with all devices statically addressed (by disabling DHCP on the ENTTEC Device), we recommend disable the DHCP option on your router.

WiFi

When transmitting large amounts of data over a network with protocols such as Art-Net and sACN, a wired solution will always be more stable than a wireless one.

If you decide to use a wireless router, we recommend that you purchase a Router with a Wireless Frequency of 5.2ghz if you plan to be close to the router or if the set-up is in a congested area. 5.2ghz provides a much wider network bandwidth but is limited in wireless signal range when compared to a router

A wireless frequency of 2.4ghz is more common in routers, and the Wi-Fi range is further; however, the network speeds are typically slower.

PoE

If you want to use PoE on your installation, you will need network hardware that conforms to the IEEE 802.3af PoE standard. If you wish to use PoE devices and do not have PoE network hardware, you can use a PoE injector to power your ENTTEC PoE device.


Troubleshooting

  • Broadcast storm control is a feature of many managed switches (for example, Netgear M4300) in which the switch intentionally ceases to forward all broadcast traffic if the bandwidth consumed by incoming broadcast frames exceeds a designated threshold. This is something that can be disabled within the switch, as it can cause latency issues. 
  • Realtime Internet Scanning feature in security software such as Sophos Endpoint appears to block the request for data, causing a webpage not to load fully, or fields not to populate


Recommended Bandwidth

When using Art-Net and sACN, it's essential to ensure that your network infrastructure has enough capacity to handle the amount of bandwidth your project requires alongside any additional headroom. Too little bandwidth will lead to dropped frames and potentially jerky-looking fades or movement. It’s always better to air on the side of caution and build headroom to your network infrastructure than try and take your network to the absolute limit.

Every network has slight variation based on the infrastructure used, and it’s always wise to factor in overhead.

At ENTTEC, we have carried out tests with each protocol set to its most intensive settings to determine the bandwidth required when sending multiple sACN or Art-Net streams at various frame rates over a wired network. We have derived a network bandwidth calculator by determining the network bandwidth needed for each element of your network to make specification simpler.

Please download the calculator below to determine the bandwidth.

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Our Testing Setup

The test setup consisted of a Straight Ethernet (CAT5e) cable between the computer running ELM and a single gigabit endpoint with no network switch or other network hardware between each.

  • No DHCP
  • Fully wired Network
  • Point to point

CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-8265U CPU @ 1.60GHz (with SSE4.2)

GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 with Max-Q Design

RAM: 8GB DDR4

OS: 64-bit Windows 10 (2009), build 19043

Art-Net / sACN Source Application:

Application name: ENTTEC LED MAPPER (ELM)

Application version: v570 (64-bit)

Artsync: ON

sACN Sync: ON

Optimise frames: OFF (for maximum Bandwidth)

Type: Broadcast

Network Capture Software

Application: Dumpcap (Wireshark) 3.4.8 (v3.4.8-0-g3e1ffae201b8)

Background Activity

With no output of Art-Net or sACN from ELM, small communication between the computer and device. This registered as 100-500 Bit/s, with peaks increased slightly on device connection/power-up. This is expected to proportionately scale with each device added to the network.

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Test Results

1, 2, 4, 8, 40, 80, and 400 universes at various frame rates were recorded.


The results were observed to be close to linear with the following bandwidths recorded. Key values to note were as follows:

  • Art-Net - ~0.31 Megabits/s per universe at 60FPS
  • sACN - ~ 0.39 Megabits/s per universe at 60FPS

All results have been compiled and used to inform all options selectable within the bandwidth calculator.

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This article should be used as a guide only - ENTTEC always recommends factoring in overhead for device updates and future expansion of your project. If you can test using your infrastructure, we recommend you do so. If unsure, get in touch with the ENTTEC team.