Dante stands for “Digital Audio Network Through Ethernet” and describes a combination of software, hardware and network protocols designed by Audinate in Australia. Dante is currently the most popular system for transmitting digital audio signals over Ethernet and was firstly introduced in 2006. It is based on a licensing model that many manufacturers have participated in lately. Cat.5e or Cat6 cables are used to transmit audio over distances up to 100 m. Distance of 2 km or even 70km are possible, when using multi-mode or / and single mode cables. The maximum number of channels per connection are 1024, the maximum sampling rate ist 192 kHz, the maximum bit-depth is 32 bits. Different bit-depths can communicate with each other, but different samplingrates can’t. Within Dante, the channels are organized in so-called “flows”, which consist of up to four channels in unicast mode. Unicast means, that for every connection between two devices a flow has to be provided. The maximum capacity of the network can be described with the number of possible flows, since the number of transmissionable channels relies on the number of the devices which are connected to the network. A multicast mode is possible, but contaminates the network. PTP (Precision Time Protocol) is used for synchronization, which itself uses UDP as the protocol for Layer 4. The advantages of Dante are: very low latency of 0,15 ms using Dante-PCI-cards. This makes Dante an attractive solution for live audio. Also, Dante audio networks can co-exist in mixed networks. A QoS (Quality of Service) is provided via DiffServ. Through skilled wiring of the network, redundancies during transmissions are possible, providing reliability to some extend. In the installation- and live-audio-businesses, Dante can already be considered the most important standard. In the recording / pro audio scene, it is on the rise.

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