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Audinate Dante Domain Manager: 44 Questions You Probably Have (and Their Answers)

Audinate provides clear answers to 44 questions about Dante Domain Manager submitted during a recent Commercial Integrator webcast.

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Audinate Dante Domain Manager: 44 Questions You Probably Have (and Their Answers)

Audinate's Dante Domain Manager

Since it was introduced in early 2017, Audinate’s Dante Domain Manager has garnered interest from technology professionals looking to bring enterprise-grade IT network management mindset and standards to AV.

 Of course, customers have a lot of questions about Dante Domain Manager.

That was evident during a recent webcast hosted by Commercial Integrator and sponsored by Audinate and Bose Professional — How to Leverage Dante for Streamlining Installs in Today’s Conferencing Environments (view it here). There wasn’t enough time during the live event panelist Brad Price, senior product manager for Audinate, to answer the several dozen questions submitted by audience members.

So we selected some of the most revealing (or, in some cases, just interesting) questions and asked Price to provide answers.

To be clear, these aren’t derived from an Audinate FAQ section. These are actual questions submitted by actual integrators and technology managers during a CI webinar.

That being said, here are 44 questions about Dante Domain Manager that you’d probably like to ask and their answers, courtesy of Audinate’s Brad Price:

Does Dante Domain Manager use Active Directory?

Answer: Dante Domain Manager does not require Active Directory, but can integrate with AD (or other LDAP directory systems) if desired.

Is Dante Domain Manager like an SNMP service?

Answer: Dante Domain Manager provides optional integration with existing SNMP systems so that DDM generated alerts can be viewed in a NMS console. Dante Domain Manager enforces and allows security, visibility and accountability while flexibly managing complex multi-subnet clocking domains for audio networks.

Will Dante Domain come out with a native Mac OS version?

Answer: Dante Domain Manager is packaged as a complete virtual appliance.  It is easily supported with common software for virtual machines such as VMWare ESXi, VMWare Workstation/Fusion and Virtual Box. This allows Dante Domain Manager to run on any host platform, such as Mac OS or Windows.

Does Dante work on a network having multiple network switches and routers employing different subnet masks?

Answer: Without Audinate Dante software, Dante audio networks are scoped to a single LAN (subnet) with any number of switches. With Dante Domain Manager, Dante audio networks may expand to be used across routed networks encompassing multiple LANs.

Is Dante Domain Manager a server which needs a PC on the network?

Answer: Yes. Dante Domain Manager is a server-type application that requires a computer to run continuously on site.

What can I do leverage my knowledge of Dante into a real work situation?

Answer: We recommend that you start with the Dante Certification Program, available here. [https://www.audinate.com/resources/training-and-tutorials/dante-certification-training]

How does someone who has worked in theatre and musicals make a move over towards networking and integration?

Answer: We recommend that all interested users start with the Dante Certification Program, available here. There is an abundance of general network training available, and we do proffer any specific recommendations. Bear in mind that the scope of networking knowledge used in AV is only a subset of the larger issues with which network engineers and IT managers must engage.

What ports need to be open for DDM to work if my IT department restricts them?

Answer: Technical information on the network considerations for DDM is available here.

Can I straight wire the second Dante port between two Dante devices?

Answer: Dante devices with two ports can be in different configurations, depending upon settings and the manufacturer. The normal configuration is “Redundant,” in which the secondary port is used to connect to a secondary “backup” network.

In this configuration, you must NOT mix the primary and secondary networks, and CANNOT daisy-chain devices. The other possible configuration is “switched.” When this setting is used, you may daisy-chain Dante devices. To adjust these settings, use Dante Controller.

Does the server hosting Dante manager have to be local? is there a cloud-service for hosting the software?

Answer: At this time, instances of Dante Domain Manager must be local.

Can AEC be used with Dante?  

Answer: AEC is handled by a DSP and is independent of Dante, which acts as transport.

How does Donte Domain Manger get audio across subnets?

Answer: Dante Domain Manager does not pass audio itself, but sets up clock synchronization across subnets. Unicast traffic is used to traverse between subnets, and a mix of unicast and multicast traffic is used within subnets.

Will the Dante Domain Manager manage bandwidth allocation within larger shared IP network?

Answer: Dante Domain Manager does not manage bandwidth allocation, but there are many general network tools to help you visualize and manage bandwidth in heavily trafficked networks.

What kind of security does Dante Domain Manager provide against network attacks?

Answer: Audinate Dante Domain Manager provides security for all aspects of control of a Dante audio network. With Dante Domain Manager, all control traffic is encrypted and all devices are bound to a specific instance of the server, which prevents the hijacking or unauthorized use of the system.

The primary vector of security is user authentication, which ties all Dante control actions to specific users.

Dante Domain Manager (DDM) is designed and constructed with a defense-in-depth approach:

  • DDM is running only the services required for it to perform its intended functions
  • Those services have been configured with security as a priority
  • DDM has only the minimum required network services open to the network
  • Once configured, access, authentication and management is via encrypted HTTPS only

What are the minimum requirements of a client’s network in order for Dante domain manager and Dante audio flows to work properly (e.g. types of switches, restricted data flow)?

Answer: Dante Domain Manager will work on any network where you have Dante working well.

We recommend high-quality managed switches for most installations but Dante will work with most quality switches. Depending on your needs, 100Mbps switches might be sufficient but Gigabit connectivity is recommended for anything more than a few channels of audio. The precise amount of bandwidth required is a function of channels in use between specific devices, multicast groupings, and more.

As a rule of thumb, 4 channels =  6Mbps; 64 channels = 100Mbps @ 48kHz sample rate.*

Can Dante Domain Manager co-live with another IT network management system?

Answer: Yes

Would Audinate Dante Domain Manager be useful in a live events format?

Answer: Dante Domain Manager is useful anywhere that requires:

  1. A defined set of exclusive authorized users
  2. Audio across multiple subnets (e.g., large networks)
  3. A need to manage devices without constraints of the network topology
  4. Alerting and audit logging

Would Dante Domain Manager be useful in an emergency operations center?

Answer: Certainly. Dante Domain Manager provides protection against tampering, and allows the Dante network to scale to a far large size across multiple subnets.

Will Dante move toward doing AVB bridging in the future like other manufacturers?

Answer: We have no plans to add AVB to Dante products at this time. We are supporting AES67 as a means of interoperating with non-Dante systems.

Does Active Director integration equal Single Sign On when it comes to Dante Domain Manager?

Answer: When Active Directory (or other LDAP) is used, a user may employ the same credentials for both general account and computer access, as well as Dante Controller.  However, these credentials will need to be entered for each interface.

Should Dante VLAN be explicitly used if a Crestron System is used with a Cisco SG300 series?

Answer: A VLAN is not necessary. Dante runs alongside any other network data.

Can a standard access control credential be used for login access?

Answer: The only types of access supported at this time are locally created Dante Domain Manager accounts and Active Directory or LDAP usernames/passwords.

How does Dante Domain Manager handle multicast devices that are connected to the same corporate network as the soft codec?

Answer: Dante Domain Manager only manages connections between Dante devices.

 A soft codec can be represented at this level as channels of audio coming from a PC/Mac that is also running Dante software, such as Dante Virtual Soundcard or Dante Via. These software instances can be joined to a Dante domain in the same manner as a hardware device. Multicast is not necessarily used for audio in this environment.

If Dante Doman Manager goes down, does it prevent you from making changes to the audio routing, since Dante Controller can’t authenticate?

Answer: Yes. On a Dante Domain Manager network a failure of DDM will result in no change of audio routing, but will prevent copies of Dante Controller from making changes, as there is no server against which to authenticate. A “high availability” option is available for the Platinum edition of DDM. This option allows for a second, synchronized instance of DDM to take over DDM functions if the primary server goes offline.

What’s the discovery-protocol for the Dante device discovery?

Answer: Dante uses its own discovery method, based upon mDNS.

Can Dante Domain Manger be deployed across different LANs (VLANs, etc.)?

Answer: Yes. As long as all LANs are routed and thus accessible, Dante Domain Manager can operate across all of them.

What browser is supported by the browser-based GUI?

Answer: Dante Domain Manager works with any of the popular current browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Edge.

Are you addressing the issue of not being able to have a redundant network in large existing enterprise networks like incorporating for example RSTP topology?

Answer: Glitch-less Dante redundancy nominally requires the use of two parallel networks. In enterprise environments, you may use IT techniques such as Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol (RSTP) to route audio over alternate paths in the event of a link or switch failure. Note that in the latter case, the transition will result in a short interruption in audio while the spanning tree reconfigures.

Dante Domain Manager seems to be the perfect tool for convergence in AV network, but is it possible to manage bandwidths?

Answer: Dante Domain Manager does not monitor network bandwidth usage. Fortunately, with gigabit networks there is generally overcapacity of bandwidth. Lighting protocols use very, very little traffic.*

Can Dante cross over and detect multiple LANs?

Answer: Yes, if Dante Domain Manager is present. Otherwise, Dante networks are limited to a single LAN.

Does Dante Domain Manager actually let you send audio between subnets?  If so, does the server need to be running for this to work?

Answer: The server manages and monitors the clock configuration. Once multiple subnets are configured, devices will continue to pass audio even if the Dante Domain Manager goes offline (whether these devices are in the same subnet or different).

What are your recommendations for quality of service (QoS) or best practices when it comes to setup, especially related to using Dante Domain Manager on larger networks?

Answer: Our only QoS recommendations apply to all Dante devices, and are not connected to Dante Domain Manager. You can find our recommended settings (if you need them) right here.

Is it better to build a network for Dante only or can I use the complete Dante stream with the network I use for the normal internet and DLNA media?

Answer: Dante can run alongside other data without problems. All that is required is that multicast traffic be allowed and QoS be enabled on switches. If you are using a gigabit network, there is adequate bandwidth to handle many hundreds of channels without running out.*

What are the limitations for audio streaming?

Answer: Audinate Dante software is a “bit perfect” transport; there is no degradation of signal at all.

To go long distances, you may require Dante Domain Manager to handle the multiple networks and possible longer latency, but this is dependent upon your specific arrangement. It should be noted that Dante cannot be routed across the public internet, as there is no support for multicast or consistent latency.

How much bandwidth does Dante take up if it’s on a shared network?

Answer: Dante uses the same bandwidth regardless of network. As a rule of thumb, 4 channels of audio requires 6MBPS; 64 channels requires 100MBPS, all unicast. Remember that gigabit networks are capable of 1000MBPS.*

Is there a minimum spec for network equipment to handle Dante?

Answer: Any reasonable quality switch of 100Mbps and above is good.  If you still have a network “hub” from the 1990s that probably won’t work.

What wireless security protocols/systems are Dante domain manager compatible with?

Answer: Dante Domain Manager does not presently support 802.1x. We recommend not using Dante over standard wireless networks. There are dedicated products available for point-to-point wireless transmission of Dante.

What kind of latency is normal for Dante from endpoint to endpoint?

Answer: Dante latency is deterministic — that is, it is defined by the devices and does not change regardless of the network. Latency is bound at the lower limit by the number of switches through which data must pass between transmit and receive.

For a typical large network with 6 to 10 switches, a very safe value is 1ms. If extremely low latency is required for an application, one may use a minimal number of switches and set latency to be as low as 150 μs between devices.

With Dante Doman Manager, the audio itself on the network is not encrypted, correct, just control is access protected, correct?

Answer: That is correct. Only control traffic is encrypted with DDM; audio packets are separated from clock, and so cannot be reassembled without that data. Best practice networking security should be followed to ensure authorized access.

Is there any reason that anyone other than an AV integrator would need access to Dante Domain Manger such as an IT administrator?

Answer: Generally, no. Dante Domain Manager will need to be accessed to add or subtract users and setup domains of Dante devices, but this may be infrequent.

Does Dante Domain Manager integrate with any other protocols like AES67, etc.?

Answer: All core Audinate Dante hardware products now support AES67.

 Visibility of AES67 in DDM is scheduled for later in 2018. Bear in mind that manufacturers decide whether AES67 is a desired feature for their products, and may choose to implement or omit it from Dante-enabled offerings.

Can Dante co-exist with multicast network traffic? For an example, can Audinate Dante software and AES67 traffic be mixed on the same network?

Answer: Yes. It is not a problem to mix traffic on networks.

How do you calculate network bandwidth for Dante?

Answer: 4 channels = 6MBPS. Audio is not large.*

Will Audinate Dante Domain Manager send a notification if something on the Dante network goes bad?

Answer: A dashboard alert is produced if a device goes offline or there are problems with clocking, latency or connectivity.  These alerts are also logged and communicated via SNMP.

*Bandwidth estimates based upon setting of 48 kHz/24 bit sample rate and bit depth.