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Ethernet Dmx


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I have never actually seen an ethernet interface for any of the units yet... I think it is a much much faster system... possibly more channels in one universe or something
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I saw it on a few bits at PLASA: In particular the £25,000 new martin desk and some fixtures from other firms.


The theatre we toured to in sweden had a ethernet system, but I can't recall the make of the gear. It involved 2 computers and a remote fader panel ---> I remember the single Cat 5 cable controlling everything (fixtures, scrollers, generics)

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the advantage of ethernet is that there is alot more data down one cable, it is somthing like 54 universes I think (but dont quote me on that)


what happens is that you can run everythin on one chain and then asign it a "virtural address" such as 20.322 where it is DMX 322 on the 20th universe, will be very useful when running a massive moving rig as you just have to run one cable and dasy chain everything rather than lots of smaller chains, I hope this makes some sense and the numbers may well change when I get a min to look at the specs I have and update this but im sure somone else on here will be able to correct me anyway.


hope this helps


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The other advantage is that there is so much choice :o ...





Artistic Licence,



MA Lighting,




Flying Pig (might not count as DMX over Ethernet).

All have some form of DMX over Ethernet, none of which are compatible. :angry:

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As an IT technician I can see the advantages of an Ethernet system over a DMX one. If it is true Ethernet then you would not need to “daisy chain” everything together but just plug it into a convenient cat5 socket, with good cheap hubs and switches locked away somewhere safe. You could even put an optic fibre backbone into a building and have all your computers for admin, lighting and sound on one system.


As an ex-roadie, I look at standard cat5 plug and a suck in breath though my teeth, slowly shaking my head as I do so. I then feel the standard cat5 cable in my hands, bend it over it’s self and silently laugh as my shoulders go up and down. Finally I throw the cable on the floor and run a couple of speaker trucks over it just to prove my point. :o

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ethernet / cat5 is currently an installation solution not a touring one, but I'm sure it won't be beyond the imaginations of the developers to come up with a nice robust tourable version if the demand is there.... The advantage of ethernet over DMX in simple terms (i.e. the ones I need it explained to me in!) is just as mentioned in the post above - loads more data, and the ability to break out anywhere. The main disadvantage currently as I understand it is the fact that although desks and dimmers are ethernet - ready, much of the standard outboard kit used at the moment is not, and the way of dealing with this using DMX nodes to provide DMX for scrollers etc was very very expensive. So with our new building, it looked for a long time that installing parallel ethernet and DMX networks would be cost effective measured against the cost of purchasing nodes at over a grand each...however, the cost of nodes has been significantly reduced recently, so we will be looking at installing ethernet cabling around the building with a small stock of nodes to run DMX locally. I understand that there is at least one venue which has gone down this route so far - currently under construction - but I can't remember where - I think in Wales - if anyone recognizes themselves reading that last bit, perhaps they could update us.....
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If it is true Ethernet then you would not need to ìdaisy chainî everything together but just plug it into a convenient cat5 socket

Ah, STAR configuration = more wire than daisy chain.

I look at standard cat5 plug and a suck in breath though my teeth

Neutrik Ethercon is the answer.

installing parallel ethernet and DMX networks

You can quite happily run DMX over CAT5 cable. Install CAT5 now, move to Ethernet later.

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Despite the usual problems of manufacturers developing their own specific standards (Strand, ETC...), there is a degree of compatability within the DMX across ethernet world, as several companies use the same 'language'. Also, there is an application that can convert Strand ShowNet to Artistic Licence ArtNet ethernet protocols (a kind of translator).


Using ethernet in a lighting system has the advantage (noted above) that a single CAT5 cable can carry multiple universes (lines) of DMX data, and that these can be tapped off wherever required around the venue.


Ethernet also allows other information - such as remote VGA screens, dimmer diagnostics, wireless WiFi remote controls, etc - to be incorporated into the same Cat5 cable - reducing wiring and installation costs. Radio and laser DMX communication devices can be easily connected to such a network, as they can be with conventional DMX systems.


Ethernet does not replace DMX, as it does not allow daisy-chaining of equipment like DMX512 does, so Ethernet's hub-and-spoke (star) distribution involves more electronic boxes which could fail.


In addition, CAT5 cable cannot be longer than 100 metres from active part to active part - which means that to cover say 250m with Ethernet, two line amplifiers are required, whereas one DMX cable would do the same job. A good - and reliable - system will be a well-thought combination of Ethernet (possibly with full back-up) and DMX. It may be wise to have a number of DMX universes wired directly from the console to the main dimmers. In the event of a failure in one of the Ethernet building blocks, these dimmers will still be under control.


Notably the ethernet system from Artistic Licence (ArtNet) is a public domian, royalty free protocol, which means that several manufacturers have adopted it as their ethernet 'language'. This means that products from these companies can communicate with each other.


ArtNet is currently supported by:

Artistic Licence, ADB, AC Lighting Ltd & AC Lighting Inc, Avab Transtechnic, Avolites, Barco, Cameleon, Doug Fleenor Design, ELC Lighting, Electronics Diversified, Enttec, Flying Pig, Goddard Design Co, Green Hippo, High End Systems, Horizon, IES, I-Light Group, Jands Electronics Pty, LewLight,

MA Lighting, Martin Professional, Medialon, Mediamation, Nondim Enterprises, Robe Show Lighting, SandNet, Theatrelight Ltd, Touchlight Systems Ltd, VNR Electronique SA, and Zero 88.

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Back to dominic's original question, the reason that some manufacturers are adding ethernet connectors onto their fixtures is for the future implementation of a new lighting control protocol known as ACN. This is designed to be a long term replacement for DMX. This is currently under public review and can be found on the ESTA website.




There are currently a number of DMX over Ethernet protocols, as Barney says, both open source (eg ArtNet), and proprietry (eg ETC Net). These are used mainly as a way of transfering large amounts of DMX data through a single cable, but do not replace DMX as a protocol.




Neil Vann

Technical Sales and Support

AC Lighting

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