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Networking for idiots...


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Hi Blue Roomerinos...


I was poised a moment ago, credit card at the ready, to purchase Wayne Howell's "Rock Solid Ethernet" book from Amazon when I saw that both reviews on the page were, shall we say, less than complimentary. I understand that the book is almost ten years old, and both "reviewers" seemed not to be lampies, but can anybody offer a lampy-orientated opinion as to whether the book is worth buying for somebody who knows absolutely nothing about the use of ethernet for lighting control, and finds themselves in need of more than four physical DMX outputs on the back of his lighting console?


And, whether or not the book is good, are there any other books, websites or other resources- outside of specific product guides and manuals etc- where I could learn the basics?


Thanks, Martin.

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There's a new edition:



ETP Book ref:1018

ISBN 13 : 9781904031697

Title: Rock Solid Ethernet (3rd edition)

Author: Wayne Howell

Publication date: 04/04/2013

Publisher: Entertainment Technology Press



I use this book all the time....sadly, my students don't.


You might also want to go to the AL website and look at Wayne's slide presentation on ArtNet.

John Huntington's book is very good - http://controlgeek.net/bookinfo/ AND you can listen to his lectures for free!! Chapter 16 should get you going - http://controlgeek.n...video-lectures/



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+1 John Huntington's Control Systems for Live Entertainment

It covers a lot of ground very well.

The 2012 edition of John's book is now named: "Show Networks and Control Systems".


While I haven't read this newer edition, his earlier book was pretty good (but is now extremely out-of-date.)


I've not read the 3rd ed of Rock Solid Ethernet, however (ignoring the dated parts) the earlier editions contained many errors and omissions, and were really about Art-Net, not general lighting or show control networking.

(To be honest, a lot of it read like a sales pitch.)


Once you've built your network and everything can talk to everything, what do you want it to do?

- The Ethernet network itself is just "let my stuff talk to each other".


DMX-Over-Ethernet is the most common task - but not the only one.


There are several protocols for DMX-over-Ethernet.

Art Net and E1.31 Streaming ACN (sACN) are the two most common, there are many others. (ETC Net2, MANet, Strand ShowNet...)


Both the controller (eg lighting console) and receiver (DMX-to-Ethernet box, Ethernet-controlled dimmer etc) need to support the same one.

Many consoles support several different DMX-Over-Ethernet protocols and can send many at the same time.


sACN is the PLASA/ANSI standard (like DMX itself), and the easiest to use.


Configuring sACN is as simple as telling both ends "Universe 5", or "Universe 5, DMX Address 23".

- DMX-to-Ethernet boxes might also need to be told whether they're a DMX input or output as many can do both.


There's other features which are more-or-less product specific as not everything does them.


Other DMX-over-Ethernet protocols may need further configuration, eg typing in the IP address/name of the other device or other settings.


Then there are all the other things that can go over Ethernet - product-specific - like Wifi remotes, MIDI, etc...

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Thanks people, that's one more vote each for and against Wayne Howell's book, still pretty inconclusive, he he... And John's book looks like I might be paying for a lot of info which, whilst interesting, I would never need... I think perhaps I'm going to save my money and cherry-pick the info I need from the AL site and John's video tutorials...


Thanks for your help.

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