Dante Networks and Houses of Worship
Churches and other houses of worship have long embraced Dante audio networking as a core technology for delivering high-quality AV experiences to attendees, both at home and online.
The advantages in areas of ease of use, cost of installation and flexible deployments are key in these public spaces, where volunteers often are called upon to lend a hand and systems must be repurposed to suit events.
Audio networking brings greater clarity and fidelity to sound and permits easy connection to other computer-driven activities, such as streaming worship services to members who are online.
If one is new to the subject, it may at first seem daunting.
Dante Training the Audinate Way
As the developer of Dante, Audinate continues to work to make the setup and use of the system as automatic and intuitive as possible. This means that in relatively simple configurations, only a small amount of network knowledge is required to get a system up and running.
Rather than bombarding users with complex technical information and choices at the start, the Audinate Dante Certification Program begins by building complete systems using only basic information. Once users see how easy it is to get a simple system working, we begin to introduce new ideas that allow the network to be expanded and its use refined.
Audinate offers three levels of Dante Certification Training:
• Level 1: Delivers enough information to build a Dante network that uses a small number of devices (six or seven) and assumes that the network is “stand alone,” or isolated from other network devices and traffic.
• Level 2: Builds upon Level 1, and brings in more general network concepts that are useful in optimizing larger systems and high channel-count environments.
• Level 3: Goes into several areas of advanced networking concepts and shows how they can be applied to manage large, complex Dante environments.
For many users of relatively small Dante audio networks, Level 1 training provides enough information to connect and configure Dante devices using common defaults. For designers and AV tech coordinators who are responsible for somewhat larger systems, Level 2 covers network techniques that help Dante networks with larger device and channel counts.
Finally, AV professionals who must handle large Dante systems that are integrated with other data services (e.g., “converged” networks) can find everything they need in Level 3, which covers all types of data traffic and how to best allocate network resources for audio performance.
Dante Levels in Action
Houses of worship come in all shapes and sizes, and the audio systems they deploy are as varied.
Many have needs that, from a network perspective, are simple. For example, at Sun Valley Community Church in Gilbert, Arizona, Dante is used to provide three-dimensional sound for attendees and in-ear monitoring for onstage musicians, using a combination of DiGiCo and KLANG products. While the results are indeed advanced, the network employed to achieve these results is in fact quite direct, with no need for special settings or topologies. Such a configuration can be easily understood with only Level 1 or 2 training.
For a more complex example, we might look to Willow Creek Community Church, based in South Barrington, Illinois, a large establishment with six satellite locations. For Audio Systems Engineer Matt Wentz, accommodating a variety of spaces over distance meant deploying advanced Cisco switches to support fiber connections.
Extensive use of carefully configured VPNs helps to manage traffic at Willow Creek, and now the church is migrating to a multi-subnet network using Dante Domain Manager to control access. This network is large, sectioned, and must meet complex requirements typical of Level 3 training.
How to Get Dante Training
The Dante Certification Program courses are available in two forms: live and online. All testing is conducted online. Note: you must create and/or be logged in to an Audinate account to take tests.
Live training -- Live training sessions are delivered by Audinate in a wide variety of locations, as well as at many AV-related trade shows around the world. The events page at Audinate.com lists all of these, so check to see if trainings are scheduled near you or at a show you wish to attend. There is no fee, sessions are open to all.
Online training -- Online training is available to anyone, 24/7, at Audinate training.
Audinate’s online courses follow the same structure as live training, in an easily digestible video format that is organized into small sections. We strongly recommend that these videos be watched in order.
Testing -- The final step in obtaining certification is the successful completion of the online tests for each level at the Audinate website. Completion of each online test entitles you to certification at that level, and prepares you for the next level, if you wish to advance. All Dante Certification courses provide CTS RU credits, listed for each course at the Audinate training page, above.
Get going – Level 1
For tech directors at houses of worship, Level 1 is the place to start understanding Dante, and may be all that is needed to deploy a first system. Completion of the video course and online test requires only about one-and-a-half to two hours and is free of charge.
(Brad Price is a Senior Product Manager for Audinate, a company that offers a media networking solution that has been adopted by the a wide array of audio equipment manufacturers.)