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Well, there are two key criteria to consider when designing a product for the entertainment industry,

  • Robustness: The product must meet or exceed the demanding requirements of the industry. This
    means that it must be constructed to withstand harsh environments, frequent and hard handling /
    transport conditions, temperature extremes etc. The product must be designed to be truly rock
    solid. To cope with the demanding requirements of the touring industry, interconnection must be
    assured by connectors such as Neutrik and Amphenol’s ruggedized versions of the Ethernet
    connector which have proven they can provide the reliability and solidity expected by the
    professionals of the industry.
  • Human interfacing: Typical switches are not designed with the audio, lighting or AV professional in
    mind. They are designed with the network professional in mind and as such managing them
    requires network specific training and knowledge. On the other hand, un-managed switches while
    they are accessible to the everyday user, do not offer the level of performance and configurability
    required by the industry.

Given the critical nature of the signals being transported, the job requires a high level of
redundancy. Typically, production companies have had to resort to the use managed switches to
obtain this confidence. Given that more and more protocols are being used in signal and control
distribution, topographic segmentation and VLANs are becoming vital elements of these networks.
Therefore, managed switches are becoming the de facto standard of the industry.