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Use of a non-ETC Streaming ACN capable console?

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dbn Posted: 11-01-2011 10:12 AM

I did a bit of searching, and didn't find any posts that answer my question.  It's a bit off topic, because it involves involves interoperability of ETC and non-ETC gear.

I'm currently working a show in a newly constructed high school auditorium.  It's an all ETC installation, with an Ion console, Sensor racks and DMX output "nodes" all tied together with ETCnet 3 over TCP/IP and Ethernet CAT5 cabling.  Or so I'm lead to believe, anyway, by the venue technical staff.  There is no provision for DMX input to the system.

My question is can I use a non-ETC console, which has Streaming ACN output capability, in this system?  My understanding is that the level signaling is via sACN, and other configuration, error and device intercommunication takes place via "full" ACN.  It's not clear to me that the sACN output of my personal console extends to "full" ACN capability.

If I can use a "generic" sACN console with this system, are there any other setup or configuration issues that I would need to worry about?  For example IP addressing?  Would the system be configured by default to use IP subnet broadcast?  Or does the system somehow know the unicast IP address of the primary (Ion) console?  What about "priority" tagging of the sACN stream?

Understandably, the documentation provided with the system does not cover interoperability with third-party product.  

Regards,

Dave Nelson
d.b.nelson|design 

Top 75 Contributor
Posts 146

Dave,

One of the great advantages to an industry standard protocol like sACN is that as long as the manufacture has implemented the protocol per the specification it will work with another manufacturers product. The simple answer to your question is yes. you can use your console if it outputs sACN and it will work the Net3 gateways and dimmers that are configured.

One item of note...

There are two versions of sACN. The current "ratified" version and the previous "draft" version. All etc products the receive sACN support both versions for input so you should be fine. Most other manufacturers products require configuration for which version you use. If there are non ETC sACN products this could cause complications for you, but form your description above, you shouldn't have any issues. Of course, our Support department can always be contacted if you do encounter an issue.

Bryan Palmer

Product Manager

Networking and Architectural Controls

ETC, INC

Top 25 Contributor
Posts 518

dbn:

 DMX output "nodes" all tied together with ETCnet 3 over TCP/IP and Ethernet CAT5 cabling.

If any of these "nodes"are ETC 1,2, or 3 port Gateways, with 5 pin XLR connectors, then they output and/or can be set up to receive DMX.  They just need configuring via the Net 3 configuration editor. 

SB

 

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Posts 20

Just to clarify 2 port and 4 port Gateways are configured via GCE (Gateway Configuration Editor) while 1 port Gateways are configured via NCE (Network Configuration Editor).

Christopher Price

ETC Systems Engineer 2

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Posts 23

As far as the IP addressing goes. It depends on what is actually serving the IP's for the network and whether they are set up DHCP or static.

If the ION is being used as the server and the IP's are static ( I believe that ETC recommends this set up ) then you have some serious networking to do.

If the ION is being used as the server and the IP's are dynamic. You should be able to set your console as the DHCP server, then reset all networked devices. Your console should assign IP's to all devices.

If there is a router and its set up for static Ip's. You have to determine an IP that is in the correct range and not taken by another device. Then set your console to pull that IP. ( the range ETC recommends is 10.101.X.X )( if you are taking the ION offline you can just use the same IP it was using)

If there is a router and its set up DHCP. You should just be able to plug your console in to the network and go.

BTW Ive seen some systems where sACN and DMX out off of the console are used.

also most "nodes" can be configured to be DMX inputs you just need a 5pin XLR female to female to turn the output around.

Not sure if you already have your show programmed or not, but the ION is really a lovely board and easy to learn. I would recommend that you give it a try, you might like it:)

Good Luck!

 

Rob Kilpatrick | Show Lighting Corp

Smartfade ML v3.0.1 / Perslib v6.6.5 / Smartsoft v3.0.1 | Smartfade 24/96 v3.0.1 / Smartsoft 3.0.1 | ION v1.9.6 / (2) 2 x 20 Wings / iRFR v

Top 25 Contributor
Posts 518

ctprice:

Just to clarify 2 port and 4 port Gateways are configured via GCE (Gateway Configuration Editor) while 1 port Gateways are configured via NCE (Network Configuration Editor).

Any particular reason two different config editors ?.  I know I have the GCE in the Ion shell, is the NCE the older Net2 NCE ?.

 

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Posts 7

I'll mention that to the venue staff.  I think they have a "spare" node.  If it could be configured for DMX input on Universe 1, that might open up all sorts of possibilities.  A longer-term project, to be sure, and one that I can only suggest ans encourage as an occasional user of the facility.

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Posts 7

Ah, that information is helpful.

Something is acting as a DHPC server.  It might be the ION console.  It might be the WiFi router.  It might be something that I don't see.  The venue staff seem to be unaware of the IP networking aspects of the system.  I suspect that the installer configured all of this and it hasn't been changed since.

I'm definitely not in the "plug and go" category.   I've tried that, without success.  I've just downloaded a freeware sACN network trace program (SACNview) on my laptop.  I'll take that with me to the auditorium this evening.  Maybe it will tell me something useful.

Is there some "hand-over" signaling or configuration to do?  When we tried the "guest" console, the ION was still up and running.  Perhaps the gateway was still listening to sACN packets from the ION's IP address and ignoring those from the "guest" console's IP address?

As to learning the ION, I did some of that last year.  I didn't get to the level of "proficient" and I've forgotten much of that in the intervening ten months.   It uses a very different user interface paradigm from my personal console, so the learning curve is a bit steeper than it might be otherwise.

 

Top 75 Contributor
Posts 146

the honest answer here is also the simple answer.

Yes this is the NCE from ETC Net2 days. We are working on adding 1-port support to GCE now. this is something that should have been completed several years ago but had gotten shuffled in the list of development. For that I apologize to you,a and everyone else that has a 1-port gateway!

Worth mention it is possible to install NCE in the Ion shell. Phone Support can certainly assist with this if necessary.

Bryan Palmer

Product Manager

Networking and Architectural Controls

ETC, INC

Top 25 Contributor
Posts 492

bpalmer:

Worth mention it is possible to install NCE in the Ion shell. Phone Support can certainly assist with this if necessary.

Indeed.  We've also documented it on our wiki page here: http://www.etcconnect.com/Community/wikis/products/installing-nce-on-an-eos-family-console.aspx

Hans Hinrichsen

ETC Technical Support Specialist

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Posts 23

dbn:

Ah, that information is helpful.

Something is acting as a DHPC server.  It might be the ION console.  It might be the WiFi router.  It might be something that I don't see.  The venue staff seem to be unaware of the IP networking aspects of the system.  I suspect that the installer configured all of this and it hasn't been changed since.

 Easy way to test which it is. Turn the Ion off. Try to connect to the router. See if it assigns an IP. If it does then its the router. If not its the ION.

I suspect its the ION since you said you aren't in a plug and play situation. If the ION is the server and you are proficient with networking. I think the easiest thing to do is bring your own router and set that as the DHCP server. Just make sure its set to give out IP's in the same range and starting with the same two octets as the current server. That way if any devices are requesting a static IP, it will get it.

Rob Kilpatrick | Show Lighting Corp

Smartfade ML v3.0.1 / Perslib v6.6.5 / Smartsoft v3.0.1 | Smartfade 24/96 v3.0.1 / Smartsoft 3.0.1 | ION v1.9.6 / (2) 2 x 20 Wings / iRFR v

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Posts 7

Three months later, I'm back to this issue.  My next show in this particular venue is in April, so I'm getting a head start.  I will be seeking some locall available Ion training, at least as a back-up.  I've learned that I should use the board in tracking mode, even though my comfort is with non-tracking (or hybrid) boards.  Some things don't work well in non-tracling mode.

I'm far more productive with my own board, so I'll attempt to get some time in the venue in advance of load-in to conduct some experiments with networking and sACN interoperability.   I'm told my board supports "r3" of sACN.  I've verified that its output captures correctly in sACNview V 1.3.1.

I think the big issues I encountered were (a) IP networking and (b) leaving the Ion connected to the network at the same time as my board.  I'll probably be back here with more questions once I get some time "on line" with the system.

 

 

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Posts 1,424

"r3" of the sACN standard is the 'ratified' version.

As sACNView can see its output, it should work with ETC Net3 DMX Gateways, Sensor+ and Sensor3 racks without any trouble at all.

As to configuration:

Some consoles have two modes for sACN output, "Multicast" and "Unicast".

Pick "Multicast", then it simply doesn't matter what IPs the DMX Gateways etc have.
- Multicast Streaming ACN is known to work with well over 150 Universes on the same network. It Just Works.

There may be a Priority setting. If so, pick the default value of 100.

For IP addressing, it is quite likely that the network is using the ETC defaults, thus the Ion will probably be 10.101.100.101.

I would suggest giving your console a static IP address as follows:

IP: 10.101.100.99
Subnet: 255.255.0.0
Gateway 10.101.1.1

This is outside the default ranges of all ETC equipment so you should be fine there.

Finally, if the Ion is on and patched then it will (by default) be merging its output HTP with your console's output. You might want that as a 'backup', or you could just turn it off to be sure it's not outputting any levels.

Keep on trying till you run out of cake.

ETC Field Service, London

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Posts 7

Richard:

As to configuration:

Pick "Multicast", then it simply doesn't matter what IPs the DMX Gateways etc have.

.....

There may be a Priority setting. If so, pick the default value of 100.

Yes, those are the defaults for my console.

Richard:

I would suggest giving your console a static IP address as follows:

IP: 10.101.100.99
Subnet: 255.255.0.0
Gateway 10.101.1.1

Sounds very straightforward.  Thank you very much for the guidance.  I have Wireshark in addition to sACNview, so I can see that addresses are in use on the link to the Ion.

Richard:

Finally, if the Ion is on and patched then it will (by default) be merging its output HTP with your console's output. You might want that as a 'backup', or you could just turn it off to be sure it's not outputting any levels.

If both streams are at Priority 100, then it's HTP merging, but if one stream is at Priority 100 and one at Priority 101, then it's HPTP (Highest Priority Takes Precedence), unless the lower priority stream is interrupted.  Is that right?

Thanks again!

 

Top 10 Contributor
Posts 1,424

dbn:
If both streams are at Priority 100, then it's HTP merging, but if one stream is at Priority 100 and one at Priority 101, then it's HPTP (Highest Priority Takes Precedence), unless the lower priority stream is interrupted.  Is that right?

Yes, that's exactly right.

sACN Priority runs from 1 (least important) to 200 (most important).

The console with the highest priority for a given Universe (or Address, with ETC's "0xDD" extension) will be in charge. If more than one console is at the same priority, they merge HTP.

Keep on trying till you run out of cake.

ETC Field Service, London

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