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Information Technology for the Lighting Professional – The importance of Throughput

Posted on September 17, 2015

Information Technology for the Lighting Professional

I saw a really cool ad from Verizon that shows a great explanation for how bandwidth works. It shows a bunch of people sitting in a room. They are supposed to represent data. Then a door shows up on a wall. This is supposed to represent band width on the network. Since the door is small, only so much data gets through. In the ad, Verizon is trying to say that with their network, you get a much wider door that will allow more data to get through.

I honestly could care less what network you use to get internet on, so this is not a push for Verizon, but it does play to a point when dealing with networks in lighting rigs. We spend thousands of dollars on consoles and fixtures. We want to build the best possible control system for our TCP/IP network to operate on, so we spend the money where it counts most, right? Not always. Take a look at your network routers and switches. This is where the Verizon ad statement comes in. If you grab an off the shelf network switch or router from the big box store on the corner, you are going to give yourself a small door. Even if it is a gigabite switch, it may not be what you are looking for. For lighting networks where every frame of data needs to get from the console to the fixtures in your rig, you need to make sure that the throughput is high enough to allow this to happen properly. Throughput is the rate of production or the rate at which data can be processed. Your console creates a ton of data that goes down your TCP/IP lines. This is especially true when doing pixel mapping and running several universes of data. Finding the correct network management devices is extremely important.

When purchasing network switches or routers for your lighting system, make sure that the throughput is optimized for maximum band width.