In the AV industry, there are two common methods of connecting network devices. The first method is a star topology where each device has its own port on an Ethernet switch. This is the most robust method but it requires a cable home run from each device back to the Ethernet switch, which is fine for permanent installations but challenging for temporary deployments.
The second method is daisy-chaining, which requires dual switched ports on each device, as found on the L Class models. While daisy-chaining is much easier to deploy, it should be noted that each “hop” incurs a latency penalty, measured in micro-seconds, but quickly adding up. Therefore, a pre-determined latency is applied to each Dante receiving device to account for switch hops, eliminating the risk of dropped packets and resulting audio glitches.
The Dante latency settings are based on worst-case latency assumptions and are therefore quite conservative. The L Class models default to 1 ms, which will accommodate up to 10 switch hops. As a reference point, a Dante mixer connected through an Ethernet switch to a 6-box daisy-chained array of LA108 or LA112, is the equivalent of 6 switch hops. If you are using 5 switch hops or less, there is the potential to adjust the latency and decrease it from 1 ms to 0.5 ms using the Dante Controller software. Please refer to Audinate for more information on Dante Controllers.