Manufacturers of audio networking equipment often promise a ‘plug and play’, hassle-free user experience, with a ‘sky’s the limit’ channel capacity. If you keep things simple, in most cases it’s true. Of course, once you start to make things more complex - for example by combining multiple brands and product types in a large distributed system - things start to get more complicated. Still, when systems are designed with care and enough forethought, it’s entirely possible to make things work - but the paradigm changes from ‘plug and play’ to ‘think, plug and play’.
Sometimes, the ‘think’ part of the paradigm suffers for some reason - for example because two companies designed their own subsystems and then connected them on the job, without having discussed or tested what could happen. Or because last minute changes have introduced new components on the network. Or because firmware management for some products has lagged… and so forth.
If a problem arises then, of course, it needs to be solved. In many cases this has to happen on the spot - for example at a concert with thousands of concertgoers impatiently waiting for the band to kick off. As a major manufacturer of networked audio equipment, we have quite some experience in troubleshooting. Over the years we have developed a guideline of six troubleshooting rules, which we’d like to share with you.