Not asserting a single second that Swisson can think of its customers as total dummies, but by taking the opposite of networked brands, they simply apply to the extreme the concept of “IdiotProof” gear, dear to the heart of the UK & US community.
In many fields, from cellphones to vehicles, from the Web to Hi-Fi, it is not so much the power or the developments of a product that distinguishes it from the competition, but its capacity to be understood as much as possible by the largest part of mankind, while offering the simplest user interface possible.
In the case of setting up a network for a show, a large part of the needs remains fairly basic. Thus, when it comes to building a data bridge between the control room and the stage to transport Art-Net, Dante and a VNC, all at the same time, two preconfigured network-linked switches can be more than enough. It is precisely for this purpose that Swisson has developed the XES-2T6, an intelligent Class 2 switch.
In a simple 1 U format, with “L” shaped angles with insert screws for rack insertion, Swisson’s latest switch has a menu with a large rotating encoder on its front panel, and 8 EtherCon Cat5e ports right aside. The first 2 ports must be used to establish a connection between two XES-2T6 in a secure way.
They are the ones who provide the “Trunk”, the data highway connecting the main network access points together, using the principle of redundancy. If an incident damages the RJ45 cable of port 1, the data is automatically routed on the RJ45 cable of port 2. These two ports are already configured to meet the particularities of the main protocols used, Dante, Art-Net and sACN, without additional options to set in the menu.
The other 6 EtherCon ports can be freely assigned to network subgroups. In IEEE 802.1Q VLANs, up to 30 different groups can coexist. This makes it possible to communicate between two switches (only EtherCon) having an identical VLAN.
With no advanced settings, each group is represented by its name, ID, and a color code reflected on the RGB LED next to each network port.
Activity LEDs simultaneously indicate if the links are active and what is the possible bit rate, 100 Mbits or 1 Gbits. By default, 10 groups are already named in the menu, but their names is just an indication, such as “Control”, “Dante A and B”, “Light Console”, or “Art-Net”.
Simplification remains Swisson’s prior concern, along with with robustness and price. Also, there are no advanced configurations or layers of additional settings to be done by computer. If in the future this type of options may appear according to feedback from users, for now any technician can use these switches in just a few minutes with the menu and the keys on the front panel.
Despite the lack of fiber optics plugs, IMGP and PoE, the XES-2T6 remains a reliable solution for simple systems, while protecting itself from power outages thanks to its two separate integrated power supplies.
Last but not least is the list price of less than € 800 per unit, whereas the most advanced switches can reach € 3,500 (list). However, the latter models are still mandatory for large networks and to best manage complex protocols.
More information on the Swisson Website.
Text & photos: Tristan Szylobryt. Translation: Bruno P. Souchaud.