One of the greatest features of Dante audio networking is redundancy. If you use it, and something goes wrong on either network, the system will switch over and the change won’t likely even be audible.
If you mix the Primary and Secondary networks, though, you can get very chaotic behaviors that can be hard to troubleshoot. Working with students, who can find new and innovative ways to break nearly any system, I’ve encountered this problem in a way that i wouldn’t have anticipated, so I thought I’d post it here in case anyone else is searching for a solution to the same behavior.
Audinate recommends, wisely, that when using Dante in a redundant system, you should get the primary completely up and running, and then add in the secondary network. I generally do this myself, and a few times, when I went to connect the secondary system, I got all kinds of erratic behavior in Dante Controller and things would appear “offline” in the Yamaha console. The culprit? Unintentional mixing of the two networks.
How could this happen if you’re carefully managing your networks (I even like to use different colors). Well some Dante gear defaults to Daisy Chain mode, where the redundant feature is disabled and the Dante enabled device essentially becomes a two-port switch using the Primary and Secondary connectors. In this way, when you connect the secondary cable or network, the gear set to Daisy Chain mode now connects your two networks, causing all kinds of erratic problems.
So now, on my checklist, in addition to connecting only the Primary network first, I go to all connected gear and verify that it is in Redundant mode and not Daisy Chain mode.