28 Sep 2020

Lighting Control Over IP

by VJ Suriya

Lighting control over IP is getting more and more common these days. Network cabling is pretty much a given with most new constructions, and Cat5 is available at just about any electrical wholesaler while DMX cable is more specialised. Based on available infrastructure, it makes a lot of sense to distribute your control over the local network using Ethernet protocols like Art-Net/sACN.

This becomes even more obvious when you are dealing with pixel lighting. A standard strip of 60LED/m tape can have 180 channels/m on RGB or 240 channels per metre if it is RGBW, so you can run through a whole universe of channels within 2.8m on RGB or just over 2m on RGBW.

RGB tapes

Generally with pixels you want tens or hundreds of metres of pixels, not just a single 3m strip! So when you consider the amount of control channels involved with controlling pixels, DMX tends not to be very logical…

One cable run per 3m of tape? No way.


It makes a lot more sense to control pixels over network, so you can transmit all the data you need to control a decent sized pixel installation, all through the one cable run. For this you’ll need a network-based pixel controller!

The Pixel Octo is a simple, yet powerful controller option.

With the Octo you can control up to 8U of pixels from one compact unit. The data outputs are split up into 2 x 4U outputs, so you can handle even very long or dense pixel arrays.

Most importantly, the Octo receives data over IP, through 10/100 Ethernet ports. You’ll also notice it has an IN and a THROUGH port, letting you daisy chain multiples of these over a large pixel array and also limiting the number of cable runs you need to allow for.

When daisy-chained, each Octo is individually detectable on the network, and will receive its own IP address, which lets you configure these as you need to. The Octo’s circuitry also lets you boost the network signal, so you can run up to 100m on Cat5 from switch to Octo, or from Octo-to-Octo!

You might be familiar with the Octo in this form factor, released last year. But ENTTEC engineers at our Victoria HQ have been hard at work during the lockdown… then brief period of freedom… then lockdown again… to come out with a new, sleek, and more compact design!

The Octo still retains the DIN rail clip on the back, letting you easily clip to a section of DIN rail near your pixels or in your own custom enclosure. The case is shrunk way down, letting you conceal it more easily on your pixel installation.

The Octo is currently available, with a new revised design version available very soon! For more details reach out to your local ENTTEC distributor or us directly at enttec.com

CX Magazine – September 2020   

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