What are Art-Net and sACN?

By David / a couple of months ago

Running DMX signal over ethernet is something that we are going to see more and more of as we move through time.  If you’re not familiar with these protocols yet, watch the video below or read the transcript to get the basics.


DMX can send up to 512 channels down 1 cable. So what’s a person to do when you need more than 512 channels?

More cables!

As technology moves forward, there becomes more and more the need to send large amounts of DMX channels down

This can make data distribution a nightmare – not to mention costly!

That’s why some really smart people tackled this problem, allowing us to send DMX over ethernet.

This video has been created as a brief overview of the topic. There are a whole lot of details I leave out, keeping only the basics you need to know as an introduction to this topic!

How Does DMX over Ethernet Work?

As of the time of this video, DMX can be sent through ethernet through (2) different protocols – Art-Net and sACN.

Art-Net was devised by Artistic License to solve the 512 channel limit that DMX has. It allows you to send 32,768 universes of DMX data down a single network cable.

The upside? Art-net is supported by more gear and is an older protocol.

sACN stands for streaming Architecture of Control Networks and is also known as E1.31 and was developed by ESTA – the Entertainment Services and Technology Association.

sACN allows you to run 63,999 universes of DMX data down a single network cable.

Both protocols are tested, solid ways to send DMX over ethernet. At the time of this recording, sACN seems to be becoming more popular. but time will tell!

Both protocols use “nodes” to output standard DMX to your lighting. These nodes are all on the same network as your console and can be reconfigured to put out different DMX universes, and multiple nodes can output the same universe.

Some fixtures ARE the node and can take in DMX over ethernet natively, some even outputting regular DMX to other fixtures.

No longer do large DMX systems require massive bundles of DMX cables. The future is here, and if it hasn’t come to your lighting rig yet, it will soon!

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