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Technology in the entertainment lighting industry has changed so much in the past couple of decades. Troubleshooting a lighting problem use to be as simple as finding a circuit that we knew worked, then plugging in a questionable lamp into it. Lighting systems have grown past this simple procedure into advanced and sophisticated networks of computers, switches and intelligent lighting. A simple dimmer check now goes well beyond the simple swap test to determining correct IP address, DMX universes and more.An electrician is more than just that in our world of advanced controllers, multi-parted devices and universe-hogging media servers. An electrician needs to have a fairly good understanding of computer networking. More and more, we are beginning to see a network cable come out the back of our lighting desk rather than multiple universes of DMX over 5-pin cable.
Having a network-based lighting system can bring tears of joy as well as countless hours of hair-pulling. A correctly-configured lighting network can be awesome to witness. With any computer or networking hardware, issues seem to appear from out of nowhere.
An electrician armed with network suaveness and the right tool can be worth their weight in gold. This month's Buyers Guide looks at tools and devices aimed at configuring, testing and setting up a network-based lighting control system.
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