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Should my school be on an audio network?

When people think of audio networking, it is often live events or recording studios that spring to mind. But in reality, Audio-over-IP is a technology that can be applied to most settings. While education isn’t always the first thought as an application for audio networks, school and university campuses make for a perfect use case.

Performing arts and recording facilities within a school are obvious cases for networked audio, with much of the signal chain now digital, networking is a simple conclusion. Where this gets more challenging is with campus-wide audio networks. However, the strength and flexibility that these can offer can make them a realistic choice for systems integrators.

A networked audio solution means important announcements can be easily distributed campus-wide or to specific areas. It also provides the flexibility for broadcasting lectures or performances to multiple overflow spaces around the campus or recording them for posterity.

Audio networking has become the de facto standard for audio professionals, so it would be more surprising if an integrator was now arguing against putting your campus on a single network. But how easy is it to achieve? This depends on what you are trying to achieve and the existing systems you have in place.

If your school already has a networked audio system, expanding it to different areas is a simple process. Just about all modern audio equipment is now digital and able to serve as a networking end point, so connecting into an existing system should be as simple as plugging in a Cat-5 cable. Equally, if you are currently building your campus, then planning in an audio network from the beginning will help to serve your students now and well into the future.

Challenges can be seen in retrofits where you are replacing an existing audio solution. With cable runs and rack positions already fixed, you may face some difficulty in getting the right technology in the right place. However, the reality is that a modern solution will probably reduce the volume of technology you need and streamline the whole system.

The advantages in control, security and flexibility that a networked audio solution bring to school campuses far outweigh any negatives. They provide a modern way to connect and manage every element of your campus’ audio systems to create a simple solution that will serve your facility long into the future. The experienced Prosound team has been working with audio networks for many years and can help you select the best options for your facility. Get in touch to find out more.

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