Should You Migrate to an IP-Enabled Network Audio System?

Reliable, intelligible and cost-effective audio is a must in today’s demanding professional audio applications. Whether your focus is on boardroom presentations, public addresses, emergency mass notification announcements, physical security, background music, intercom systems, sound masking or more, a professionally designed and installed IP-enabled audio system—also called network audio—is needed to deliver clear, reliable and effective communication.


Historically, audio installations have used analog-based systems, which come with a host of challenges, most of which have been resolved by modern network audio systems.

Challenges of Analog Audio Systems

  • Proprietary
  • Inflexible
  • Difficult to expand
  • More expensive to operate and maintain
  • Not easily managed
  • Siloed, standalone system

Benefits of Network Audio Systems

  • Improved performance and reliability
  • Faster and easier deployment, configuration and scalability
  • Lower installation, deployment and operating costs
  • Software- and hardware-based zone control
  • Can integrate with other first-responder systems
  • Shared network infrastructure

Network audio systems increase reliability by reducing the number of wires and wiring connections, taking advantage of PoE (Power over Ethernet), eliminating the need to replace expensive amplifiers every time the system is expanded, and saving energy. Using a PoE network, IP amplifiers and IP speakers can be addressed and managed through Ethernet and powered by the PoE switch or mid-span. Any IP amplifier and IP speaker, anywhere on the network, anywhere in the world can be addressed and monitored from any location.

Additionally, any number of IP amplifiers and IP speakers can be grouped as a zone and, because each of these devices are networked, standards-based network monitoring can proactively alert any device or link failures and every IP device can be individually addressed. Network audio systems are also easily integrated with existing analog audio systems, allowing deployments to be migrated in stages.

Since data networks are protected from power outages and other power problems through the integration of UPS (uninterruptible power supplies), IP audio systems can even function through temporary power disruptions. This is especially important during emergencies, when many of these communications are needed most. Furthermore, IP-based systems improve first-responder communication and response by allowing mass notification, fire, life-safety and other first-responder systems to coexist, rather than operating in silos.

Another reason IP systems are more reliable than their analog counterparts is because the pages and messages in IP systems are equally high quality at every IP speaker. That’s because the signal—or message—does not degrade over distance as an analog signal would.

Still unsure if network audio is right for you? Get in touch with one of our experts, who can help you decide if an IP-based audio solution will meet your specific needs.

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