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Pathway Connectivity eLink

PLSN Staff • October 2020Product Spotlight • October 9, 2020

The Pathway Connectivity eLink is a network protocol router, designed to bridge two distinct Local Area Networks while keeping your lighting network streamlined and secure. When you have multiple networks in your venue and you need to get data from one to the other, a simple solution may be to connect them together. But by doing this, you no longer have two networks but one larger network in which data is omnipresent. This is almost always a bad idea, and care should be taken to avoid conflating traffic.

eLink has two etherCON network ports to bridge different LANs. The Primary Port is PoE-enabled and accepts the incoming traffic, whereas the Secondary Ethernet Port, typically connected to the downstream network, acts as the output. The Primary Port can optionally loopback converted protocols on the main networks when physical isolation of data is not needed in single LAN systems.

Here are a few examples of how eLink can solve networking complications while at the same time making your network more secure.

Simple Real-time Protocol Conversion and Priority Management: The eLink can receive any combination of Art-Net, Strand ShowNet, Pathport Protocol, E1.31 sACN and ssACN (more on this below) and re-transmit using any universe of the supported protocols. It’s like having four Pathport OCTOs in one compact rack unit. It supports 16 “Data Paths” each allowing custom priority rules that can merge up to 128 sources in real-time. You can even monitor a specific DMX slot of the control source and use its level to change priority rules between control sources on the fly.

Protocol and Network Filter: For a streamlined and secure network, the primary network can be isolated from the secondary (downstream) network. The eLink removes unnecessary or insecure traffic such as OSC, MA-Net, console configuration data, Dante and Internet-related traffic.

Guest Console Security On-Ramp: Added security is a must have when receiving data from third-party controllers. The eLink, while working inside a Security Domain, can convert incoming protocols to ssACN (Pathway Secure sACN) for reception by Pathport gateways. It can also act as a traffic cop, only allowing a limited number of slots, which are then patched to the house system.

For example, a Performing Arts Centers needs to maintain the infrastructure for the comfort and safety of its patrons while hosting touring companies that bring most of their own gear. If the permanently installed house lighting system resides within its own security domain, it’s desirable to expose only a few channels for the touring act to run the auditorium lighting. Using a custom patch, the eLink allows a large and more complex system to be boiled down to just a few channels the touring programmer can patch. This ensures that regardless of the patch in the guest console, your system maintains its independence and integrity.

Console On/Off Switch: eLink’s Contact Closure input can be configured to freeze output streams or cease transmission of data. With one switch, you can mute a touring control system during mandated break times or during emergency situations.

Connecting a Building Automation System to an Architectural façade: Large buildings and public spaces use Building Automation Systems that are connected to the building’s IT network. The external architectural façade, treated with dynamic LED lighting, needs to be trigged by the BAS, but it’s desirable to maintain two separate networks. The eLink can route the triggers from the building to the independent lighting network without introducing sensitive or life-safety system traffic.

SixEye Network Monitor: Like many of Pathway Connectivity’s products, eLink is fully supported by SixEye’s unified remote management cloud. Drop an eLink on any entertainment system and securely control the flow of data or monitor DMX Levels from anywhere in the world using a computer or smart phone.

The Pathway eLink aids in enforcing good networking practices, making your networks cleaner, faster and more secure.

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