Technological advancements have infiltrated the world of loudspeakers. IP Speakers are indeed proof of this. This is given how they use network connectivity to offer their numerous benefits, including audio reception and delivery.
It may interest you to know that the history of IP speakers dates back to the early 1980s. The likes of John Detreville, David Sincoskie, Douglas Terry, Daniel Swinehart, and Polle Zellweger all played their parts in the early stages of its development. However, it did not become a mainstream item until the late 1990s.
Knowledge of its present-day features and characteristics is important. This is especially for people planning or hoping to get them. This ensures that such people settle for the right brand and product, considering that they know what such products should offer, at the very least.
To this end, this article discusses some of the features and characteristics of present-day IP Speakers. Read on to ensure that you get options that tick all the right boxes when the need for such arises.
Key Features and Characteristics of IP Speakers
These speakers are unique in many ways. This is especially true in their manner of audio reception and delivery. By and large, some of their key features and characteristics are outlined and discussed below:
IP speakers need network connectivity to operate. This can happen in either of two ways:
- Ethernet Cable Connection – It usually has a designated port for Ethernet cable connection. It would be able to perform as it should once the network connection is guaranteed via this means
- Wi-Fi Connection – This option requires that Wi-Fi provision is made. In other words, the hotspot has to be enabled
Both options have their strengths & weaknesses. Knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses can help you make the right choice. For example, Wi-Fi seems more organized as it rules out the need for a cable connection to the speaker’s Ethernet port.
However, it is usually more susceptible to interference. More often than not, it is also not as fast as Ethernet cables. For more on the subject of which is better between Ethernet cables and Wi-Fi connection, you can visit: https://www.howtogeek.com/.
Some products only allow for connection via the use of an Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi. However, it is strongly recommended that you get options that allow for connection using both methods.
PoE (Power over Ethernet)
IP speakers need a network connection as mentioned earlier. But in addition to this, they also need to be powered to operate in the first place. So, how does this happen?
For one, there could be a separate provision for this. However, technology has advanced to the point of enabling PoE (Power over Ethernet). What this means is that the same Ethernet cable that enables network connectivity can also enable power supply.
You may want to prioritize this feature when getting an IP speaker. Ease of installation is one of the benefits of doing so.
Signals are sent just as with any other network-enabled medium of communication. Auditory data packets are received and sent via means that guarantee high-quality transmission. UDP and IP/TCP are prime examples.
Some transmission options are deliberately avoided because they may not guarantee high-quality auditory transmission. Bluetooth is a prime example. Some of the reasons why Bluetooth is not usually considered for IP speakers include the following:
- Data packet limit – There is usually a limit to the amount of data packets that Bluetooth can transmit. Its packet length is usually set at around 1024 byte
- Speed – Besides its inability to transmit large data volumes, Bluetooth’s transmission speed is highly questionable. This is especiallyfor purposes such as this
- Quality – Bluetooth transmission is capable of adversely altering the quality of transmitted data. In this context, this would happen by compressing the audio data; thereby affecting the audio quality
These are some of the reasons why brands that manufacture IP speakers stay steer of using Bluetooth for audio transmission. You can read this article to find out more about Bluetooth’s limitations.
IP speakers are usually open to various forms of network integration as a result of their network-based means of transmission. This is as long as the other devices also use network connections and are open to third-party device integration. This makes it possible for devices such as intercom systems, automation systems, and even IP cameras to work alongside it.
IP speakers require centralized control. This could happen from a software interface or management console for instance. This also implies that there must be administrators of these devices performing tasks that may include:
- Volume adjustment
- Scheduling announcements
- Managing multiple speakers at the same time – as this is possible with multiple IP speakers
The central control system has to be set up in a manner that enables effective centralized control. This is both of this device and others that may be integrated with it.
They can be used for live streaming of audio messages. This could be in the form of background music, public announcements, emergency notifications, intercom communication, and more. On the whole, they offer a great deal of versatility for live audio streaming purposes.
They come in very handy in various settings. For example, there are top-quality IP speakers for commercial environments such as healthcare centers, retail stores, educational institutions, and transportation hubs. Scalability is one of the major reasons they can fit into several commercial, industrial, and even residential settings.
They can meet small-scale needs and still have no issues meeting large-scale needs in the long term. This is a reason to consider making the most of them.
Security Is of Utmost Importance
Network connectivity is a unique feature of IP speakers and the reason it offers several of its advantages. Be that as it may, caution is of the essence.
For one, network connections have to be very secure to avoid network breaches through tampering or unauthorized access. This is more of a priority in some settings than in others.
IP speakers can offer quite a lot provided the right brand and product is purchased. Information about key features and characteristics of these speakers has been disclosed here to enable you to make informed choices when buying IP speakers. So, take notice of this going forward.