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Is DALI-2 fast enough?

A common discussion point about DALI is the speed of the DALI bus. In this post, we would like to share some facts and our experience.

The native baud rate of the DALI-bus is slower than the baud rate of protocols like DMX – this is a fact. But the really important question is : is it relevant and a killer for DALI-2? The answer is NO and this is why: DMX needs to have a faster bus, because it is a channel based protocol, while DALI is a group based protocol. This means, that if a command needed to communicate to turn the lighting on for a room of 20 light fittings using DMX would send 20 separate commands, while DALI would only require to send one command. In consequence, DMX would need to be 20x faster to turn on the same 20 light fittings within the same period of time. Means the speed of the bus is one thing, the other one is the efficiency and efficacy of the protocol.

Another common argument, used against DALI-2, is the limitation to 64 light fittings per line. Also here, the question shall be allowed: is it relevant and a killer for DALI-2? From experience we know, that the segregation of lines does make a lot of sense and is good, common practices: it’s in fact the basis of every decentralized and subsequently more stable lighting control architecture. DMX on the other hand is following a much more centralistic design, what makes the architecture rather vulnerable: what if in critical moment the central system dies? A major benefit of zencontrol DALI-2 is the affordability of the application controllers and devices, which makes the decision to add another application controller a non-brainer.   

It also must be considered, what the DALI standard is designed for: the ambition behind DALI was never to control a show-light infrastructure, with fast changing light and show effects. DALI was not born to become the better DMX. The ambition behind DALI was rather to design a solid, sophisticated and open standard for the lighting automation of buildings, including features like tenant integration, human centric lighting, long-term scheduling of light events, multi-site management, energy optimization as well as preventive management of the used lights. This is what DALI-2 can do excellently for you. 

The DALI Alliance – the regulatory body of DALI – is continuously developing and releasing further expansions (called DALI books) for the standard, convincing with amazing features, a high level of security to protect the sensitive infrastructure from (cyber) attacks, robustness and amazing possibilities to integrate with other standards, across all OEM’s. 

The recent Announcement of DALI+ – which describes the next generation of DALI, allowing a native wireless, Ethernet and IP based communication – will provide another boost in speed and functionality.

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And now? 

As with all technologies, there are always advantages, as well as disadvantages. We know from other technology discussions, that rather often not the most sophisticated technology / standard is surviving, but the the one with the best robustness, interoperability and simplicity. 

 At Zoomlux, our paradigm in designing Light Management Systems (LMS) is to use the technologies and standards with the best match to the requirements of the project.

Zencontrol is our platform of choice, because we’re convinced from practical experience in many projects. It provides amazing possibilities in terms of functionality, integration and reliability, for a very affordable price as explained on this website. This is, what our clients want!   



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