Mailing List
Mailing List
Sign Up Here
Like, follow & share: visit DrayTek UK's Facebook page visit DrayTek UK's Twitter page visit DrayTek UK's Linkedin page


VigorSwitch V1281 - Getting Started

Installing and configuring your VigorSwitch V1281 should be very straightforward if you plan carefully and are clear about your network and A/V topology.


Before starting, ensure that you know how many sources (Satellite Receivers, Blu-Ray, DVD, STB etc.) you will have and how many outputs (screens/projectors) you’ll be feeding to. You will need an HDMI-to-IP sender for each source and a receiver for each output.


This setup guide demonstrates how to initially configure the DrayTek VigorSwitch V1281 in the following sections, which should be worked through in order of their number - specifically, we recommend to connect up HDMI over IP hardware once the DrayTek VigorSwitch V1281 has been configured to know which ports will operate as video Sources and which as Outputs:

Section Description
1. Principles of Operation An overview of how the VigorSwitch V1281 is used and the terminology used in this article
2. Accessing the VigorSwitch Locate the VigorSwitch V1281 on a network, then accessing its Web UI
3. Defining Port Functions Configure the VigorSwitch V1281's Source and Output ports
4. Connecting the Hardware Connect the VigorSwitch V1281 to HDMI over IP Extender devices
5. User Operation Using the VigorSwitch V1281 to select video sources


1. Principles of Operation

1. Principles of Operation

Although you may have used DrayTek switches for regular networking applications previously, the V1281 is different because it’s designed for switching A/V.


Sources and Outputs

Throughout this guide and also within the V1281’s admin interface we will refer to sources and outputs.  

•    A source is any device which is providing a video or audio output – most commonly a DVD/Blu-ray player, a satellite receiver or other set-top box or a CCTV system.  
•    An output is what you’ll be watching or listening on, such as a TV, a projector or an amplifier/receiver.   

Also, in our setup guides and in the switch GUI we will generally colour code sources in red and outputs in green to aid with illustration and clarity.  

HDMI vs. Ethernet Cabling

Like any Ethernet switch, the V1281 has RJ-45 sockets on the front, not HDMI.  Although native HDMI switches do exist, cable lengths are limited and the cables themselves are more costly and complex to wire up.
Using Ethernet means you use low cost CAT5e (or higher) cable which often already exists in a location. If you use fibre optic cable, Ethernet can carry for many kilometers if needed; the VigorSwitch can support up to 4 SFP fibre modules.
Using CAT5e also means that the V1281 is very scalable – you can add as many or few sources or outputs as you need up to the maximum number of ports whereas with a native HDMI switch, it will have a fixed number of ports, which you pay for whether you need them or not.  With the V1281 your AV signals can also share the network or networking infrastructure with your data networking for PCs or other devices.


Converting HDMI to IP – Using Extenders

The source’s HDMI output has to be converted into a TCP/IP stream which can be handled by the V1281 and to connect to CAT5e RJ-45 connections (or CAT6). For this you need an HDMI to IP adaptor (or ‘extender).  These are available from many vendors, either as pairs or sender and receiver units individually. Prices vary considerable depending on features, brand/quality and resolution or picture quality.

A VigorSwitch V1281 might, for example, have two sources (e.g. two satellite receivers) and eight TVs around the premises, or it might have ten sources and just two screens – you can have any combination, providing just the right number of converters/extenders so you’re not paying for HDMI ports you don’t need – you just purchase the right number of HDMI-to-IP convertors.

As there are many similar looking products, it is essential is that the HDMI-to-IP adaptor/extender that you use supports IP.  Some devices can send an HDMI signal over CAT5/CAT6 cable, but using a proprietary method, and not IP or Ethernet. That type of device will not work with the VigorSwitch V1281 and may even cause damage so please be sure that the device you connect uses IP and Ethernet (10/100/1000BaseT).  Any additional functions or features, such as IR (infra-red) pass-through, RS-232 pass-through, HDMI loop-through, maximum resolution or the type of codec used will depend on your requirements and budget.  Also consider how the extenders are powered and whether you need to rack mount them.


Setup Example

In the example below, a pub has with three source devices on the left and four output screens on the right:

For this example, you would need three HDMI-over-IP senders and four receivers. Any port on the V1281 can be defined as one of three modes (source, output or LAN) so it doesn’t matter which port you select for your sources or outputs. Later, when you configure the V1281, you will allocate each port’s function.


Coloured cables are used for illustrative purposes only – Red are our sources, Green our outputs and the Purple cables are LAN (networking connections) for PCs, routers, uplinks, wireless bases etc.   Remember, any port can be set to any of those functions but we’ve grouped them in this photograph because it’s simpler (and looks pretty). Also, you won’t necessarily have 4+4+3 – you can have any combination.