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Video Surveillance Infrastructure for the Future

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Think ahead when planning new video surveillance infrastructure installations.  Realize the benefits of forward planning in regards to what type of cable will be used. Take advantage of modern advancements in the way video surveillance infrastructure is installed.  Remember maintenance when analyzing video surveillance infrastructure options.  Strive for consistency and simplicity in surveillance system design. Be aware of limiting yourself by installing antiquated type cable that restricts flexibility.

The underlined words above are the critical components of designing a video surveillance infrastructure with the future in mind.  Following the suggested process protects your investment and creates a flexible, user friendly architecture that can be easily maintained, modified, and expanded.

Category-type cable is usually referred to as CAT5E, CAT6, CAT6A, or other similar nomenclature. It is traditionally associated with IT network and telephone infrastructure.  The larger, heavier, and more expensive coaxial cable is what most people are familiar with in legacy video surveillance system installations. Advancements in the technical security industry make it possible to use category cable to replace coaxial and 2 conductor cables that were the industry standard for decades.

Traditional systems have a minimum of 2 to 3 cables to each camera consisting of a coaxial cable, 2 – 2 conductor cables for power and data (for pan/tilt/zoom cameras).  This cumbersome and expensive option is a thing of the past.  Orion Security Solutions provides education to fellow integrators and end users to make all aware of the benefits of using category cable for the video surveillance infrastructure.  Some of the key benefits are outlined below:

  • Only 1 cable is needed for power, video, and data per camera
  • The transmission distance is much greater
  • The cost is lower
  • The signal integrity is higher
  • The flexibility is much higher
  • Installation time is less
  • Maintenance is less
  • Troubleshooting is easy
  • The IT department (who is often in charge of surveillance and security now) is familiar with this type of cable and related connections
  • The required infrastructure (conduit, J-hooks, etc.) is less
  • Cable color is selectable (to distinguish video surveillance cable from others)

Security and surveillance technology advancements, administration changes, area function modifications, and many other variables often result in the need to expand or change the surveillance coverage.  Sometimes surveillance is eliminated from certain areas all together.  Wouldn’t it be nice to not tear out and throw away the existing cables, but rather use them to add network drops, IP cameras, or other end network appliances?  This is the result of using category cable.

Transceiver hubs receive the video signals while sending power and data to the camera from the system’s backend via a single category cable.  The hubs are neat, organized, and simple.  They are rack mounted devices that can be installed directly over or under the digital video recorder (DVR) in the rack so that small BNC jumpers can be used to connect the video outputs from the transceiver hubs to the video inputs of the DVR. Other types of transceiver hubs are built to only receive the video signal from the camera via the category cable assuming camera power is coming from a different source.  Video baluns on the camera end of the cable convert the connection to types that the camera can use.  For example, the video signal will be converted from the associated pair in the category cable to BNC. Devices like this revolutionize video surveillance infrastructure.

The overall design and implementation of the video surveillance infrastructure is critical in the initial project stages.  There are many options to consider and choosing the best one often means considering the design elements mentioned above in the introductory paragraph.  This task can be complicated and time consuming, but the benefits are vast.  Please don’t hesitate to contact one of the experts at Orion Security Solutions for any needed assistance.

Be sure to follow The O next Wednesday as we discuss additional aspects of the world of technical security.

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Sean Crain is founder and CEO of Orion Security Solutions (OSS). Prior to starting OSS, Sean spent over eight years with the U.S. Department of State as a Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) Officer working in nearly 40 countries on 6 continents around the world including Thailand, Vietnam, Burma, Switzerland, Indonesia, Australia, Cambodia, Austria, Germany, Poland, Kenya, Uganda, Egypt, Brazil, Peru, and Columbia.

He received advanced training in the techniques and methodologies of counter intelligence and anti-terrorism in order to carry out responsibilities which included designing, installing, and maintaining state-of-the-art security solutions to protect national security information, U.S Embassies and other sensitive U.S. facilities, and diplomatic personnel, including U.S. Presidents and Secretaries of State. Sean was also called upon to design and implement security protocols and systems which included video surveillance, intruder detection, access controls, locks, perimeter security, and assessments. He also played an integral role in writing the U.S. Department of State security policies for post communications centers, controlled access areas, and building management systems in U.S. Embassies, U.S. Consulates, and inter-agency facilities worldwide.