:: SECURITY ::
Internet Protocol (IP) cameras and
video-surveillance equipment have
proven invaluable in the security
industry, and they’ve begun to appear
just about everywhere. Whether
they’re installed in universities, shopping malls, sports arenas or residential neighborhoods, IP cameras have
proven their worth again and again. A
single person viewing a bank of monitors can replace a small army of roving
watchmen, dramatically cutting security costs. But IP cameras can only do
their jobs if there’s a way to get their
data where it needs to go, and there are
numerous challenges that must be overcome, which I list and describe here.
Range —Copper Ethernet cable
has a range limitation of 100 meters.
That’s adequate in the home or small
office, but it’s rarely enough for a security system. IP cameras may need to
be installed anywhere from parking
garages to pipelines. Copper Ethernet
cable won’t do the job.
Environmental concerns —Many
IP cameras will need to perform in
harsh temperatures. To control costs,
reduce truck rolls, and meet the need
for uptime, their Ethernet connections
must be rugged and resilient enough
to do the job well outside of the safe,
climate-controlled information tech-
nology (IT) closet. Many cameras will
require associated heaters, increas-
ing the need for power at the installa-
Bandwidth —All IP cameras require a
lot of bandwidth. Even simple systems
call for 100 Mbits/sec. High-definition
cameras require even more. There is an
increasing demand for flexible solutions
that assign IP addresses to individual
cameras, allowing for direct manage-
ment and monitoring of each camera
location using software-based manage-
Remote management—The more
complex the network becomes, the
greater the need for centrally located
remote monitoring, management and
testing tools like Simple Network
Management Protocol (SNMP), Remote
Network Monitoring (RMON1), and
Operations, Administration and
Single-box solutions —An IP cam-
era is just one node on the network,
and modern networks may include any
mix of copper, wireless and fiber. This
calls for media conversion at interfaces
between all of the different systems.
To keep things manageable, it’s useful
to deploy single-box, multiport devices
that can provide multiple conversions
for cabling and connected devices. This
simplifies network topologies, saves
space and reduces the number of pos-
sible failure points.
Power—Network topologies may
require that cameras function in loca-
tions that lack a nearby power source.
The fiber-optic solution
Fiber-optic cabling systems can
address several of the challenges outlined above, and also provide other benefits to an IP-surveillance deployment.
Range —Copper Ethernet’s 100-
meter range is dwarfed by fiber’s
capabilities. Multimode fiber provides ranges of up to 2 kilometers.
Singlemode cable can cover 100 km.
With its long range and massive bandwidth, fiber can connect an IP camera
Single-box solutions —Traditional
Layer 2/3 fiber switches like those
Overcoming challenges when
provisioning IP security and
In many cases, media-conversion technology can
play an important role in successful deployment.
BY SUSAN STANLE Y, B&B ELECTRONICS