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Down to the Wire

Signal transmission methodology is an essential ingredient to optimize a video surveillance system. While more than half of existing systems use coaxial, Ethernet cabling is growing fast as IP-based systems proliferate. And then there’s fiber optics. Learn how to evaluate and balance critical factors to achieve the best results.




Selecting a video transmission method must balance the needed functionality of cameras in light of: maximum cable run distances; power requirements; installation issues and time; video quality; integration with other systems; and cost.Uniquely, with fiber, physical security can have its own strands in the shared fiber bundle, thus achieving a standalone posture while also being part of the overall enterprise infrastructure.

Additionally, dark fiber (a.k.a. unlit or unused fiber) is widely available in many buildings and throughout local, regional and national networks. There is an estimated 80 million dark fibers installed in North America, thanks to the .com bubble of past years, new construction practices and technological advances in getting more traffic through the installed base. That’s because the cost of individual fibers is quite low, so extra strands have little impact on the budget. During installation, it’s not uncommon to break a fiber, so spares are handy to have with the aim that enough usable fibers will be available.

However, there are challenges with fiber including materials and installation cost, operation of the installation itself, and ongoing maintenance. Smart security dealers and integrators, staying on top of their game and with their clients in mind, have invested in technician training and the proper tools and testers to handle fiber connections. And, after installation, they know how best to troubleshoot.

Think Future to Make Final Decision

Today, the move from analog to digital is, in most parts, a done deal. Analog is still popular and the best solution only in residential and small commercial venues. But even in these circumstances the average buyer is used to a HD TV at home and is not impressed with analog’s picture clarity. Instead, they seek the image clarity of 1.3-megapixel or larger cameras. Pointing this out is a good way to get customers to move up to IP and the world it opens up for them in the future. In applications with 32+ cameras, 99 percent of the installations are IP. 

Take your pick of transmission technologies. Check what is already installed within the facility and see if it provides the best ROI (return on investment). But whatever you do, don’t only plan for today. Plan for what your customer’s surveillance system will need to be doing 10 years from now. One thing you can count on, you won’t be transmitting fewer images.

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Article Topics
Video Surveillance · Systems Integration · Analog Video · Coaxial Cable · Features · IP Video · Signal Transmission Methodology · UTP Cabling · All Topics
Analog Video, Coaxial Cable, Features, IP Video, Signal Transmission Methodology, UTP Cabling, Wiring


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