IP Migration Without the Migraines

Ethernet over coax (EoC) enables more installers to approach IP migration projects with a new set of financial and installation options. An EoC solution’s elegance is its simplicity of design and application – and everyone saves money.

Sometimes it seems all we hear about is how the entire video surveillance industry will be migrating from analog-based to superior IP video systems. There are a lot of end users in the market being told the only way to lay out a video surveillance network is via structured cabling such as Category-5 or -6 cable, fiber optics or wireless. Not to rain on anyone’s parade, but migrating to IP does not have to be an all-or-nothing, 100-meter-limited cabling proposition on the network. Ethernet and PoE over existing legacy coax can allow analog-to-IP migration when needed, at full coax distances, with reduced cost and minimal operational impact.

The practical reality is that systems integrators and end users alike need IP video surveillance migration and installation options. They need greater choice of how to accomplish the migration while maintaining a realistic budget. Let’s take a look.

Viable Alternative Amid IP Transition

For decades, millions of analog-based CCTV cameras have been connected to recording and control equipment via common coaxial cable. In fact, about 80% of analog cameras were installed with coax and most of those cable runs are less than 750 feet. For the past few years, most new surveillance systems have gone in with IP cameras connected via unshielded twisted pair (UTP) and fiber to a switch, a network recording device or software and control equipment.

That meant if you wanted to retrofit or migrate to IP video surveillance from analog CCTV, you had to recable using Cat-5+ UTP or fiber. In the case of UTP IP networks, cable extenders had to be added every 300 feet or so, thereby increasing cost and complexity. It also meant if you wanted to go that way, all the coax had to come out — read: be yanked out (per fire code) — and the UTP or fiber was pulled into place, terminated and tagged.

The alternative to that scenario is using legacy coax cable from the analog CCTV system to take advantage of the extended distance benefits afforded by Ethernet over coax (EoC). The elegance of the EoC solution is its simplicity of design and application; that is, using existing coax and reducing overall cost. The technology enables more end users/installers to approach an IP migration project with a new set of timetable, financial and installation parameters.

7 Core Advantages of EoC Solution

For those who only want to read this far, here is a summary of the most important points:

  1. Lower cable, IDF closet power outlet and labor costs
  2. IP migration can be done at your pace, incrementally
  3. Ability to connect multiple IP cameras to one coax cable; saves cable, time and resources
  4. The average distance for an analog camera connection is 750 feet; because this technology allows extended distance transmission (more than five times that of standard 100m Ethernet) there is no need for Ethernet extenders or new AC power outlets from wiring closet(s) in the field location
  5. Simple, quick installation
  6. Reuse of existing cable means no recycling and no earthly resources used for new cable
  7. Facility disruption is dramatically reduced

For those wanting a little more meat on the bones of this approach, read on.

Perks of Capitalizing on Coax

Averting forklift upgrades, flexibility, cost-effectiveness, simplicity and seamlessness are all benefits associated with the EoC solution.

Leveraging Existing Investment — If one was to install an entirely new UTP network infrastructure, the project would be done in one pass, but legacy coax can be migrated from analog cameras to IP cameras in the timeframe chosen by the end user. Because the technology takes advantage of the reuse of legacy coax cable, and reduced labor, it can cost as little as 25% of an IP upgrade.

Multiple IP Cameras/Devices on One Coax Cable — The typical EoC product on the market is point-to-point, meaning there is one locally powered transceiver at the camera and one locally powered transceiver at the control room. This is OK for small systems, but is not efficient for systems featuring large numbers of IP and megapixel cameras.

A better and more unique solution is to have a single EoC transceiver at the control room, which maximizes the EoC potential by supporting up to four remote transceivers and their cameras. Note, the ability of this technology to leverage one coax run that splits out to supply transmission links to up to four cameras. Streaming video and PoE are supported at distances far beyond the 328-foot Ethernet standard. This provides greatly enhanced legacy coax network system leverage, allowing easy and cost-effective IP camera upgrades, with minimal installation labor.

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