Techniques to Ensure Flawless Connectivity Between Video Surveillance Cameras and Command Centers

Video surveillance systems thrive on 24/7 monitoring. However, subpar connection between cameras and control facilities can lessen the systems’ effectiveness.

Video surveillance has proven to be extremely beneficial to help protect not just buildings and homes, but also lives by combining a wide variety of ever-evolving technologies. In recent years, there has been incredible growth in the video surveillance market with law enforcement agencies embracing video surveillance to enhance security in problematic areas across cities. This has resulted in the general public feeling more comfortable making purchases at shops, parking their cars and frequenting areas that are well covered with security cameras.

The use of surveillance technology has also increased across many vertical markets to protect the world’s ports, airports, cities and transportation infrastructure, as well as schools, hospitals, government and other critical environments.

For each of these markets it is important to capture, analyze and record video. However, in order to achieve the desired results, surveillance systems must contain both hardware and software solutions coupled with a surveillance network or physical infrastructure to carry video feeds from their point of origin to control rooms or command centers.

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One of the prime reasons for deploying video surveillance systems is their capability to provide 24/7 monitoring. Therefore, lost data serves to undermine this primary purpose of the system. To ensure the unfailing operation of these services, highly reliable, scalable and easy-to-deploy networks must be in place. Surveillance networks oftentimes require connectivity to carry video feeds from multiple deployed cameras distributed over one or more sites to the control room for viewing, recording and analysis. Flawless connectivity is the key to providing a consistently high quality of service assurance and security protection – even more so as video surveillance technologies mature and require more bandwidth with greater transmission speeds.

Let’s consider various techniques that may be used to transmit video feeds from cameras to monitors at command and control facilities, with a particular focus on the advantages of wireless transmission.

Minding the Connectivity Challenge

With the rise in global terrorism and pervasive criminal activities, authorities around the globe recognize the numerous benefits of using video surveillance networks for public safety. The number of surveillance cameras per area has increased significantly, while at the same time more and more cameras are installed in new locations and different environments. Developments in surveillance technology, such as megapixel technologies, enhanced video analytics and improved pan/tilt/zoom (p/t/z) functionality provided today by cameras, often surpass infrastructure capabilities and cause network overloads. The demand on these networks to continuously expand is exponential.

Surveillance networks typically have a longer life expectancy than the devices (cameras, radars) that connect to them. These facts irrefutably indicate the need for networks to be designed and built with the potential capacity of tomorrow – as much as a tenfold increase on the demand recognized today.

In the race to maximize system capabilities, the importance of utilizing network components with greater adaptability is becoming more critical. This substantial growth requires surveillance networks to provide even more applications and greater bandwidth, and to support additional law enforcement authorities. Solution architects are constantly seeking technologies to reliably transport ever-growing video data. Taking full advantage of the benefits provided by today’s technology — and tomorrow’s potential — will require making the right choices in the configuration of the network, the heart of surveillance systems.

Maximizing the “carrying capacity” on the network is crucial and is accomplished through choosing cost-effective technologies. As today’s video payload is mostly IP-based, it is usually provided by a service provider; thus, its constant payload pattern results in premium fees. Tested and proven (carrier-grade) wireless systems, with sufficient capacity and the essential encryption algorithm, AES 256, are available and affordable. Also, authority owned or privately held networks built from existing fiber, combined with wireless systems, are becoming viable alternatives and adopted in more and more projects.

Building flexible network models will aptly address the network capacity challenge. Emerging surveillance technologies today often surpass the maximum capacities of deployed networks. Furthermore, surveillance networks typically have a longer life expectancy than the devices (cameras, radars) that connect to them. These facts irrefutably indicate the need for networks to be designed and built with the potential capacity of tomorrow – as much as a tenfold increase on the demand recognized today. Planning for future demand means that a network is well positioned to take advantage of new technical advances.

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A flexible design facilitates implementation of upgrades and patches in existing technologies. It is also the key to maintaining quality of services, and a consistent supply of adequate bandwidth. Failure to plan could quickly turn network limitations into showstoppers. It is highly desirable that a network be flexible enough to take full advantage of new camera capabilities as they arrive, without needing to replace network infrastructure components.

Network congestion has become a trend. It occurs when a link or node is carrying so much data that quality of service deteriorates. A fundamental problem is that all network resources are limited, including router processing time and link throughput. To ensure optimal utilization of new bandwidth intensive applications, while avoiding adverse effects on quality of service (QoS) caused by overwhelming capacity demands, transmission technology capabilities must improve. This demand will very soon not be able to be handled, and millimeter wave wireless networking links will have to be implemented between network aggregation and access layers.

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