Your Closed IPTV Questions Answered

Dedicated Micros President Mike Newton addresses some of the most frequently asked questions about Closed IPTV.

In essence Closed IPTV, which I was instrumental in creating, has been brought to market to deliver all of the simplicity and security of a traditional CCTV installation to the IP environment. Standard or HD resolution IP cameras can be automatically identified by a suitably equipped DVR/NVR — such as the SD Advanced Closed IPTV Model coupled with DM’s Layer 3 enhanced CCTV switch — as an “exclusive” point-to-point relationship. Combining patent-pending innovation in the application layer, with zeroconf (zero configuration) networking technology each camera is assigned a specific network port. The key for us, with patent-pending Closed IPTV, is the adoption of a deterministic set-up which means that no intervention is required and, crucially, the routing of network video is exclusively managed and tracked through an integrated switch to thwart any hacking attacks.

Turning to some typical questions regarding Closed IPTV:

Q: Does Dedicated Micros’ Closed IPTV technology only have a short term appeal to those afraid of IP Video?

A: Dedicated Micros believes this is not the case. Closed IPTV offers ease of installation and key benefits to far more than the user or installer who may be afraid of ‘setting a few IP addresses’. While simple segregated IPTV solutions have been implemented, they are often open to attack compromising the video being delivered, and many of the benefits are lost from the segregation as soon as access is shared with the general network.

The Closed IPTV solution we are bringing to market is far more than just a simple discovery scheme as proposed by others in the marketplace which offer little more than a custom DHCP (dynamic host configuration) server, which updates system parameters when the IP address is dynamically re-allocated, and no other system protection. In particular, Closed IPTV addresses segregation of the IP system while still allowing access as required direct to the cameras, for multicast as an example.

If IP camera systems are going to offer genuine benefits over IP video enabled analog solutions this will only be achieved if the IP connectivity of the cameras themselves can be leveraged to improve return on investment (ROI) otherwise the IP technology is just an alternative, and more complex, transport medium. It is short sighted for people to claim a limited appeal for Closed IPTV until the full sophistication and advantages are fully understood.

Q: Does Closed IPTV lock you in to proprietary protocols?

A: No, Closed IPTV provides increased ease of installation and security depending on the equipment used. The Layer 3 enhanced CCTV switch functionality, combined with the Dedicated Micros’ NVR provides basic deterministic solutions which operate with any IP products, and in the majority of cases will give enhanced security capabilities at either VLAN (virtual local area network) or MAC (media access control) access control list level, with little user intervention.

However when used with Dedicated Micros’ products significant extra advantages are enabled, with fully automated IP discovery and allocation with transparent default configurations and setup options. Further enhancements such as ‘Trusted Endpoint’ technology are only realized with Dedicated Micros’ products.

Q: Are the security techniques of Closed IPTV proprietary, and hence unfamiliar or unwelcome to many users?

A: The proprietary systems utilized are firstly targeted at the physical layer, through the Layer 3 enhanced CCTV switch employed. This removes much of the burden of achieving in a single user operation, MAC ACL and VLAN restrictions which would otherwise have to be implemented by a specialist installer with significant additional effort.

The IP scheme is unique in that it allows a general private network address range, as operated in the client’s existing installation, to potentially operate concurrently with an auto configured address scheme. Once configured, it is the user’s choice to rely upon the DHCP/Static generated addresses, or the automatic configuration addresses, or in fact both. This is implemented using dual MAC/VLAN techniques, transparently supported by the Layer 3 enhanced CCTV switch.

The further implementations of ‘Trusted Endpoint’ in Closed IPTV are specifically designed to meet the unusual needs of CCTV, in that the key benefit of TCP/IP on the Web is specifically non-deterministic, and when secure connections are required, it is typical that the client is in an insecure location, and the server protected in a secure location.

For CCTV we specifically demand that the connection to the camera is unequivocal as a physical device, with deterministic knowledge of its location, and that the ‘servers’, i.e. the cameras, are typically located outside the protected area, and the user is typically inside the protected area. This requires bespoke and focused solutions, rather than the general case of the Web.

Q: Is the Layer 3 Enhanced CCTV Switch used in Closed IPTV custom to Dedicated Micros and does it support PoE (power over Ethernet)?

A: Yes, the switch is a custom device, heavily integrated into the NVR user interface to allow the specific and key goals to be achieved in the required environment for CCTV. It supports dual address ranges and VLANS, as well as the various additional security protocols. While the maximum benefit is achieved with NetVu Connected devices from Dedicated Micros, it will also provide basic benefits for any IP camera, to much the same level as can typically be achieved by a number of hours of custom configuration of an ‘off the shelf’ layer 2 or 3 switch.

All the NetVu Connected parts are available in PoE (power over Ethernet) versions, and the only unconfirmed date is the exact production scheduled build of the PoE versions of the Layer 3 enhanced CCTV switch. First production quantities of the non PoE version are now available, with full approval and availability of the PoE version anticipated before the end of the calendar year. All NetVu Connected PoE capable cameras will additionally be shipped with a passive PoE injector.

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