Alpha Omega Wireless Blog

Wireless IP Video

Posted by Joe Wargo on Fri, Feb 19, 2010 @ 04:03 PM

The video market is merging from traditional analog cctv to IP based camera systems. There are many advantages to IP based camera systems over traditional analog cctv. First, it's more cost effective to deploy IP cameras on existing IT infrastructure. Second, there are fewer points of failures (e.g. encoders, transceivers, decoders, multiplexers, analog monitors, etc.). Third, IP based cameras have more functionality. Fourth, it's easier to centralize and manage multiple sites. Fifth, better storage and achieving solutions. Finally it's easier for an IT department to support (they don't need special tools and training on coax. They already know how to work with CAT-5e).

The drawbacks are the need for greater bandwidth across the IT network and the limitation of CAT-5e to 100m (unless you are using Ethernet extenders). The solution to both problems can easily be solved by the use of wireless networks. With wireless IP video cameras can be deployed virtually anywhere. Bandwidth also becomes a non issue as a wireless network can be scaled easily.

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Putting video across wireless can be tricky. To optimize video streaming over wireless, whether we are talking about point-to-point, point-to-multipoint, or mesh networks, some experience and knowledge is needed. First is selecting the right wireless equipment. Many wireless manufactures offer QOS and VLAN tagging capabilities which make for ideal video surveillance configurations, as we typically want our video network to be on a separate subnet than our traditional data and voice traffic.

If you know what you are doing and have a solid background in wireless and IP networks it's easily done. The problem we see most of the time is the company doing the deployment is lacking in one of the areas. Too often we see installations that have issues because the installer just throw up a bunch of mesh equipment, using omni-directional antennas, hoping for a plug and play situation. What happens is a lot of self interference (along with outside interference) and too much latency on the network. Even though many hardware manufactures would like you to believe their equipment is plug-n-play that's not how it works in the real world. Someone that is well trained in wireless networks should be used to deploy any such networks so they can be optimized and configured properly.

Understanding IP video is another area we see issues. Many traditional analog cctv vendors just don't understand IP networks well enough. If your vendor doesn't understand QOS and VLAN technology they probably don't have enough experience to deploy a wireless video solution.

Just like wireless hardware not all being the same nor is the IP cameras. Some work well over wireless and some have issues. Choosing the right camera is important. It's best to make sure before purchasing and deploying any wireless video solution that you have (or at least get confirmation) that the matching of a wireless manufacture's equipment and a particular IP camera system work well together. My company, Alpha Omega Wireless, deploys a lot of IP video surveillance cameras over wireless networks. We'll be performing various test of different video cameras on various wireless equipment and will be posting regularly the results. Stay tuned!

Tags: General, wireless video