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Video Network Access

I have a requirement to have a 3 camera video suveillance system in a small medical office.  We will be running Sony NVR software (Real Shot Manager 3.0) application for managing and recording for the camera system.   The cameras will be Sony RZ30N's.  The Real Shot Manager NVR software will be running on a dedicated workstation on its own network per Sony's recommendation (so lets call this network 1).  In addition, we will be running a Client / Server network for all normal office applications, medical records, medical billing program, etc (let's call this network 2).  The Sony Real Shot Manager comes with client app to enable viewing of various camera's on client PC's.  

Sony recommends that ideally, the video system be run on it's own network so as not to interfere with other apps.  However, my client wants to be able to run the RealShot Manager client (so he can montior the arrival of new patients, etc)  on a couple of PC's belonging to network 2 (the medical data network) without encountering data/bandwidth issues (crashes, etc).  

As I see it, I can bite the bullet and just keep the networks completely separate avoiding any issues, however this does not provide the required functionality.  Alternatively, I can maximize the data handling capacity of a single network (Gigabit infrastructure) and try to accomodate all functions (video data and office apps data) together on a single network.

So I am seeking advice on how to address this networking issue.  Any topographical or hardware suggestions are appreciated.

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Joseph HornseyPresident and JanitorCommented:

I think that it all depends on your budget and what kind of bandwidth the Sony cameras are taking up.

I've set up something similar for some of the banks I work for.  We've got 9 cameras in one location and 5 in the other.  Both locations are 100Mbps switched networks, but we use good switches (Cisco).  There's a T1 between the two locations, but some of the channels are used for voice.  We have had no problems at all with performance once we put the cameras on the network, but that's because they're not Ethernet cameras... they go into a video appliance.

So, I think you could do two things:

1. If they're 100Mpbs cameras, you could put the rest of your network on Gigabit switches and be fine.  You'd have to make sure you've got Gb cards in all of your PCs and servers.  I mean, that's 10x the bandwidth that the cameras require.. they can't eat it all up.

2. Maintain two physically separate networks, but put a router between them.  You can by a cheap router (I'd still stick with Cisco - look for a used or refurbished 1720 or 1750 on eBay) and then add an Ethernet card into it and route between the two networks.  This would keep the camera traffic isolated on its own network, but still allow you to access it from the other.

Let me know your thoughts.

billrush2Author Commented:

Yes these are IP cams which use 5Mbs at full resolution.  If I try to do 2 separate networks, how would this be set up?  Would 1 router would present be facing the WAN and the other would present the video network to the first router?  How would you suggest the addresses be configured.  I am short on network experience other than simple stuff.

Do you think there would be a real benefit to using 2 networks given the fact that we are trying to view the video's on the medical data network side.  Would an alternative be to simply use separate switches for the 2 functions (video & medical data).  Looks to me like if the switches were separated (all camera stuff connects to switch 1 and all medical data connect to switch 2, then bandwith and data collision issues would be adequastely adressed - maybe not?  We have no other reason to keep these networks separate (user access, data security, etc).  If separating the switches takes care of the issue, we have the advantage of simplicity!

Joseph HornseyPresident and JanitorCommented:
You know, separate switches may be the way to go on this.  I mean, if the cameras are connecting to the PC using the PC's IP address, then that would be unicast traffic, so the switch wouldn't flood all of its ports the way it would on a broadcast or multicast packet.  I was thinking multicast, but that's probably not the case.

Probably the easiest thing to do is to buy a second switch and link the two together (via crossover cable or uplink port).  Keep all of the cameras and their PC on one and everything else on the other.  That would probably be good enough and you wouldn't have to route.

Worst case scenario, you do that and then discover that you're producing too much traffic.  Well, if that happens, just unplug the link between the two switches and come back here and ask about a router.  :-)


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