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Small office video security system connections, PoE, BNC, WIFI, etc

Posted on 2010-08-17
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
I see posts up here from a few years ago about video security systems and I'd like to know how much has changed. Specifically, I saw posts associated with BNC camera equipment with DVR systems. The down sides to this for our company would be a new tool set (for BNC) and powering the BNC camera (AC wiring and 12V adapters). The DVR part I'm pretty comfortable with. I don't mind a closed loop (direct wired) system, I also don't mind a shared LAN system.

The desired camera locations would be indoors and outdoors, good light and bad, short range (5 - 10 feet) and long range (10 - 50 feet).

My ideal solution would be a solid company with cameras that are Ethernet based with PoE. I'd also like a WIFI option that would be powered by AC and stream data wireless.

I'd prefer higher quality than lower cost. I'm not looking to throw money out the window though.

On other issue that may be addressed is outdoor cabling. I have done PoE outdoors before and it really is important to have the ethernet cable that is rated for outdoor use even though it is more expensive. I wonder if this has something to do with I see BNC systems so much?

We are a computer company that could possibly resell and support systems so if a vendor is a good partner for this type of business that would also be perferred.

If I'm barking up the wrong tree for a 4 - 8 camera system then I prefer experts to point out that the ideal solution for me is not what I want.

I'll leave this question open for a little while in hopes to get a good amount of options for review.

Thanks everyone!
BK
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Question by:byteharmony
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aleghart earned 250 total points
ID: 33458514
BNC are just a connector for coax cable.  Coax is used because of cabling distance, familiarity, re-use of existing infrastructure wiring, etc.

PoE outdoors needs CMX if you're not in conduit.  But, if this goes through a plenum, you can't use the "X" general purpose.  You need to run it in conduit.

Axis has a wide line of PoE cameras, analog cameras, and analog-to-IP converters for existing analog cameras.  If you like to stick with one brand so you know who to call (one vendor can't point fingers at the other vendor), then this is a good idea.  They're not the cheapest out there, but that's not what you wanted.

Power to analog cameras is not a mystery.  You can run power along with the coax, and power everything from a central power supply, including battery and fuse box.  The attractiveness of analog cameras is quick swap out, switching/splitting of video signal to multiple locations, and ease of use.

PoE would be best with a network switch that handles FastEthernet and PoE at the same time.  You can plug this switch into your computer's battery backup, which might not run as long as the backup for analog cameras.  Netgear has a few PoE switches.  I have a couple larger ones.
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by:Fixforyou
Fixforyou earned 250 total points
ID: 33465631
I'll start with the WiFi solution, it's hard to bet Apples Airport Extreme which allow multiple networks for guest networking (up to 50 users at once).  http://www.apple.com/airportextreme/

Now for a larger office you would want a Cisco corporate WiFi device of some sort.

Next, as far as a DVR system, I worked at ADT security for several years selling DVR units and camera solutions.  By far BNC/Analog cameras are more reliable in every way and as the first comment from aleghart, they are a instant swap out not much configuring like you have to with IP camera’s if you have to replace a camera.  
I have seen MANY PoE and IP camera systems fail from either the network having issues to the switch providing the PoE (you can get around that part with by using a PoE adapter and adding the Power after the switch).  But, for the most part anyone who has dealt with camera systems a lot will tell you analog systems are very reliable and require little intervention.      
You can also purchase Coax cabling that has the power wire attached (2in1) such as http://www.nextag.com/RG59-Siamese-Solid-Coaxial-543424716/prices-html  we pretty much ran only this cable type (not this brand though).  

As aleghart also stated, power to analag cameras is not a mystery.  Powering the cameras for analog is pretty straight forward, most camera’s work off of both 12v and 24v and are auto-sensing.  Most camera’s require about 250mA (but you should always double that number) so addressing a power supply should be simple, all though I may disagree about using a central power source for all the cameras (I recommend one power source per four cameras), it really depends on the reliability of the power source (so 4 cameras at 250mA require at least 1A power supply, but you would really want around 2A but a common power supply would be more around 10 or 20A).  But do realize one power source going bad will cripple your system while multiple power sources cost more, but in reality you could use a radio shack 1mA 12V dc converter for each camera.  The best power source I can recommend is from DYNALOCK http://www.dynalock.com/index.php/cPath/22_46
As far as the individual cameras, I would recommend something like http://www.specotech.com/cart/products/productDetails.asp?prodID=921 for outside (good focus and zoom and some have an auto focus) this is a camera that uses color at night time with no LED’s; therefore, providing a theoretic infinite view at night with no limitation because of how bright the LED’s are and no objects will reflect the LED’s since it doesn’t use them.  http://www.specotech.com/ is a good place for quality equipment and a lot of Security Company‘s use their equipment for the price and warranty/support.  The only downside is you have to buy them through an authorized dealer to get support and warranty (most items from them have a 3-5 year warranty).

Axis provides some good camera’s and pretty much everything else you need for a IP solution.  But, we rarely used Axis equipment because of warranty issues and/or configuration issues and they are mainly an IP based solution.
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by:byteharmony
ID: 33465782
Some really strong well defined points for the technology options. This kind of input is exactly what I want.
As I said, I'll leave the question open to allow different points of view if their are any.
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by:Fixforyou
ID: 33466569
Yes, I would agree leave it open for more options.  I personally would like to see aleghart comment back with some power supply options (since he has master rank in power supply/UPS :]  ) the power supply i linked would be good enough to run all your camera's off of and last for years, but it cost around $250-$600.  If you put two of them together you would have a no worries system (i think you can even add expansion boards to be redundant).  My theory is, if its a power supply, it will eventually fail!

One more thing to note is the power supply I listed can have a battery backup.  To calculate the time it will last on battery, take the mAh from the battery (lets say 1500mAh battery) that will supply 6 cameras at 250mA an hours worth of battery
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by:aleghart
ID: 33468811
>if its a power supply, it will eventually fail!

Definitely true.  Trick is to get industrial components with long lifetimes.  I've had wall warts that lasted 10 years.  Some that didn't last through the first blackout/resume.  Burned out the camera.

I like a central power supply (or multiple in a central location) because you can use an on-bard DC battery for backup, plus plug the AC mains into an APC battery backup along with the rest of the equipment.  On power failure, the APC unit kicks in for 20-30 minutes.  When it dies, the cameras, doors, phones, etc still have power off the on-board battery for another hour or two (or twenty), depending on the supply.

Wall warts can be unplugged.  They're also susceptible to having breakers tripped or turned off without your knowing.  If someone makes it into your data closet and kills a breaker or busts open locked boxes for power supplies, etc....you'd tend to notice.  As well as tamper alarms going off when the boxes are opened up.

In a small installation, it's still cheaper to run low-voltage wire, IMO.  The cost of installing an 120VAC outlet high up on a wall is cost-prohibitive, unless it's already there.  With coax, you can use a Siamese cable (power runs attached to the coax cable), or pull the power wire at the same time as the coax.  No additional effort, just a material cost.

I do, however, like the idea of PoE.  For a new system, there are attractions to self-running cameras with their own web servers.  One PoE switch can be used for cameras and VoIP phones.  A good fit if you have a little tech know-how to troubleshoot problems.

The swap-out costs on a PoE camera are far higher than an analog camera. Even higher-end cameras can have a blown body replaced while retaining the expensive lens.
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by:byteharmony
ID: 33504533
It sounds like my pie in the sky PoE solution would work well for a 1 or 2 camera solution, having 3 or more may make more sence to use a coaxial solution given based on all the input here.
If it were only 1 or 2 camera's needed 3 or 4 probably wouldn't hurt and in that case I may as well only support the coaxial solutions.
Thanks,
I'll let this sit another week just in case anyone has any other thoughts.
BK
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by:aleghart
ID: 33506388
I'd even go to 6-12 PoE devices (cameras, phones, wireless access points) in a home/small network situation.  But when you start talking about a facility instead of a personal office, that's when swap-outs and infrastructure cabling come into play.

If it's all new, then go with what's comfortable.  If you're inheriting something from 10 (or 20 or 50) years ago...you tend to stick with what's working before running anything new.  :)
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Author Closing Comment

by:byteharmony
ID: 33620608
Thanks for all the help everyone.
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