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Setting up security system at my house

Posted on 2014-04-21
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I plan on setting up a four camera security system at my house, expandable to 8.  I'm an IT consultant so I have lots of computers, hard drives, etc around.  I was thinking of setting up one of my lenovo desktops as the server, running Win7.  I assume I'll need an 8 channel camera card running off a pci-e port. I could use a recommendations on cards to get or avoid. I'll need some way to get the camera data to the server.  I was thinking of using powerline routers.  Does that make sense?  In general I need ideas how to begin on this project.
Thanks,
Al
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Question by:alanlsilverman
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Expert Comment

by:jmcmunn
ID: 40012514
Sounds like a fun project!  I would stay away from powerline ethernet if at all possible.  I tried two different versions in my house and they failed terribly.  Searching the web, I discovered many people who had the same issues.  I found that wireless N (and even G in most cases) was way faster than the speeds I could get with powerline ethernet.

From what I can tell, most of the powerline solutions require that both ends of the connection have to be on the same electrical circuit (I may be using the incorrect electrical term, but that is the idea anyway) or else the speeds drop to like 1MB/s.  This was my exact real-world experience.  If I had the two plugged into the wall in the same room of my house, things went fairly quickly.  If I put one in another room or another floor the speed dropped to basically nothing.  A couple of network extenders or boosters would have been a better investment for me.

Ultimately, I ran a few ethernet cables through the walls and now have a wired network to the most important areas.  I know that is not a solution for everyone.

Good luck!
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Author Comment

by:alanlsilverman
ID: 40021003
Can anyone advise me on a good camera card to get.
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kode99 earned 2000 total points
ID: 40021871
First off you need to decide on analog or IP camera's.

If you use IP camera's they work directly on the network and there is no need for any camera interface card.

If you use analog camera's they do not connect to a data network and have to have dedicated wiring from the camera to the recording device/computer.  Traditionally coax cable is used but these days cat5 wire can be used as well.

Ultimately running wire to the camera's works best even for IP camera's.

The issue with powerline is not for the circuit,  but for the same 'side' or phase of a electrical panel.  The power main is 220/240 volts and that gets split into two 110/120 sides in the main electrical panel (the 2 rows of breakers/fuses you see if you look in a panel).  The problem is the powerline signal has trouble crossing from the circuits on one side of the panel to the circuits on the other side.  Each fuse or breaker is one circuit.

It is less of a issue with the newer powerline units.  Any 220/240 volt powered appliances (cloths dryers for example) actually provide a bridge for the signal to cross sides.  Results can be mixed.  Old wiring can also be a problem as well as interference from anything plugged in.

Geovision are pretty popular and a card you can likely get fairly easy,

http://www.geovision.com.tw/english/3_1_card.asp

For IP take a look at Vivotek,  the newer

http://www.vivotek.com/network-cameras/

Good range and the free software they provide is actually pretty good and supports up to 32 cameras as well iOS and Android support.

Without knowing any details of the specific application the FD8134V does fairly well for a IP camera for indoor/outdoor use that is easy to setup and reasonably priced for the features.

http://www.vivotek.com/fd8134v/

BHPhoto has a decent selection of brands so you can get a idea of price and features,

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/browse/Surveillance-Video/ci/3496/N/4293342959

People are often disappointed by brand X but even the best camera's can provide poor results with less than ideal setup.  Lighting issues likely being the biggest problem,  possibly next only to ridiculous expectations after watching too much CSI.
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Author Comment

by:alanlsilverman
ID: 40022771
kode99 thank you.  That's very helpful.
I'm going to have to learn more to even ask intelligent questions. Do you think I can use an existing Lenovo desktop and hard drives for the basic setup? Will that save me money over getting an existing all-in-one type system?
Thanks,
Alan
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Author Closing Comment

by:alanlsilverman
ID: 40036058
Thanks for your help,
Alan
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