How to Power IP Camera Surveillance Systems by Marty Weil

7/22/2010 11:43:49 AM
By PSN Staff

Internet Protocol (IP) camera technology is the electronic watchdog of the twenty-first century, where security is an ever-increasing concern for all types of businesses and institutions. IP surveillance cameras are CCTV cameras that use Internet protocol to transmit image data and control signals over a fast and reliable Ethernet link. This is why IP cameras are often referred to as "network" cameras. Primarily used for surveillance, a number of IP cameras are normally deployed with a digital video recorder or a network video recorder to form a video surveillance system.

While it's no secret that use of the readily available and cost-effective Ethernet-based IP security systems is becoming more and more common, these devices still require a power source to operate. For many facility directors and technical managers, one of the big hurdles to successful IP camera system implementation is getting power-and in the right amount-to their IP camera surveillance system.

One solution is Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) technology, which enables IP cameras to be powered over a facility's existing network-cabling infrastructure. According to Microsemi, a maker of PoE systems, using PoE avoids the need for separate power and data cable infrastructure and costly AC outlets near cameras. Other advantages of PoE include:

* Cabling is cheaper.

* A Gigabit of data per second to every device is possible, which exceeds 2009 USB and the AC powerline networking capabilities.

* Direct injection from standard 48 V DC battery power arrays enables critical infrastructure to run more easily in outages, and centralizes power-rationing decisions for the PoE devices.

* Symmetric distribution is possible. Unlike USB and AC outlets, power can be supplied at either end of the cable or outlet. This means the location of the power source can be determined after cables and outlets are installed.

PoE also allows the elimination of electricians from the installation team. According to Microsemi, network cameras are traditionally installed in open, high places, such as corridor ceilings, airport facilities, and lecture halls. The addition of power infrastructure can be a costly and long affair, requiring a team of dedicated electricians for pulling power cables and making changes from building plans and safety approvals. Also, by allowing the network cameras to be installed where they are most effective-and not where AC sockets are already located-the actual number of cameras may be reduced, further reducing the surveillance implementation costs.

The power issue is just one of the planning and coordination elements involved in setting up IP surveillance cameras. These devices are becoming so ubiquitous that, "People forget they can cripple network bandwidth or create a major security issue if their installation is not considered carefully," says Michael Healey, president of Yeoman Technology Group, an engineering and research firm focusing on maximizing technology investments for organizations.


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