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IP hybrid makes sense

Choice, cost savings, speed of deployment and convenience. That is what the re-use of existing cables can offer end-users when they are looking to migrate their analogue based surveillance, access control or intercom system, to IP transmission, writes Guy Apple, VP of Marketing and Sales, Network Video Technologies (NVT).

For decades, tens of millions of analogue-based CCTV cameras have been connected to recording & control equipment via coax cable. Also, about 80% of analogue cameras installed via coax have cable runs greater than the defacto Ethernet standard of 100m; typically being in the range of 150-200m.

Is there a choice?

Many customers in the security market are being told that the only way to deploy an IP video network is to ‘flood wire’ their facility with Cat 5/6 structured cabling. Not only that but they are also being told that they’ll need to repeat the signal ‘somewhere’ before the 100m interval. And at that IDF mid-span point (if you can find one that is!), you’ll also need to supply a cable extender / repeater – with the yet to be installed mains power … which all adds expense.

So what’s going to happen to those existing long, formerly analogue coax cable camera runs? An alternative choice to the time consuming and costly scenario described above is to use that existing cable and employ a hybrid IP transmission system. NVT’s new ‘IP over any cable’ TBus UTP/Ethernet over Coax technology allows installers and end-users to do just that – and take advantage of ‘extended’ PoE power and Ethernet distances using any legacy cable.

Basically, this new hybrid allows whatever cable is in existence to be reused, so long as it is in reasonable condition. So, whether it’s legacy, or just plain redundant coax, UTP, 2-wire or some other copper cable, twisted or untwisted, it can all be used to easily create a multipoint network operation using star or serial cabling topologies (or combination of the two), for IP migration.

Flexibility and savings

The inherent flexibility of TBus ‘IP over any cable’ technology provides cost-effective, simple and seamless migration, that avoids those labour, time and cost heavy ’cherry picker flood-wire’ installations.

Let’s consider the scenario of installing an entirely new Ethernet network infrastructure; the project would typically be installed in one complete, disruptive and expensive operation. The sheer size of the project would force a comparatively expensive and operationally disruptive network retrofit on the user. In the case of a hospital for example, there is rarely the luxury of displacing patients, or shutting large areas of the facility. For a private hospital, shut downs mean loss of revenue and an impact on quality of care. So, when such a hospital is looking to retrofit, the IP hybrid makes a whole lot of sense.

Cables and topologies

Native to most buildings’ cabling infrastructures is the fact that there has been, over time, many cabling types and sizes installed. Some people may think that this is just awkward, whilst others may think of it as a useful resource, to be capitilised on.

We know that conventional Ethernet over UTP has a point-to-point distance limitation of just 100m. For the installer, if the transmission distance is longer, that typically means IDF closets need to be in place in problematic locations throughout the facility, to create a proper data repeater/power supply point. This usually involves the installation of lockable closets or enclosures.

Typically, analogue cameras are deployed with transmission distances in excess of 150m. So, with a 100m Ethernet distance limitation, attaining that 150m distance would require at least one newly installed IDF with accompanying Ethernet repeaters. And don’t forget that you have to supply power at the IDF/enclosure. This means added expense for the IDF/enclosure, the power being supplied, the repeater, labour, etc, etc.

Using the hybrid ‘IP over any cable’ TBus solution, as much as 56VDC PoE power can be provided from the control room, with up to 50 watts distributed to the IP camera/device end transmission product. Therefore absolutely NO repeaters are required and cameras/IP devices can operate from the same UPS as other control room equipment – simple.

Most coax-based IP transmission migration products on the market are either point-to-point (meaning there is one locally powered transceiver at the camera and one locally powered transceiver at the control room), or powered from a PoE port on a PoE switch. This is not efficient for multi-camera systems.

With a TBus hybrid IP receiver hub at the control room, the system’s potential is maximised by supporting multiple remote transceivers and their cameras. Furthermore, the technology is able to use just a single cable to supply transmission connectivity to multiple cameras. Yes, more than one IP device can be connected to one cable. This results in an easy and cost-effective IP device (camera) upgrade, with minimal installation labour, while using the customer’s investment in their legacy cable.

Incremental migration

Extended distance transmission is great, and the wiring topology flexibility is great too, but the best part of TBus is that it offers the customer a choice of what camera or device is swapped out and when. After all, not everyone can afford a one-hit network wide upgrade to IP. The most important thing is to have the right capability in the right place. With TBus hybrid IP, single cameras can be removed and swapped out for several cameras in that same location, allowing greater image coverage and quality. All this choice allows the end-users’ business operation to control the project’s impact on the work schedule.

Any IP transmission, any cable

TBus cable agnostic IP media converter solutions are not just limited to the support of IP cameras. Due to their flexibility via being able to use any cable or topology, they can be used to provide Ethernet/PoE for access control, wireless access point support, IP phones, intercom, or just about any other Ethernet transmission. TBus IP migration is allowing installers to approach their customers with a whole new tool kit of IP migration choices and associated benefits. The elegance of TBus flexible hybrid solutions is in their simplicity of design and application. Installation is easy, data is robust and reliable, and everyone saves money – enabling installers to approach an IP migration project with a new set of financial and installation deployment options by using the existing cable infrastructure.

In summary:

‘IP over any cable’ technology features:

• Allows the use of any type of cable, at almost any distance and via any topology

• Overcomes the Ethernet data Extender/Repeater 100m distance limitation

• Provides 50 Watts of PoE power for IP devices (cameras, intercom, access control, etc) at extended distances

• Uses just one cable to supply IP and PoE connectivity to multiple IP cameras / devices

• system diagnostics and monitoring

Reuse of existing cable should be considered because:

• There is no need to purchase/pull new cable; leveraging the existing cable investment

• Because there is less or no cable to install, the facility can remain operational

• Cost savings using existing cable can be used towards, more and better cameras

• Vertical applications like lifts, tunnels, mines, subways and train stations have ‘closed cable’ bundles – so typically they will need to reuse their existing cable; and

• It’s the same quality but less expensive than a fibre based alternative.


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