Network Cable & PoE Systems
Cat 5 and Cat6e are the most common network cables used for video surveillance systems and they both exceed any data requirements that the equipment may have. Each system requires one cable to be ran from the camera location back to the video recorder. One single cable transmits video from the camera to the recorder. The recorder transmits power back to the camera using the same cable. We offer the following versions of Cat6e cable: indoor, outdoor, direct burial, premade cables and 500 or 1000ft easy spool boxes. The maximum distances for each technology are show below:
Wireless - WiFi Systems
We at Backstreet are not big fans of WiFi cameras. They do have their uses but keep in mind that wireless cameras are used for convenience rather than performance. Wiring a camera is always preferred. Only use wireless when wiring a camera is not an option. We do, however, offer our own professional WiFi solutions. The following video provides an example of its application:
POE - Power Over Ethernet Systems
The most convenient way to power IP camera(s) is to purchase a video recorder with PoE (Power over Ethernet) built-in.
PoE units can also be strategically placed to add cameras to a system. All it needs is one network cable that runs from the video recorder or PoE unit to the camera. We'll return to this topic later.
You can also power the camera locally with a plug in power supply. This requires a power outlet to be nearby. You can then transmit the video over the Cat5 or Cat6 network cable. This design is seldom used but always an option.
Battery powered cameras and systems are a very poor surveillance option. Battery powered cameras are always consumer grade devices. They often do not live up to their marketing and as a consultant you will likely be replacing these systems frequently. For example, the Amazon owned Blink Cameras claim two years of operation on one charge. They do not mention that a two year device lifespan can only be achieved if the camera is operating for a maximum of 3 minutes per day. These cameras die in a few weeks. You have to take each one down, charge it, put it back up and then readjust the view. The truth is that these types of cameras will die on the wall and will eventually stay that way.
Solar systems are not a cost-effective option. There are indeed cheap consumer grade products with integrated solar panels on the market, but they have a similar reputation to battery operated devices. There are solar solutions that will work but each has to be engineered with consideration for the power draw, how much sun the location receives, as well as battery calculations. It is expensive and is a service we do not offer at this time. The bottom line is, if there is not an existing power source onsite, then we should suggest to the client that they contact a professional solar company for a power solution.
Cloud Cameras and services are new to the industry and the concept is undeniably popular. However, the reality is that the companies that are providing cloud services are benefiting far more than the customers. They are similar to consumer grade products in that the price was chosen to create a monthly revenue stream for the company, then the technology and performance capabilities were selected to fit that price. All Cloud services degrade the video signal so that the bandwidth and storage requirements can meet the limits of the technology. For example, if you send a 4K camera's video to the cloud, it will not be recorded in 4K. The cloud service is likely to record it in 1080p - 1/4th of the resolution that the camera is capable of. They may also drop video frame rates to take pressure off of the bandwidth, resulting in choppy video. There's also the monthly fee based on the number of cameras and the days of storage you require. It can get very expensive.
The main reason people believe they want a Cloud system is because they are concerned about their video recorder being stolen. Luckily, there are better ways to address this concern. One option is to use memory cards in the cameras, in tandem with the NVR. Memory cards are a one-time purchase, not a monthly fee. Should the NVR be stolen, the video leading up to its theft will also be stored in the cameras themselves. The video stored in the camera can be accessed via smart phone. Our systems also provide the option to create your own private Cloud backup systems which has no monthly fees and will not degrade the video. We will further discuss these options in the "Video Storage" chapter.