Long Distance IP Camera - Fiber + Media Converter?

This just popped into my inbox at 1631 this afternoon 7/24.

"Ross, attached are the construction drawings we have approved to go out to bid for potentially a new drive out of MWDC to 104th. Please work on a plan for your security camera’s and a proposal will be needed and at least 2 different contractors. We have 8 - 35’ poles in the budget along the drive for site lighting. If we could have your proposal’s back in 2 weeks, by August 9, that would be great."

I am happy to be included BEFORE the road is done being built, but it would be nice to have more than two weeks…...

Anyway this will be my first long distance outside IP camera. Our corporate standard is AXIS Q1604-E for outdoor cameras mounted to the building and I think it would work well for this too so I plan to stick with that. I am thinking fiber to the pole, then a media convertor that is PoE enabled, into a surge protector and then up to the camera? However in a recent thread I seem to recall many folks saying convertors were not the way to go?

Wondering if this is the set up you would suggest to me if you were coming in as the integrator or should I expect something else?


Only reason I could think of for saying "fibre media converters aren't the way to go" might be if ethernet-over-coax or ethernet-over-twisted-pair is a viable option, as those would generally be a lot cheaper.

If the budget allows, I'd think fibre would be fine here... it would give additional advantages in electrical isolation and noise immunity. If budget is tight, though, something like EoTP or DSL technology may do the job (I wouldn't bother doing an all-new installation with coax of any kind).

The example you describe and a few other similar such situations (a gate control away from buildings) are the only spots we're using them. It doesn't bother me quite as bad for an endpoint situation like these as it does "backend" network infrastrastructure where we have easier ability to keep it simple, have better insight, etc with better design and equipment. Probably my biggest dislike is the loss of having the remote converter on a UPS.

I agree with using fiber media converters. In this sort of design, it's fine, but like Jeppie said, I wouldn't recommend them for backbone use. That's what switches with SFPs are for. That's not to say that you couldn't use a fiber switch inside, but it will generally cost more than using media converters.

If you want to maintain battery backup on the outside, you could always use a 12 or 24V weatherproof power supply, and power the PoE media converter off of that. Whether there is room for that inside the base of the pole or if it would hang on the pole is another question.

For a single camera I don't see an issue with a PoE media converter, unless you wanted to create a redundant fiber loop between all of the poles (I do this for perimiter protection at utility plants). For multiple cameras on the same pole, consider a small hardened PoE switch. The Q1604-E uses standard 15W PoE, so you don't need anything special. I have used the Comnet hardened PoE media converters in cases like this, but there are other manufacturers that have similar offerings.

Thanks Guys! It will be a single camera near the end of the long exit drive and another two closer to the building and existing industrial drive. Probably one or two mounted where I currently have an existing analog PTZ. Or it will be one on the existing pole and one on the building itself, all depending on budget.

Any other suggestions on the make/model of the converter?

Ross, I have been researching LED lighting for a while and came accross a product from Totus Solutions that is an outdoor light fixture with built-in security video and VOIP audio, networking, and other features like event-based lighting control. I have had great success with LED lighting for video, both white and IR, and when doing security surveys I recommend LED fixtures to improve lighting for security and safety purposes (such as indoor dark stairwell lighting in old buildings.

One client of mine has lighting bills of over $30K per month per facility, and LED lighting will be able to reduce that by 70%. So I'm always encouraging a broader look at lighting, as for a change making improvements to outdoor lighting has a very good ROI, and the color quality of white LED lighting can really help video image quality.

I haven't used the Totus product yet, but I'm considering it for one client application.

I understand that your application requires more in the way of video than what is included in the Totus product, but it does provide a way to get network equipment mounted in an aesthetic package out where it may be further extended for additional cameras.

I haven't obtained cost information yet -- so I don't know about that factor.

Ray, TOTUS makes a fine product. They have three platforms:

TLP (Lighting only)

TSP (Lighting with a Q24 360-degree Mobotix camera built in)

and what you are looking for:

TNP (Lighting with networking built-in)

The TNP is suitable for ANY camera mounted on the pole with the TOTUS LED lighting. If you want Mobotix 360-degree coverage, you can use the TSP product and add another camera on the pole (maybe for a focused view of a driveway, for example).

I highly recommend TOTUS -- they are at TOTUS-SOLUTIONS.COM

I sometimes use COMNET's IP distance extender for far cameras. It can give you up to a kilometer (3000ft) on CAT5/6, and more than that if using IP-over coaxial. It can cost you 300-350 USD per camera.

The only downfall to this device (which does not apply to cameras) is that the distance comes at an expense of not being able to use 1GB connections. In cameras, thats not a downfall you would run into since you rarely exceed 10-20mbps.

100 mbps is the limit of this device.

I am strongly against copper to the camera (coax and UTP). The reason for this is normally due to ground potential differences that can exist. Always use fiber or wireless for cameras that are not located in the same building as the camera network. (I tried many ethernet over coax solutions years ago to replace existing analog cameras on poles - aerial and buried - and ended up replacing all eventually with wireless due to blown devices during electrical storms). A set of radios is $180 and a set of ethernet over coax devices is $200. Have never lost a radio.

If trenching or aerial is in the plan (new installation), and budget is not an option, you use fiber.

Thanks again for all the input here guys! It is much appreciated. Jeffrey what radios do you use that are only $180? We have looked at Comnet and I think KBC brand, but have never used or even tried any.

I used a lot of Comnet at my previous job and it works great. Fiber and a pair of media converters with PoE or PoE+ at the camera end is simple and easy.

Fiber converters with poe arent going to work unless you have power on the poles constantly and are able to output 110vac to power the converters. I bet the poles lights are on a sensor and only live at night and are probably 220vac so more challenges. Better check the specs on the power or you'll be running fiber with a 2 conductor for power to each pole or going with ethernet extenders like veracity with direct burial cat 6 -- better spec ditek or another arestor as well, we have learned the hard way with this setup for large outdoor fields with 35ft poles - lightening and power spikes will happen

Thanks guys! Paul, this site is notorious for collecting pretty much all the lightning in West Michigan so arrestors are a must. We have a great system in place for our current coax runs both at the pole and before the head end if the lines get zapped before it makes it into the building. In fact they made us put in a suppressor on the 10 foot length of coax between our fiber convertor in the building and the DVR.

This project also got shelved so when it does come back around next fiscal year I will have this folder ready to go.