Running IP Cameras Over Existing Cat3 - Will It Work?
We are dealing with a legacy analog system that was installed using 4-pair Cat-3 and video baluns. The customer wants to go IP.
My research suggests that we should be able to use standard switches and cameras as long as both support 10BASE-T. Standard PoE is supposedly supported over Cat-3 as well (PoE+ is not). We have gone through and certified most of the lines (10 out of 16 - the remainder require a lift), and all of them have passed certification.
My next step would be to test a single camera and the intended switch before committing to a price with the customer. Am I being overly cautious here? It really seems that since we passed certification everything should "just work", but I have never used Cat-3 for cameras.
Distance would likely be the problem. Although you can transport IP directly over CAT3, I would think the distance capability would be limited, Also, noise rejection would be nearly nonexistent since that relies on a high number of twists per foot - something CAT3 doesn't provide.
That said, you could use product(s) like the Vigitron Vi2301 or the NVT EC1701 or other EoUTP products. They typically claim to be able to transport Ethernet over just about any wire pairs, including 18/2, shielded cable and even NM power wires.
I'm a big fan of and have used Vigitron in quite a few installs ... but the fact of the matter is you're going to get noise and depending on where/how the Cat3 was run, you're most likely not going to be able to do anything about it.
Depending on the qty of IP cameras you have many options
NVT Phybridge | PoE, IP Modernization, Analog Solutions & IoT
and our favorite solution with cameras galore, some 3,000 away on 50 year old telco pairs in the dirt is
speak to Philip
Have a look at
PLANET VC-231 100/100 Mbps Ethernet to VDSL2 Converter
I used once for over 400 feet on CAT 3
Just to counterpoint all this: I HAVE done ethernet over existing Cat3 for workstations in an office situation - it CAN work at 100Mbit, but not reliably (10Mbit was rock-solid except in the case of one cable that turned out to have three splice points in its 250' run, one of them directly beside an HVAC power junction - that one, we got a link light, but nothing else). This was part of a project on multiple sites, switching out token-ring networks for ethernet, and in some cases re-using old Cat3 phone runs. All runs terminated in interchangeable jack frames at the desk end (pop out the T-R or phone jack module, pop in an Ethernet jack module), and BIX blocks at the head end (re-punch jumpers to the appropriate pairs).
Not something I'd suggest doing on a regular basis today, but at the time (1999), Cat5 was stupidly expensive and used only when there wasn't existing cable, or when the existing cable didn't work (as in the above example... but there were only two or three instances like that, where cable had to be replaced, that I can think of).
here I 'm using technology which can work on cat 1,2 or 3 and even untwisted pairs ... where VDSL can't workSome Power Line communication manufacturers (German, devolo) have released some specific solution over coax or telephone/audio wires which can stand crosstalk errors (where Ethernet can't ..) and reach much biger distances than 90 meters (400 meters with PLC onTP)
Anyhow, regardless the technology (Ethernet, xdsl, PLC, Eoc..) or the wire, I test the segment with Iperf (freeware) and 2 pc to make sure I can get the bandwidth. With PLC you can get a 50 Mbits real shared throughput and 180 Mbit/s on Kx6 coax !
On Ethernet , it's not shared bandwidth , but it should reach the same levels as Cat5E or 6A : 94 mbit/s real throughput (on a 100 mbit theorical bandwidth ) . If you get a 20 mbits it's wont ' be normal at all.. This test is better than a fluke and much cheaper...
Carl - Supposedly 10BASE-T is rated to 100 meters even on Cat3. The furthest run in our situation is 190 feet.
Matt - Thanks for the on point response. I believe that all of these are straight runs with no splices. The installation is not that old and was done during constrution (and the coinciding inspections). The workmanship appears good. These all lead me to be hopeful that it is not run next to mains power anywhere. Did you use PoE in your situation? How did that work out? When you say 100Mbit was unreliable, what do you mean? Did it gracefully fall back from 100Mbit to 10Mbit, or should I somehow force 10Mbit (a switch port setting somewhere I am guessing)?
Everybody Else - I know proprietary specialty hardware can solve the problem, but I would like to avoid the expense if possible. If you have got specific experience with Cat-3 ethernet & PoE please share.
Then disable all switch ports from AUTO-NEGOTIATE and manually set them to 10MB. Note not all devices like cameras, phones, LAN cards support 10MB. 10/100 10/100/1000 is common but we've seen plenty that are 100/1000 and no 10. We learned the hard way.
If you are using non-managed switches, the devices may support 10 only
We have now 30+ cameras working on legacy Cat3. It all just worked. No hiccups.
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