Subscriber Discussion

Should I Use Fiber Or UTP For My Surveillance Cameras?

I have a new request for 75 cameras on our site which is 16 km² in size.

When do you decide to place a switch near your cameras, or place a main switch when fibre to all your cameras?

In my opinion, one can place quite a few switches extra for the cost of one fibre. Since putting on plugs on the fibre alone is already around € 1500 but you'd need space to place the switch ofcourse, and it's envoirement must be suited for it. Then again, I could imagine that cameras used to observe highways are all done using fibre.

So, when do you use fibre to the camera, and when do you just place a switch with UTP to the camera.

Keep in mind that it is advisable to limit the number of switch hops, so you don't really want to make a 2km (for example) Ethernet cable by stringing a bunch of switches together.

You should be able to find pre-terminated fiber very cost effectively. Besides increased distance and reduced latency, fiber has the benefit of being a natural insulator. This helps prevent lighting strikes or power surge issues from propagating throughout a system.

I start to look at fiber as a practical use on any cable run that is going to be exceeding about 250 meters.

Since putting on plugs on the fibre alone is already around € 1500,

Is this an internal cost or a sub contractor cost? In either case, this number seems high, especially if you bid out the work to a specialty sub.

The equipment cost of terminating fiber depends on the type of connector used. It's true that fusion splicers can cost $10k or more, but alternatives like Field Terminated Fiber Connectors cost about $30 per termination. I'm not necessarily recommending them for your particular job, but only to suggest other options are out there.

To answer your question: Any time cable had to run over 100M (we didn't use EoC devices), or a 'backbone' segment of network was needed, we used fiber. Fiber is a good, economic option for a great many design situations, and developing a good relationship with a fiber subcontractor is very valuable for an integrator.

That's the cost of a sub contractor.
It's the price for doing a 6xMM 50/125 cable with ST plugs on both ends.

Since I work at a huge company we have fixed contracts with sub contractors.
Altough we had a different one in the past, this one was cheaper.
I guess we're just a tad expensive here in Holland

Ethernet Cable can only be certified to 100 meters. Careful with the type of fiber selected. For shorter distances use MM and for longer (above 2 km) use SM or you may run into over saturation issues.

That actually doesn't seem totally out of the ballpark for 12 connectors, depending on how they're terminating it. I generally run fiber to the camera if it's a one or a few (1-4, maybe) cameras that are remotely located. If there will be a larger group within the 100m mark, then I'd make a new IDF and put a switch and patch panel there, and use UTP.

The last system I designed that for a was a video smoke detection in a very large military base here, where the engineer just laid out cameras, and left it up to bidders to design the network. We ended up with three IDFs in each building, I think, all within 100m of the cameras they were covering. They actually were all close enough that we could've run UTP between switches, even, but the engineer insisted on fiber, so we complied.