Why Are You Running Analog HD Over UTP?

Serious question, why are you taking a coax based / design / intended technology and running it over UTP?

IP cameras do that directly and, unlike analog IP, need no baluns.

That said, the most vocal discussion on analog HD appears to be about use over UTP.

Thoughts / feedback?

People actually do this?

ADT did it with our 8-camera retail installation. They even had an ADT-branded 8-channel RJ45 to BNC balun block.

A lot of copper is now abandoned in and between builidings? Longer ranges?

I think it would be funny if people said, (2009 - 2012) "Hey I am going to install UTP so it's easier when I upgrade to HD IP cameras."


Our analog infrastructure is now about 50% coax and 50% UTP, using 25-pair backbones and one UTP pair for each camera (we still use 18/2 for power). We actually started using single-pair UTP for analog cameras in 2003. Upgrading the UTP infrastructure for IP wasn't even considered. We were more interested in cable density. One 25-pair UTP takes up a heck of a lot less cable tray space than 25 lengths of RG59.

In fact, for some areas that are out of reach of our IP infrastructure, we will be using Vigitron Vi2401A MaxiiCopper EoC devices on coax and with their Vi0030 adapters to transport IP and PoE over a single pair.

We would seriously consider using analog HD technologies if they were compatible with our VMS. The key impediment for analog HD (and HD-SDI, for that matter) is the lack of ONVIF-compliant encoders that we could use to interface non-IP HD cameras with our VMS. If they become available, we will at least test their compatibility with our system. At that point, analog HD cameras will likely follow the same 50/50 mix for signal transport.

Carl if you were installing a brand new system would you run UTP for analog cameras? I think that a brand new construction application is the question here. We started running UTP for all our cameras years ago in anticipation for the change to IP cameras not the other way around.

Although your cable density comment makes a lot of sense. Even if someone knows they are going analog you can save a ton of rack space.


That's a tough question.

It took us weeks to run coax during initial construction of our new casino building in 2000. We pulled approximately 1,000 lengths of coax to approximately 25 locations, leaving up to 50 feet of spare length rolled up on the cable tray to allow for the final pull lengths. Managing those ends was a royal pain in the butt: we would have to pull the bundle off of the tray and lay it across the floor so that we could separate individual cables and pull them to each camera location, then trim any large excesses and terminate the ends, making certain we replaced the wire number from the original end.

We threw out an awful lot of cable during the trim process and just managing the remaining spares was a pain - each time we added a camera, we would have to unwind the entire bundle to retrieve a new cable. 25-pair (or larger) UTP cabling is much easier to manage - label each backbone cable and the color codes take care of the rest of the management; co-locate punchdown blocks with camera power supplies and there will never be much waste.

On the other hand, we do have occasional issues with bad UTP connections - not often, but obviously more often than we have with coax.

I think we would still run UTP for a large-scale system if a sufficient percentage of the cameras were going to be analog. But I have to wonder if that would be the case. The decision would depend on doing two separate layouts: one using analog plus some IP and the other using all IP.

One thing we would change is our choice of punchdown blocks. We started with 66 blocks and have continued with them for the sake of simplicity and to keep the system the same but I think we would consider using 110 blocks. I would also have to consider whether we would continue using single pairs in a 25-pair cable for video or whether we would lay the system out with 4 pairs per camera to ease the switch to IP.

The practical reason:

With plain old analog cameras a lot of the cabling and labor cost could be eliminated by utilizing baluns in large facilities by wiring the system up as a POTS would be. 25/50/100 pair UTP could carry a lot of video from closet to closet and fan out from there. The other options were limited:

1. Make use of amplifiers and decrease the SNR

2. Use RG-11 which is hefty, nearly 1/2" thick. Imagine having 50 RG-11 cables for the backbone... 50 pair cat3 is only 3/4" thick.

3. Fiber

By putting active baluns on both ends cable could run well over a mile on one pair for minimal cost. On some of the premium products it is possible to put PTZ control on another pair, power on the others. I know that seems pointless in an age where POE is nigh omnipresent...

I am curious to see if it is possible to get more than 800 or so feet with active baluns.

The real reason:

It is new tech so we are going to do everything we can to break the new shiny toy.

If I understand the gist of your question "If your using cat5, why not just use IP cameras then?"

Good question, the way I see it:

2 reasons:

#1) Price

#2) Less complex

But main reason is price. Analog HD is way cheaper than IP.

So why not just use coax then? Well because cat5 is easier to run and pull out of a box.

This is not my opinion by the way, just some feedback from my customers. But there is some truth to it. I have to totally agree that Cat5 is much easier to run, but if it were me, i would probably run coax because it seems to have less issues with analog/cvi/sdi/tvi/AHD stuff

Yes, we had one client so far that needed a reasonably priced system and CVI fit his budget. IP would have cost much more. We have been installing CAT5e instead of COAX for quite some time now. Customers already will have wiring in place to transition to IP in the future. Installing COAX today just doesn't make sense, to us anyways.

We were not really impressed with the quality of the non-Dahua CVI 720p domes. They looked OK estetically, but the video images were sub-par when compared to a similar style IP cam. We are thinking it may be due to the non-Dahua camera being inferior to the real Dahua cams.