Airport Upgrade RFP Reviewed

By: John Honovich, Published on Nov 25, 2010

A US airport has released an RFP looking to upgrade their surveillance system to migrate to an IP video solution. To do so, they want to convert their exist cameras to run on their LAN and deploy a storage area network. In this note, we look at some important design tradeoffs in this approach. The specification itself is rather short. Members should review the Airport's specification [link no longer available].

Key Items

The following are key requirements from the Airport's RFP:

  • Analog cameras are already in place (presumably connected to DVRs). The Airport wants those cameras to be connected to encoders and transmitted to centralized recording/storage: "encode the existing analog CCTV cameras onto an IP based system which will become the basis for the future CCTV system"
  • The airport plans to use its general LAN for video distribution: "recording shall be via Virtual LAN (VLAN) on the Airport’s LAN that is being provided under this Project. Coordinate IP addressing, Ethernet switch port assignments and bandwidth utilization with the Owner."
  • The bidder must provide and deploy a SAN for video recording: "responsible for providing a Storage Area Network of sufficient capacity and speed to provide recording of all CCTV camera video"
  • The selected VMS must Integrating with CCURE: "required to provide full integration of this Project with the existing Access Control System, CCure 800"

Analysis and Observations

The specification document is extremely vague as to any details of the encoders or VMS solution required. We suspect that the details will be informally communicated at bid meetings. However, this can result in confusion and may reflect an incompletely planned system designed.

In our analysis, since details are so scarce, we are going to focus on 3 fundamental design choices that impact many large organizaitons:

  • Re-using the Corporate LAN: We are a somewhat surprised about the Airport re-using their corporate LAN for video surveillance. While the Airport requires a dedicated VLAN for surveillance, VLANs do not prevent overloading a network's bandwidth. Whether this is a real risk, depends on the size and load of the network plus the bandwidth requirements of the cameras. Many organizations choose to build a separate LAN infrastructure for surveillance to avoid this. In a relatively small airport like this one (Wichita Mid-Continental), this might be feasible. As the airport expands its surveillance cameras count, using the existing corporate LAN could cause problems for the Airport's other services or constrain camera expansion. Secondly, using the Airport's LAN for external cameras might pose a security risk as it provides a physical interface to their overall network (this depends and can be minimized by using technologies such as 802.1x).
  • Deploying a Storage Area Network (SAN): For larger deployments, storage area networks offer cost and management savings. Rather than small pools of storage (usually with no redundancy) distributed across a surveillance deployment, SANs provide a variety of benefits (see our surveillance SANs report). On the other hand, SAN efficiency depends on aggregating video from numerous cameras. The downside of this is that video needs to be transmitted from each of the camera sites to the SAN's physical location. In an airport surveillance application this can be a problem as cameras are widely dispersed across the organization, increasing bandwidth demands on the network. 
  • Access Control Integration: Requiring new surveillance recorders to integrate with existing access control systems is extremely common for large scale organizations. In the US, one of the most common is Software House's CCURE. Integrating these systems is important in quickly visually verifying and monitoring movement throughout a facility. The downside of such requirements is that it significantly reduces the VMS systems that the organization can consider. For instance, CCURE only integrates with 8 video surveillance manufacturers [link no longer available]. While some of these are relatively large (e.g., DvTel, Genetec, Nice, OnSSI, Verint), it's certainly limiting relative to the dozens of available surveillance systems. Another important point is verifying version comparability. If you check on the individual systems on the CCURE 3rd party support page [link no longer available], you will see that integration is only between certain versions of CCURE and the 3rd party VMS. For instance, this airport has the older CCURE 800. However, the version listed as integrated with 3rd parties is the newer CCURE 9000 series. Moreover, even the minor version number of CCURE might have an impact (e.g., Software House lists DvTel as supporting CCURE 9000 firmware version 1.93 while Genetec is supporting version 1.92). Not only can access control integration restrict choice, it can be a headache to ensure specific version compatibility (see our API tutorial/review for more comments).
Comments : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Last Chance - Register Now - October 2019 IP Networking Course on Oct 10, 2019
Last Chance - Register Now - Fall 2019 IP Networking Course. The course starts next week. This is the only networking course designed...
2020 Camera Book Released on Jan 10, 2020
This is the best, most comprehensive security camera training in the world, based on our unprecedented testing. Now, all IPVM PRO Members can get...
2020 IP Networking Book Released on Jan 06, 2020
The new IP Networking Book 2020 is a 280 page in-depth guide that teaches you how IT and telecom technologies impact modern security systems,...
No Genetec Major Releases In Over A Year on Feb 06, 2019
Annual VMS licenses are a controversial practice in the video surveillance industry, with many questioning their need or value. However, enterprise...
Large US University End-User Video Surveillance Interview on Mar 18, 2019
Schools have become targets in modern days of active shooters and terrorist fears. The need for video and access security is high. Universities...
Large Hospital Security End User Interview on Mar 21, 2019
This large single-state healthcare system consists of many hospitals, and hundreds of health parks, private practices, urgent care facilities, and...
Mining Company Security Manager Interview on May 10, 2019
First Quantum Minerals Limited (FQML) is a global enterprise with offices on 4 continents and operations in 7 countries with exploratory operations...
Genetec Synergis Cloud Link - Complex, Costly and Confusing on Jun 18, 2019
Genetec's Synergis Cloud Link is complex, costly and confusing compared to competitor access control architectures. Inside this note, we examine...
Milestone "GDPR-ready" Certification Claim Critiqued on Aug 12, 2019
Milestone is touting that its latest XProtect VMS is "GDPR-ready" with a 'European Privacy Seal'. However, our investigation raises significant...
Video Surveillance 101 Course - Last Chance on Feb 20, 2020
This is the last chance to join IPVM's first Video Surveillance 101 course, designed to help those new to the industry to quickly understand the...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Video Surveillance 101 Course - Last Chance on Feb 20, 2020
This is the last chance to join IPVM's first Video Surveillance 101 course, designed to help those new to the industry to quickly understand the...
Cheap Camera Problems at Night on Feb 19, 2020
Cheap cameras generally have problems at night, despite the common perception that integrated IR makes cameras mostly the same, according to new...
Milestone Launches Multiple Cloud Solutions on Feb 18, 2020
Milestone is going to the cloud, becoming one of the last prominent VMSes to do so. Milestone is clearly late but how competitive do these new...
Video Surveillance Architecture 101 on Feb 18, 2020
Video surveillance can be designed and deployed in a number of ways. This 101 examines the most common options and architectures used in...
UK Stands Behind Hikvision But Controversy Continues on Feb 18, 2020
Hikvision is exhibiting at a UK government conference for law enforcement, provoking controversy from the press, politicians, and activists due to...
IronYun AI Analytics Tested on Feb 17, 2020
Taiwan startup IronYun has raised tens of millions for its "mission to be the leading Artificial Intelligence, big data video software as a service...
Access Control ADA and Disability Laws Tutorial on Feb 17, 2020
Safe access control is paramount, especially for those with disabilities. Most countries have codes to mandate safe building access for those...
ISC West 2020 Removes China Pavilion, No Plans To Cancel Or Postpone on Feb 17, 2020
ISC West plans to go on next month, amidst concerns over coronavirus. However, the Asia / China Pavilion has been removed, show organizers...
Hanwha Wisenet X Plus PTRZ Tested on Feb 14, 2020
Hanwha has released their PTRZ camera, the Wisenet X Plus XNV-6081Z, claiming the "modular design allows for easy installation". We bought and...
PRC Warns Against China Video Surveillance Hacks, Hikvision Targeted on Feb 14, 2020
Hackers are targeting China video surveillance manufacturers and systems, according to the PRC's main cyber threat monitoring body. The hackers...