Average IP Camera Cable Run Distance

By: IPVM Team, Published on Nov 07, 2017

Estimating cable lengths can be tricky, seemingly either all guess work or requiring each and every run to be measured, a time consuming task. 

To find out what real world installs average, we asked 145 integrators:

What is the average distance for your IP camera cable runs? Why?

Cable Length Statistics

The average cable length based on all responses was about 165', a little over half the TIA/EIA cable limit (~300'/90m), with nearly all integrators (~96%) falling into 150-199', 200-250', or 100-149' ranges:

The two key themes from integrators response on distance were:

********** ***** ******* *** be ******, ********* ****** all ***** **** ** requiring **** *** ***** run ** ** ********, a **** ********* ****. 

** **** *** **** real ***** ******** *******, we ***** *** ***********:

**** ** *** ******* distance *** **** ** camera ***** ****? ***?

Cable ****** **********

*** ******* ***** ****** based ** *** ********* was ***** ***', * little **** **** ******/*** ***** ***** (~***'/***), **** ****** *** integrators (~**%) ******* **** 150-199', ***-***', ** ***-***' ranges:

*** *** *** ****** **** integrators ******** ** ******** were:

[***************]

  • ****/**** *********
  • ********* ******* *****

MDFs/IDFs ********* 

*********** **** **** **** and **** **** ********* placed ********** *********, *** even ***** ********* ******* still *** *** ****** in ***** ******* ********* beyond *** ***/***' *****. 

  • "*'* ******** ***' ** average. ***** ** ** why - **** *** necessity ** ******* ***** and *******. **** ********* will **** * **** room ** **** ***** building ** **** ** get **, *** ****** sites ** **** ***** a ******* ** ***'* connected ** ***** *** their ********* *** ********** by *** ******* **** they **** *******. **** cameras **** **** ** go **-**' **** ** some ***** ** **** to *** ** *** network."
  • "********* ***' ** ***' at ****. ** *** to *** *** *** locations ** ** *** easily *** ***** ** needed ********* *** **** flexibility ** ****** *** load ** *** ******* crowded."
  • "******** ***' - ****'* pretty ******* *** **** of *** ***** **** in ******* **** ******** IDF ******** ** **** projects ***** *****."
  • "***-*** ****. ***** ** the ******* **** ** our ******** ***** ** try ** ********* ****** a ****** ** **** on ****** ** *** multiple ******** ** ****."
  • "******* ** *** ****. Just ***** ** ****** that *** ** *** IDF's ***'* **** ** be ** *** ****** of *** *********. "
  • "******* *** - *** feet. ***** *** ******* switches ** ***** *****, and *** ******** **** the ****** ****** ** the ******* ***'* **** to ** **** ****."

Extenders ******* *****

***** **% ** *********** mentioned **** **** *** used ******** ********* *** to **** ***** *******. Though ***** * ********, extenders ****** ** ** trending *******, ** ******* years *** **** *** integrators ********* *** ********* at ***. **** ** this ******** ** ****** due ** ******* ************, as **** ********* **** introduced ***** *********. ******** options ****** ** ******* fiber *** ***** ** the *** ***.

  • "*** **. ** ****** from ** ~ *** ft (********* ***** ***** and ***** *********, ****** applied.) **** **** *** implemented **** **** ******** obstacle ** *********** ****** to ********. ** *** the ******** **** *****, and ***** **** *** device ****** ******* ** conduit ** ***********."
  • "**** ** ** ***** camera ******** ** *********, we ****** ****** **** under *** ***** **** limit, **** ************ ***** up ** **** ***** Planet's *********** *** *********."
  • "** ****** *******, **** 100 ** **** ** with * ********."
  • "***-*****. ******** ****** ** would *** * ******** Ethernet ********."

"Extended" *** ****

********-****** ***'* **** ****** ******** but **** ** ***** overall, ***** *** *** frequency ** **** **** shown ** *** ****** results. ***** **** *** * recent ***** ***** *************, including *****, *********, *** ******* (*** *** ****), ********* **** ** additional **** *** *** extended-length *******. ****** * niche ***********, ********-****** *** ********* would ** **** ********* **** extenders, ***** ********* *** $50-$100 *** ***, *** minimize ********** ********* ********, which ****** **** *** overall ************ ****** *** faster ** ********. *******, because ********-***** *** ** not ************, *********** *** face ************* ****** **** mixing ******.

 

Comments (20)

We had to change out an Axis PTZ at one point for a fixed camera. We found that length to be almost 400'. It actually worked fine and so did the camera that replaced it. We had to run another line to that location. That camera also works fine. We did, however, plan on an alternative if that run didn't work. That was probably one of the only times be ran a cable past spec and only did so because the existing camera and cable run had been installed by another contractor and had been working fine.

Extended-length NVR's have modest benefits but will be niche overall, given the low frequency of long runs shown by our survey results.

I think you are underestimating the frequency of *long* runs in your interpretation of the results.

Remember, the question was about average runs.  Since the longest IEEE compliant run is limited at ~300ft, this makes it increasingly hard to get any averages over 250ft.

The fact that the average run 38% of the time is > 200ft indicates to me that there are likely several outliers at the extremes.

Does anyone have an opinion of this:

I had an electrical contractor subbing a video install for Ethernet runs. He mentioned that the ethernet length limitation was estimated based on a given load. He said that a single camera on a dedicated ethernet run was well below that 'load'. His point was that there was some wiggle room for length of the run under such circumstances. This particular job had a few ethernet runs that might exceed 300'

It seems reasonable? BS?

According to standards, there is no wiggle room. Length doesn't have much anything to do with "load", per se. Instead, it's simply about maintaining acceptable levels of signal-to-noise ratio, crosstalk, attenuation, etc. We talk more about these parameters in the Network Cable Testing Guide.

Thanks

Hi. The 100m is based on the necessary timing for proper signals... so the 100m is not a signal issue, but elsewhise the CD/CSMA (the ethernet abritation mechanism) is running outside the spec.

FWIW, full-duplex fast ethernet doesn’t rely on CD/CSMA...

lol! He's confusing it with power load and voltage drop...

The electrician is basically looking at this like he would an outlet, or anything that draws power. While he is kinda right, the size of ethernet cable would allow for greater distances than 90m, but like Ethan said the distance limitation was not created with load in mind.

I can't find the Wiki reference I read quite some time ago about IEEE development of the standard but I clearly remember a statement that 100m limitation was an arbitrary limitation from IEEE rather than a technical limitation. 

It’s an arbitrary limit based on technical limitations.

You gotta draw the line somewhere :)

Related: Undisclosed Vs Undisclosed Ethernet Challenge - Who Will Go The Distance?

Ha! Touche! Right you are. I guess my point is the limit for standards compliance could have easily been 150m rather than 100m. Probably going off topic now so signing off on this. 

Two things worth mentioning:

1. The 100M limitation (per BICSI / IEEE) is actually the cumulative length of the two components of the the channel itself- a 90M allowable length in the link, and an additional 10M allowable in the patch cords on each end.  

2. The 90M allowable length in the link, and to a lesser degree the patch cords, is based on conductor length- not jacket length.  The difference in those two measurements will vary from Category to Category, and manufacturer to manufacturer. 

 

Regards,

The 90M allowable length in the link, and to a lesser degree the patch cords, is based on conductor length- not jacket length.

Exactly which conductor’s length?

Orange, Green, Blue or Brown?

All of them.  Every twisted pair cable (AKA-Category cable) is constructed similarly.  Each pair (color) of conductors is twisted individually, then 4 different pairs are twisted together in a 4-pair arrangement- with or without some sort of cable core or separator.  As the copper conductors are twisted in a very exaggerated spring-like fashion, they are physically longer than the overall cable jacketing that covers them.

 

Every twisted pair cable (AKA-Category cable) is constructed similarly. Each pair (color) of conductors is twisted individually...

Yes, but each pair has its own twists per meter, which makes the conductor longer in the ones that have a higher TPM.

For instance, that blue pair there looks a bit twistier than the orange, no?

This is actually one of the reasons for the length limitation, at some point the conductor length difference induces a latency that becomes so great that the frame must be abandoned.

That’s correct- because the differences in twists per inch (TPI) lowers the frequency at which the pairs contact any another pair directly, the opportunity to induce sympathetic noise is reduced.

 

 

And, as I’m sure you know, the differing twist rates are *NOT* part of the spec, but rather left up to the mfr, which leads back to my original question:

Which of the 4 different, mfr dependent conductors length is the spec based on?

To answer U1 regarding cable specs,  the American National Standards Institute in conjunction with the Telecommunication Industry Association publish TIA-568-C standards "Generic Telecommunications Cabling for Customer Premises". This standard, and its sister the IEEE 802.3 standard, when followed, guarantee the infrastructure will meet network switch performance requirements (1Gbps, 10Gbps, etc.).

The standard restrict overall cable length. When scanning the terminated cable with an analyzer such as a Fluke DSX-5000, one of the many tests performed on the cable is pair lengths. If any one pair exceeds 295 feet, the test fails, regardless what the length number stamped on the outer jacket says.

I.P. camera cables (cat-5E, 6, etc) connected to an Ethernet network, must still follow the TIA and IEEE length limitations in you want to guarantee that your installation meets industry standards. Most clients require that your install meets the standards (especially if they provided you with a written spec that references the standards). 

Reputable cable installers will install and test their cables per industry standards, and provide hard or soft copies of the test results to the client. 

 

Whomever it was that disagreed with my post, please let me know which of my statements you disagree with. 

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