BICSI For IP Video Surveillance Guide

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Jan 19, 2015

Spend enough time around networks and eventually someone will mention BICSI, the oft-referenced but only vaguely known standards body prevalent in the IT world. The question is: how do BICSI and their guidelines practically affect your surveillance installation? In this note we look at this question, key things to know, and other areas they cover.

Specifically we explain:

  • The TDMM
  • The RCDD Credential
  • Standards vs. Codes
  • Modular Plugs
  • Terminating to Patch Panel
  • Testing Cables
  • Cable Labeling
  • Cable Supports
  • Firestops
  • Telecommunications Rooms
  • Grounding / Bonding
  • Power Distribution

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Comments (18)

Thank you Ethan for the excellent report as usual!

Two questions,

1. Where does BICSI stand on the contentious issue of T568-A vs T568-B wiring/color coding?

2. Is there an accepted/standard pronunciation of BICSI?

For those who aren't familiar, this image shows the difference in pinout between 568A and 568B:

By standards, 568A has always been preferred, because it's backwards compatible with the USOC pinout for one and two pair phone systems. 568B came about because it was backwards compatible with an old AT&T pinout, which had a bigger installed base than USOC, so it stuck.

In my cabling/phone system days we terminated about 40% 568A and 60% 568B. I can tell that cross connects s using 568A were much simpler, because you could patch over the first two pairs, instead of having to punch down on pairs 1 and 3 when using 568B.

In general, though, as long as you're picking one and sticking to it, either is fine.

And it's generally pronounced BIC'-SEE.

In Iceland (and I think it's the same in most of Europe but I might be wrong) we use 568B.

This is great information and knowing it can really give one a leg up in the professional appearance when discussing systems to be bid, especially us "smaller" integrators Asking questions about these points and educating the customer on the answers is a great differientator if done properly.

Terminate to Patch Panel

While terminating to a modular plug is acceptable at the device end, cables are required to be terminated to a patch panel at the head end. They may not be terminated with a plug and connected directly to a switch, a common practice in many small surveillance deployments.

This point is frequently overlooked, usually because the cost is perceived to be high. Anecdotally, I'd guess about 75% of locations without full-time IT staff present to complain about this corner being cut by surveillance designers, maybe more.

Cable management is more than someone being OCD and projecting that as professional preference. It also impacts serviceability and troubleshooting.

Being asked to troubleshoot a camera where cables cannot be quickly located, much less segmented for troubleshooting is a major irritant. Using a Patch Panel helps by quickly being able to segment a problem from the switch side or the camera side.

Also, having to reroute camera pulls to different switches is much more constrained to a few feet of patch cable, not a run that may be hundreds of feet darting out in random directions.

Ethan, great article and also a much easier read than having the ITSIMM sitting on your lap.

As security becomes more IT reliant, BICSI certification is certainly a very good thing for an integrator to have. Some security manufacturers have certified their training with BICSI to be able to offer CEC credits when you take their course. (infinias certification now gets you 18 CEC's for example)

Thanks, Ethan. Great article!

I imagined (unconstrained by facts) that having an extra pair of connectors on each end of a run would have two adverse effects. It would increase the distance that the pairs are un-twisted, which could make the run more susceptible to radiating and receiving electromagnetic interference. It would also increase the insertion loss. Together, these effects might have an impact on the ability to sustain Gig E over Cat5e.

The standards seem to suggests that these impacts are negligible and that the benefits of patch panels (clarity, neatness) exceed any benefits that a single cable run might provide.

Anyone else have thoughts or experience on this?

Thanks.

Horace,

Great point and I think that deserves consideration along with troubleshooting and serviceability. I am also concerned about the shield grounding of STP as well. Are the shields grounded at the head end patch panel or should they be grounded at the switch? If not grounded at the switch, the patch cables are probably subject to the most EMI of any of the cable run to the device end.

Don

I have experienced both and prefer the patch cable over direct connect.

It has always made since to me to not move anything in a rack with out good reason.

Anytime you can install your network backbone and have it remain undisturbed it will be more reliable.

In Canada, there is the Canadian Electrical code where there are sections for low voltage / communications wiring. We tend to follow these and not worry about BICSI to much, given that we take preventative measure in wiring methods: ie... not running parallel with A.C. 120+ voltages, sharing raceways, staying from (when possible) ballasted lighting, etc. It makes sense and is good practice to follow the suggestions listed above, ie.. extra length (5ft or more if client is not confident on location) in the field for device and 10 ft at the patch point. Does anyone in this session have any certifications of BICSI or any listed in the disscussion? if so which one? how practical are they for an installer / designer?

"Does anyone in this session have any certifications of BICSI or any listed in the disscussion? if so which one?"

In terms of BICSI certifications, there are/have been several RCDDs, but I do not recall any based in Canada.

Perhaps the most relevant BICSI certification for security, the ESS, was recently deleted. See: BICSI Dumps Security Certification

In general, even BICSI certs are sporadically recognized, and only generally seen as requirements in RFPs/RFQs for bidding/designing government security jobs. As such, they aren't very practical unless you typically bid jobs that explicitly require them.

Great article, as a maint. electrician I am the person who has to troubleshoot problems with the system when something goes wrong, and I know how much longer, and more tedious it can be when cables are not marked.

Good article with lots of relevant info. Seems many security integrators would benefit greatly from the read.

Thanks, this notes gives me a better overview of BICSI.

Hi Ethan, good article.

I'm an active member of BICSI and have been an RCDD since 1999. With that in mind I'd like to offer some clarifications and comments to your article if I may.

You used the phrase "BICSI standards." Actually, BICSI isn't a standards-making body, although they are joint contributors on 2 or 3 telecom standards (e.g. ANSI-BICSI-001-2009 ITS design standard for K-12 educational institutions). BICSI is a professional association (much like IPVM is, only larger) supporting the advancement of the information and communications technology (ICT) community.

The manuals they publish are considered 'best-practices' but definitely are not considered 'standards', such as the actual standards issued by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), Electronics Industry Association (EIA), or American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

With an organization such as IPVM, there's no way BICSI could produce a manual or training course that could complete with the depth and breadth of information provided by IPVM. Maybe they realized your CCTV and access control courses are the best available and decided not to compete.

Cable certification; sadly integrators don't certify and document every cable they install. Testing/certifying cat-5E (class D) and cat-6 (class E) is very important. Cable certification is not a BICSI mandate, but a TIA telecom standard requirement. ANSI-TIA/EIA-568-B.2 General Telecommunications Cabling for Customer Premises describes proper (accurate) testing procedures for testing cat-5E/6, (along with the current ANSI/TIA-568-C.0 standard).

As an engineer for a fairly large engineering firm in California, I write specs and design plans for many public bid, and private bid, projects. Size of these projects range from $50,000 to 2,000,000 for the low voltage systems. All of them have detailed installation and test requirements for cables. Building owners want extended warranties (15-year, 25-year) on their cabling infrastructure and certified test results are a manufacturer's requirement for an extended warranty; certification proves the cables are fully operational. Final payments to contractors are withheld until cable test results are submitted and approved by the owner. So it's pretty important that cables be installed correctly and tested.

Jack wiring; T568A and T568B. These two wiring schemes are detailed in the TIA standards and mentioned in many publications. When I worked for PacTel (now AT&T) back in the day, anything multi line phone (except PBX 1A2 which required 25-pair cable) was wired T568A. All 4-pair UTP data cables for an Ethernet LAN were wired T568B, unless specifically requested as T568A by the owner (government projects were T568A). My experience is 99% of all projects are T568B, and 1% are T568A. That's not to say percentages are the same in every country or state. Just my observation.

Last thing (are you still reading this?! you must be having a pretty boring day), over the last 18 years as a BICSI member, it's my opinion BICSI has become a living breathing revenue-generating beast that lives to sell MORE manuals, and create MORE 'certifications', and don't get me started on those darn MANDATORY conferences! The good thing is, once I got my RCDD, better career opportunities opened, with much higher pay, and a greater future. It seems in the engineering field (Architects & Engineers) having an RCDD (and experience) is equally important if not more important than a college education, and enhances your salary range.

And notice, not once in this post did I mention Hikvision. Just saying.

good info to read about

BICSI is a great organization. I just had a great opportunity to work with a larger project, but unfortunately the facility has had 5 IT engineers in 6 months. The facility relied on a guy who is intelligent but not properly trained or certified and over years and after sabotage as a management scheme finally caught up with him, others were brought in, to a culture formed around this madness. So I as you may imagine I learned a ton from this experience. The IT Folks they have brought in generally do not know what they are doing either.... So old problems become new problems and the cycle just keeps going on and on. There is a lot to be said for suffering an experience like this. Makes you better for the next one!

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