Comprehensive Surveillance Cabling Guide

By Brian Rhodes, Published Dec 17, 2014, 12:00am EST

Surveillance cabling seems mundane, yet is a critical topic. A system with the best equipment can still be a failure if the network connecting it is shoddy or not properly installed, while carefully designed and installed cable can potentially be used for decades.

In this guide, we assemble important IPVM cable posts in one spot as a reference for designers, installers, and specifiers to brush up on guidelines for successful security networks. 

Understanding the Options

When it comes to networking cameras, Category 5/5e cabling is tops. However, these requirements are often misstated, misunderstood, and clouded in confusing terminology. The selections below describe the differences between common ethernet cable grades, how they are terminated, and the difference in how they are shielded:

Architectural Design Impacts 

Of the hundreds of ways to cable cameras, the building itself often further dictates which type of cable to use.  Failure to observe the areas where cable is run can create serious hazards, result in performance issues, or drive needless costs:

Installation

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Running cable right is important to prevent costly troubleshooting and inflating the risk of damage. Whether running cable through walls, under ground, and then checking them to ensure nothing was damaged in the process, the updates below cover cable install basics:

Using What's Already Installed

In many cases, older surveillance systems are already installed. Making use of existing cabling is a potential cost saver for network cameras, even if it is 'analog' coax or simple UTP:

Long Distance Challenges

Not all cameras can be connected to a switch less than 300 feet away. Many IP cameras need to be run hundreds, even thousands of meters away from the nearest network closet.  Whether it is hanging cameras in a large building or throughout a huge parking lot, cabling requirements change over long distances:

Fiber Optics

Finally, for situations dealing with extreme distances measuring kM or miles, or where high-bandwidth capacity backbones are needed, glass fiber is required. While the average surveillance installer may be intimidated by the particulars of fiber optics, many products are available to make it easier to design and installer glass fiber networks:

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