We have yet to deploy any of the handheld programmers. I just can't see the value in a ~$799 tool that can only program cameras and test cables. Techs still need laptops to program switches, wireless, servers, VMSs, and other network systems.
All depends on how you build out your system. We start with the server and work our way out so the cameras are on the network and can be managed centrally soon as they are plugged in. All the installer needs to do at the camera is aim it which is done fast with the WIFI dongle. This way the customer can see the camera as it is aimed to give approval.
The Hanwha dongle is not proprietary (possible same thing for the Avigilon unit) - any dongle listed on the supported devices will work. Also, once you are connect to the WiFi created by the network you can actually just surf to the camera IP address in your mobile or tablet browser and get the full camera interface.
Thanks for the comment. We mean proprietary in the sense that while it is a standard USB network adapter, it is not open, as in it can't be used to connect to just any camera, such as Axis, Hikvision, Dahua, etc. Further, the adapters on the supported lists of Avigilon and Hanwha are different, so not even interchangeable between the two. The adapter isn't proprietary; the support is.
To be clear, also, we mention that the web interface can be used with both of them, and include it in the demo video, as well.
We Actually use the SecuriTest Device and so far its been great with us , very easy installation and test at field, our unit has also testing for Optical Fiber which gives great variety in testing on field.
You can, but based on our discussions with users, both in this discussion and others, they were being used far less often than the branded models. For one, Ideal is a 100-yeard-old well known US manufacturer, and even though it is OEM, they provide support for the SecuriTest IP. By contrast, support on the no name versions is poor, both in our experience (we tested one in 2016) during and after testing, as well as anecdotally from users.
Have you used the sub-$400 models? How do you feel they work?
Negative, sir. I pre-program the cameras before I install them. I also have an old ToteVision for general camera positioning that has survived many tumbles off of ladders etc. Something of which I haven't used in 10 years or so. AHJs of sorts like to make us move cameras regardless of how well we place the camera so I've resigned to the fact that I have to go back out to every camera anyway.
Reading my statement again, it reads like I was recommending the units. I didn't mean for it to come off that way. I just meant to raise awareness that they are out there.
I'd be interested how these perform compared to the Ideal. I've purchased some Ideal stuff in the past, like their toner/tracer, cat5/6 testers etc, and I find the plastics cheap and flimsy in my experience. How do you consider the build quality on this device? Is their any hope this thing will take a spill off of a ladder? My ToteVision would fall apart and scatter in to 20 pieces like an old Nokia but it always went back together.
The report function seems pretty cool and I'd be interested to see the reports they generate. Is there any chance you could generate a report and post it? :D
Here's a sample test report. We'll review how it's generated in another report soon, but you essentially tap the "Doc" icon in the ONVIF app, tap generate report, and fill in some basic info. Everything else is automatic.
The funny thing is, multiple manufacturers claim to also be the actual manufacturer of these testers. WSDCam claims to be the OEM, as well. I'm guessing that it's like many Shenzhen IP cameras: there are common components and they're assembled by various companies. Because of that, quality may vary tremendously.
We actually received an import model today and are working on adding it to the report now.
Ideal has the camera report function, which I gave an example of above, and the import version does not.
Ideal includes cable tests for wiremap and length, as well as a tone generator, which the low cost import version does not. Those features are available in other models from the same manufacturer(s), but they are close to Ideal in price.
The Ideal build feels better. Buttons are more responsive and backlit, not available in the import models. It feels more substantial, too, slightly heavier, but just feels better built.
Software is slightly different, but many apps are the same. We experienced crashes with the import model that simply didn't happen in the Ideal tester.
We use an off-brand model like the Ideal. The problem we have with it is the model of cameras we use require Active-X to use a web browser and the web browser that comes with our off-brand model doesn't have it. We can still get to the GUI on the web browser, just can't see the video. The ONVIF function works great for setting FoV and we can set the IP address if necessary but setting the other functions using the ONVIF app doesn't work very well. Does the Ideal model use Active-X in the web browser?
None of the portable installation tools I am aware of including the IDEAL SecuriTEST IP support ActiveX. ActiveX is an extension of Internet Explorer and therefore runs on Windows devices. Most of these tools run Android operating systems and therefore will not support live video streaming via IE/ActiveX.
We do find that some versions of Android browsers like Firefox support MJPG video better than Chrome. If the camera supports it, you can change to a MJPG stream to view live video in the browser.
ONVIF functionality with a field tester is determined completely by the camera manufacturer. They can limit the setting that are viewable/editable through ONVIF. Some vendors disable ONVIF by default and require using the web interface to enable a profile or create a user account that supports ONVIF. Axis has done this in their newer software versions.
With ONVIF enabled I have yet to see a camera that doesn't allow configuration of the IP address. It can be set to dynamic or static with a user specified IP, subnet and DNS address.
Most cameras also let you edit the camera name and location. The IDEAL tester grabs this information for the test report so it pays to update it when installing the camera. By default most cameras will have "Shenzhen China" as the default location.You probably don't want that on your reports.
We like that kind of tools. We are partial to made-for-the-purpose appliances and those hits all the right buttons. We will likely acquire either the model from Triplett (a company which has provided EXCEPTIONAL customer support) or the Ideal (Long lived company, for a reason: Quality products).. I would advise my fellow integrators to not just bolt for the no-name versions .. it can be a miss ... or a miss or ... after the 4th trial a hit to be followed by a .... miss .. you get the point ;) We went through the Woshidas and cannot in good faith recommend these: When they arrived, they were answers to many questions. They seemingly did everything, except install the camera on the wall with no human assistance:) ... then after 3 months, the first crapped out .. the second did after 6 onths and a contractor friend who had purchased, on our recommendation, a pair had his units crap out too... Sending email to the distributor/manufacturer/seller on Amazon was futile. So much that Amazon had to step in and refund us ... The average lifespan of those Woshidas is 6 months from anecdotal but credible sources...
I may acquire one Triplett and one Ideal to see how it goes..
As IPVM has pointed out, IDEAL is using an OEM to produce the hardware for us. What differs between the SecuriTEST IP and the other "generic" brands is that we have spent over a year improving the software on the tester. The software that comes on the $400 E-bay/Amazon testers is tragically difficult to use. We have many customers who used those testers once and stuck them in a drawer never to be used again because they couldn't reliably connect to cameras.
With our tester they were able to connect to cameras nearly immediately. Also, the default mode of the OEM software is that the DHCP server is on. Since these testers can be used to discover direct-connected cameras or plugged into a LAN to discover active network cameras, imagine the problems that arise when installers unknowingly connect a DHCP server to the CCTV network.
As someone else mentioned, IDEAL is known for providing excellent customer support. Even though we have put huge effort into making the tester intuitive for anyone to use, we know that it is no replacement for local support and repair. Ask where the generic branded testers need to go for repair. IDEAL testers are serviced/repaired at our corporate headquarters near Chicago.
We found it's much faster to install the cameras, setup the network. Then initialize the cameras and then point the cameras at the very end using the mobile app. With this method, multiple techs can point multiple cameras at the same time.... which makes these tools nice to have but not a necessity.
I have a question on the Ideal tool if you don't mind answering it if you know:
Can I see switch IP and port number on the tool? I think I saw it do mostly everything else that a basic Fluke does apart from this. Our net team handles the portion back in the net closets, and it's just easier for me to grab this information at time of installation for my documentation. No big deal if the tool can't, but I'd like to use just one tool and only really bust out the Fluke if I'm troubleshooting a real problem.
I like what I see though. Hands-free (and not using my phone and draining its battery) would be a big plus over what we're currently using.
U5 - Thanks for the question. No, it does not retrieve this information for your via an app or automated tool. I tried to get FindIT (Cisco's Network Discovery Utility), but it's seems to be only for Windows / MAC. However the ideal does accommodate gathering this information manually, since you can login to the switch interface via Chrome:
It also has the ability to enable / disable switch port lights via tapping the off soft-button below, which can also help with port identification:
FYI, screen-shots can be captured by pressing and holding the Enter button.
Up to six images can be saved on each report including screenshots. So you can document the switch/port ID by using the browser when connecting the tester to the network cable and saving the screen. Then with the camera connected, create the test report and include the browser screenshot along with the FOV image from the camera.
We purchased the Axis T8415 early in 2018, for a project that covered a large area where electrical outlets were not nearby; otherwise, we would have used a PoE switch. Unfortunately, our project also involved Q3708-PVE and Q3709-PVE cameras, both of which the T8415 was not able to reliably power.
We opened a ticket with Axis tech support and they escalated the issue for investigation internally. After a couple of weeks, the Axis team came back and reported that they too were able to replicate the issue.
After some serious testing, it has been determined that in order for the installation tool to work properly with the Q3708-PVE camera the battery of the Installation Tool needs to be fully charged. The voltage indicator does not always give a 100% representation of the remaining power in the battery, only the voltage level.
What they observed during our testing is that when the battery was 11.5v when loaded with a 25w load before charging it we would experience the issue you were experiencing.
However, once my escalation fully charged the battery they were able to power the Q3708-PVE cameras without an issue.
Unfortunately, we were not able to get the T8415 to reliably power the Q370x cameras, even when the T8415 unit was "fully charged". Keep in mind that our T8415 was brand new from distribution. When we plug our T8415 into Q370x cameras, the unit appears to be starting, then goes into a cycle where it continuously reboots and does not present a stable WiFi signal.
We requested a return of the T8415 under warranty and Axis refused, citing our purchase from a second-step distributor, even though that respected, well-known distributor had purchased from an authorized Axis distributor (ie: the product is genuine).
While the T8415 seems to work well for devices (even non-Axis gear) that draw less power, we are not impressed with the performance on higher-end cameras that fully load the PoE power source.
Update: I had occasion to be back on the client's site, working with the Q3708-PVE cameras that gave us such trouble with the Axis T8415 earlier this year. This time, I was equipped with the Ideal SecuriTEST IP. Wow, what a world of difference...
The SecuriTEST IP was able to easily locate previously configured Axis Q3708-PVE cameras on the network, access the web interface, change configuration settings and view live video previews. The SecuritTEST IP performed all of these tasks in a fraction of the time and using far fewer pieces of equipment, than if we were using the Axis T8415 or a laptop + PoE injector. In the cases where we needed to eliminate the network switch and connect to the cameras directly, the SecuriTEST IP didn't have any of the PoE+ issues that the Axis T8415 exhibited, when paired with the Q3708 cameras. I wish we would have had the SecuriTEST IP on the initial install, instead of struggling through with the T8415.
Thank you for the write-up that brought the Ideal unit to our attention, IPVM.
Ideal’s is the best I’ve used just got one a month ago. I was camparing the ideal one to a no name unit one we have as well and two key things I like better on Ideal’s is that they but the camera ports on the top of the unit and not on the bottom which makes using it easier. And Ideal has that on/off switch which is actually a battery disconnect so when off your battery won’t slowly drain.
I wish I would've seen this before buying a cheaper tool that can't show higher resolution images. The SecuriTest IP has a special right now if you buy it before January 30, 2020, they throw in a free IDEAL Network VDV II Plus (R158002) device.