Where to Install Headend Equipment

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Mar 14, 2012

Installing surveillance headend equipment in the wrong location can lead to increased failure rates or tampering. Often little thought is given to this decision, since security systems are frequently considered only after a facility is designed and built. In this update, we will look at the three most common locations where equipment is mounted and the advantages and disadvantages or each. Finally, we give our recommendations on how to best protect equipment that must be located "anywhere it fits".

Arbitrary Placement

Likely the most common location for equipment in small installation is "wherever there's room". This often amounts to locating equipment on or under a desk, on top of cabinets or other furniture, or on a wall shelf. If employees are trusted, and the location is not in view of the public, this is often not a problem. However, it may lead to unforeseen complications if not considered carefully:

  • Security: Most often, when system equipment is arbitrarily placed, no security measures are taken to prevent access to it. This makes it easier for settings to be changed and the systems disabled. If equipment is located in a highly visible location, criminals may easily remove or destroy the recorder, eliminating evidence of their crime in the process.
  • Environment: These locations are rarely chosen with consideration of environmental controls. This could contribute to dust and debris entering equipment fans, or internal temperatures being above recommended operating levels for extended periods of time. As we discussed in our hard drive failure statistics, these are the most common reasons for hard drive failure, increasing the probability that archived video will be unavailable when needed.
  • Access: Placing the equipment in an out of the way location may obstruct access to it when it is needed. This may be a problem, for example, if the recorder must be directly accessed to retrieve video. Connecting the recorder to a network and using remote client software alleviates this problem, at least somewhat, but equipment is still difficult to access for servicing, and this "out of sight, out of mind" philosophy may lead to the system falling into disrepair. 

With Monitoring Equipment

In some systems, users prefer to mount equipment in dedicated monitoring furniture, if a central monitoring console exists. These consoles are often made with rack space built-in. This furniture does not suffer from the same security or accessibility issues of arbitrary placement, as the location is generally secure, and staffed much of the day, or 24/7. Locating equipment in furniture does have its own issues:

  • Environment: While monitoring furniture may ship with rack space, it is not intended to have a rack's worth of equipment installed in it. Often, it is not properly ventilated to handle high heat loads.
  • Noise: Fan noise from equipment may become a nuisance to monitoring staff. VMS servers, which routinely are under mid-to-high server load, may be especially loud.

If either of these two points are issues at the monitoring location, equipment should be moved to a remotely located rack, which provides better thermal management, and reduces noise levels near users.

IT Racks

In facilities where space is available, either in existing racks, or new, equipment should be rack mounted. Placing equipment in dedicated spaces alleviates issues of access, environmental control, noise, and security, or at the very least, makes these easier to manage, since the space is not used for other purposes.

In spaces shared with general IT equipment, issues of physical access to security equipment may arise. Short of installing a dedicated locking cabinet for all equipment, there is little that can be done. Locking plexiglass covers are available, which can prevent access to connections and power switches in some cases, but access to power cords and patch cables may be impossible to completely prevent.

Recommendations

Generally speaking, equipment should be rack-mounted whenever possible, in dedicated IT racks. Failing this, if a monitoring station exists, consider placing equipment there. Ad-hoc placement should be considered as a last resort, only if no other space can be made.

If equipment absolutely must be placed arbitrarily, two considerations may contribute greatly to the system's usability:

  • Enclosures: To improve security and offer some protection from dust and debris, equipment in exposed locations should be installed in some sort of enclosure. Lockboxes and small wall-mount cabinets are available for as little as $50 online, and can prevent access by unauthorized parties.
  • Working height: If equipment must be directly accessed to operate and export video, it should be mounted at a working height of no more than approximately 48". Even if the system is network-connected, and these operations can be performed remotely, this height is a good idea, to make servicing and routine maintenance easier.
Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Security Installation Tools Guide - 22 Tools Listed on Feb 19, 2019
In this guide, we cover 22 tools that security installers frequently use. This is one part of our upcoming Video Surveillance...
Solink Raises $12 Million - Company Profile on Feb 12, 2019
Most industry professionals have never heard of Solink, a company whose tagline is: It's time to revolutionize the way business uses...
Barnes Buchanan 2019: Despite 'Strange Narrative' Great Time To Be In Security on Feb 11, 2019
A "strange narrative" is being spun, said Michael Barnes at the 2019 Barnes Buchanan Conference. However, despite that narrative, it is a "great...
Dahua Intercom Tested on Feb 07, 2019
Video intercoms are a growing market with video surveillance manufacturers expanding into this niche. IPVM is continuing its series of video...
Designing Access Control Guide on Jan 30, 2019
Designing an access control solution requires decisions on 8 fundamental questions. This in-depth guide helps you understand the options and...
ONVIF Video Surveillance Tutorial on Jan 29, 2019
ONVIF is well known within the surveillance industry as an interface to connect IP cameras and VMS systems. However, new users may find it...
Access Control Turnstiles Guide on Jan 28, 2019
Turnstiles control pedestrian access to secured areas, essentially becoming moving portions of fences, walls, or barricades for physically stop...
Intersec 2019 Show Report on Jan 23, 2019
The 2019 Intersec show, held annually in Dubai, is now complete. IPVM attended for 3 days, interviewing numerous Chinese and Western video...
Cable Trenching for Surveillance on Jan 21, 2019
Trenching cable for surveillance is surprisingly complex. While using shovels, picks, and hoes is not advanced technology, the proper planning,...
Access Control Cabling Tutorial on Jan 15, 2019
Access Control is only as reliable as its cables. While this aspect lacks the sexiness of other components, it remains a vital part of every...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Security Installation Tools Guide - 22 Tools Listed on Feb 19, 2019
In this guide, we cover 22 tools that security installers frequently use. This is one part of our upcoming Video Surveillance...
Sales Cuts At Rasilient on Feb 19, 2019
Over the past 2 years, video surveillance storage specialist Rasilient has expanded its workforce significantly, aiming to build its own branded...
Exacq Raises VMS Software Pricing Twice in Less Than a Year on Feb 18, 2019
Most VMSes regularly release new features, but rarely increase their prices. For the 3rd time in 4 years, and 2nd time in 8 months, since being...
Axis IR Multi Imager Camera Tested (P3717-PLE) on Feb 18, 2019
Axis has released their first IR multi imager, the P3717-PLE, a repositionable model listing 360° IR illumination and flexible positioning,...
Ubiquiti Favorability Results 2019 on Feb 18, 2019
Ubiquiti has quietly grown into a $1+ billion annual revenue company, with offerings across wireless, wireline network and video surveillance (see...
Casino Surveillance Pro Interview: James Lathrop on Feb 15, 2019
James Lathrop has been working in casinos for almost 25 years. During that time, he says he has held "just about every job you can do in the...
Hikvision 2018 Revenue Tops $7 Billion USD But Growth Slows To Low on Feb 15, 2019
Hikvision's annual revenue topped $7 billion for the first time in 2018, although growth slowed sharply. In this post, we analyze the latest...
Hanwha Smaller Multi Imager Tested (PNM-9000VQ) on Feb 14, 2019
Hanwha's first repositionable multi imager PNM-9081VQ tested well, but was huge, over 12" wide and weighing in at over 10 pounds. Now, they have...
ADT And 'The Defenders' Silent About Massive Complaints on Feb 14, 2019
ADT's largest dealer, "The Defenders" has been the subject of a massive number of complaints over many years and many forums, most recently a CBS...
Hikvision Chairman Praises United Front on Feb 14, 2019
Hikvision’s controlling shareholder held a meeting last month praising the United Front, a Communist Party organization known for its secretive...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact