Siklu Wireless Video Surveillance Examined

By Ethan Ace, Published May 07, 2015, 12:00am EDT

Wireless video surveillance has not been an easy market over the past few years. Ubiquiti drained money out of the market by making $200 wireless links a reality. And former 'leaders' like Firetide, have sold out.

However, one established wireless manufacturer, Siklu, is now entering the video surveillance market with a different approach.

In this note, we break down the features, pricing, core strengths and weaknesses of Siklu for video surveillance.

Siklu Overview

Siklu is targeting the EtherHaul-600T [link no longer available] for the video surveillance market with the pitch of "Palm-sized Gigabit radio for street level deployment." The radio has the following key features:

  • 60 GHz band
  • Integrated 35 dBi antenna, 2.5° beamwidth
  • Three GbE ports, one PoE
  • Specified range up to 1,600' at 99.999% availability
  • Compact 6"x5"x3.5" size

Price

The MSRP for a link / pair of radios is $6,000. Update: Siklu has reduced pricing significantly to $3,680 USD.

Key Advantages

Siklu claims three key advantages over competitors such as Ubiquiti:

  • Less interference: First is their use of the 60 GHz band in the EtherHaul-600T. This unlicensed spectrum has traditionally only been used for military communications, not Ethernet transmission, so is far less crowded than typical 2.4/5.8 GHz bands.
  • Higher speeds: The 600T is rated at gigabit speeds, while typical 2.4/5.8 GHz radios offer 100-300 Mb/s, depending on frequency and MIMO architecture. Siklu points out some cameras have much higher bandwidth needs (multi-imagers or full frame rate 4K, etc.) plus that this bandwidth could be shared by other non-security services, such as public wi-fi, SCADA, etc. However, a majority of deployments are security only, with only 1-2 cameras to be streamed via the link needing no more than 5Mb/s or 10Mb/s, and no desire for shared services.
  • Small form factor: Compared to Ubiquiti's gigabit radios, Siklu's 600T is much smaller and logistically easier / more aesthetically acceptable to mount on a lightpole with a camera.

Key Disadvantages

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Siklu's main disadvantage in the security market is cost. While their claims of increased throughput and lower interference are differentiators versus lower cost products, these advantages are often unnecessary in surveillance deployments outside of backhaul applications. Even after dealer discount, the EtherHaul-600T is drastically more expensive than many common manufacturers. Update: After cutting the price by nearly 50%, this is not as significant and will help them overcome the price delta but it is still a notable factor.

For example, Ubiquiti's NanoBeam AC sells for ~$100 per radio/$200 per link online, a fraction of the cost of the EtherHaul-600T (though max throughput is 450 Mb/s vs. 1 Gb/s). Further, even less expensive Ubiquiti models are available, such as the NanoStation, which sells for $50 online (though limited to 100 Mb/s). 

A secondary concern is the relatively short range. Though exact range depends on local rain / precipitation levels, typically the links are limited to 1km or less, which limits how far radios can be placed. While multiple radios can be used together to extend distances, this comes at a further increase in price.

Outlook

Because of the significant pricing premium, we expect most will continue to use lower cost manufacturers such as Ubiquiti, Ruckus, etc., as Siklu's features are unnecessary in most wireless video surveillance applications.

In more critical, complex applications, Siklu is more attractive though still faces competition from established manufacturers such as Fluidmesh, Proxim, etc., who, though higher priced than Ubiquiti, are still lower cost than the EtherHaul-600T.

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