Training: Enterprise Network Switches for IP Video

By Benros Emata, Published Sep 07, 2010, 12:00am EDT (Research)

Many surveillance systems use non-enterprise class switches. These switches are simple to administer as they typically rely on GUI driven interfaces for configuration and management. (As an example, see our test of Cisco-Linksys's basic managed switch). However, they lack more advanced features and functionalities important for large-scale IP surveillance.

This training focuses on command line interface (CLI) driven configuration interfaces commonly found on enterprise-class switches. Familiarity and proficiency with CLI based enterprise switches allows for more sophisticated design options and enhances integration with corporate networks.

This training provides 80 minutes of video tutorials on configuring enterprise class switches for IP video.  We demonstrate network configuration concepts using the popular Cisco IOS command line interface (CLI) as a representative enterprise level switch.

Skills developed in using the Cisco IOS CLI will transfer to almost any other vendor's CLI such as Hewlett Packard, Huawei, Enterasys, Adtran, Foundry, Alcatel-Lucent, Motorola, Riverbed, and others. These and other vendors implement CLIs that are either very close copies of the Cisco CLI or of varying likenesses to it.  Vendors may even market claims of Cisco IOS 'likeness' to attract IT purchasers.

For stand-alone IP video systems, enterprise-class switches offer increased PoE reliability, more extensive and proven support for multicast technologies, more granular QoS controls, layer 3 routing possibilities, an overall depth of support for open standards, and more intensive tech-support for advanced deployments.

Moreover, for projects requiring IP video systems integration into corporate networks, a vendor preferred enterprise class switch is often times mandated.  Corporate IT departments have many well-founded reasons to maintain as homogeneous a network as possible.  These policies reduce risk of interoperability issues between devices, help assure that new devices are supported by network wide monitoring and management systems, and capitalize on existing knowledge and familiarity with products, by avoiding training for new systems or products.

Watch a preview of this training:

In this video, we explain how to connect directly to a 'fresh out of the box' switch using a console connection. We continue with some 'show' commands that allow you to interrogate your switch's existing status.  You'll then learn about the switch's file system, which stores operating system and configuration files necessary to the switch's operation. Finally, we perform a 'default to factory' settings, so that you can start your deployment from 'scratch' without possible interference from 'old' configurations.

Basic Enterprise Switch Configuration and Management Part II

In this Part II video, we continue the basics by showing you how to allow telnet or remote management sessions to your switch.  Enabling remote management allows for greater management flexibility across a LAN or even WAN connection.  We also explain how to backup configuration files to a remote TFTP server. This provides another level of protection for your configuration files. Finally, we'll restore the configuration file from the TFTP server.

Advanced Enterprise Switch Configuration and Management Part I

In this video, we segment a switch into two distinct VLANs, effectively preventing communications between the 'Video' and 'Data' devices.  If you're planning to integrate a video system into an existing corporate network, best practices call for placing cameras and VMS systems into a dedicated 'video' VLAN. Next, we discuss Layer 2 versus Layer 3 switches and the nuances involved when purchasing a switch. Finally, we'll demonstrate how to enable communications between the 'Video' and 'Data' VLANs.

Advanced Enterprise Switch Configuration and Management Part II

In this video, we delve into the internal monitoring capabilities of the switch.  You'll see how to view interface statistics such as errors and bandwidth utilization. We'll also view what class (2, 3, or unspecified) of PoE devices are registered to the switch, and view CPU processor utilization. Next, we configure SNMP to allow more detailed monitoring of our  video system's performance by a popular 3rd party monitoring tool.  Next, we'll secure our ports so that only 'approved' cameras can connect with a specific MAC address. Finally we demonstrate an optimization technique that allows cameras to quickly start sending traffic onto the network.


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