Translating Wireless IP Video Hype into Reality

By IPVM, Published on Aug 25, 2009

Combining video and wireless creates a perfect storm of over-hyped expectations. Numerous technical challenges need to be considered for video – especially when architecting over wireless. This is even more crucial when architecting an outdoor network. However, the flexibility and cost benefits of wireless often make it the most justifiable method.

In this report, we examine key areas that we, at NetLogix, have learned from designing, deploying and managing wireless video surveillance solutions. These include:

  • Translating vendor hype into reality
  • RF and IP experience
  • Processes
  • Ongoing management and operations of wireless, video, and other devices

Translating vendor hype into reality

There are numerous wireless equipment vendors – each claiming to be the best. In reality, each have separate and distinct benefits, but they also have their nuances. Some have superior performance in noisy environments, but the cost is high. Some have excellent data throughput, but provide unreliable spectrum analysis data. Some have excellent data throughput at great distances, but the QoS is lacking. Ultimately, the best way to understand technologies is to actually deploy and test them. But that can be very costly and time consuming.

So how can you figure out what is and is not for real? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. It really just comes down to experience.

If you are just getting your feet wet with wireless, the best advice may be to (a) learn from an expert. Then (b) be cautious about vendor claims – know that actual bandwidth in the field is not going to be equal to the capable bandwidth advertised on the package. (c) You should have an RF expert on staff.

One of the most common mistakes occurs during the specifications phase of a wireless video surveillance project where inexperienced companies simply refer to the manufacturer’s technical documentation when selecting the proper radio and wireless equipment. Although this is the fastest and easiest way to get the information needed, you should note that these specifications of the products are often taken from the best case scenario in perfect environments.

For example, in the 5 GHz bands some Point-to-Multipoint vendors claim 54 Mbps to each node. It is important to note that this is theoretical bandwidth, as opposed to actual bandwidth. In the real world, OFDM-based platforms will provide up to 23 Mbps, whereas non-OFDM-based platforms are around 7 Mbps (just about any new video deployment today uses OFDM).

Another pitfall can occur with the TDM-based nature of wireless in relation to Video Management Systems. Some VMS platforms function terribly in unicast mode (as its core technology is rooted in multicast.) In TDM (Time Division Multiplexing) each individual radio w/camera can only communicate with the Base Station Radio at one fraction of a second in time. Using the wrong VMS can result in choppy video streams and countless hours of troubleshooting. The best way to verify your configurations is by effectively testing in advance of customer deployment.

RF & IP Experience

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

Having RF experience is one thing, understanding IP is another. It is very rare to find the technician that have networking certifications and simultaneously understands principles of RF. In the RF world, ham radio hobbyists tend to be the fastest learners. Many of your successful Wireless ISPs have a history that includes “ham radio junkie” on staff – and that is often the proprietor.

If you’re transitioning from analog video into IP video surveillance, having a knowledgeable IT staff (or partnering with an IP-centric company) is crucial. Wireless performs exceptionally better over IP cameras than over analog cameras with encoders, and anyone who claims otherwise has not field tested enough “IP vs. Analog w/encoder” systems head-to-head yet.

Understanding IP architectures will help you in more ways than simple networking. Some clients – particularly public safety – require advanced VLAN configurations. You may also need to prioritize video packets if the network is going to be used for multiple purposes, so QoS prioritization can become a critical element in delivering a viable end solution.

The last area where this comes into play is in troubleshooting. Having a solid understanding of IP communications is going to better facilitate troubleshooting performance related issues.

Process

A simple, textbook process does not exist for wireless broadband deployments. Thousands of potential hurdles may arise. Experience is key in resolving them. One misstep could result in extensive delays in the deployment process or performance problems.

A good example comes in the form of street light system deployments. Often the power at a street light is gang switched, meaning that the power to the pole is centrally controlled and triggered during night hours. This would mean that you can only capture night time video.

Without a well developed project plan and pre-deployment checklist, there are bound to be problems that extend your installation timelines.

Ongoing management and operations of wireless, video, and other devices

Wireless networks need to be cared for like a baby. The most common problem with “failed” wireless and video networks is due to lack of proper network management.

Every device needs to be entered into your Network Management System upon the day of installation. This way each device reveals performance-over-time data that can be benchmarked and trended over time. Every time a device performs outside of its performance threshold, it will need to be rigorously evaluated through a series of troubleshooting processes.

How you perform at the remote side of network management will have a profound impact on the physical, on-site maintenance. A well managed network will require less on-site maintenance. The reason for less on-site work is a result of the vast majority of issues being resolved from your central Network Operations Center (NOC).

Having a system capable of managing wireless, wireline (every wireless network does connect to a landline network), video, and other applications is going to make ongoing operations very efficient for you. The challenge is going to be in finding the right level of expertise – whether that comes in the form of internal staffing or partnerships is really dependent upon your business model.

Related Reports

Converged vs Dedicated Networks For Surveillance Tutorial on Feb 12, 2020
Use the existing network or deploy a new one? This is a critical choice in...
NetApp Video Surveillance Profile on Mar 09, 2020
NetApp is increasing its efforts in video surveillance and told IPVM...
VSaaS 101 on Mar 25, 2020
Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) is the common industry term for cloud...
Bandwidth Fundamentals For Video Surveillance on Jan 13, 2020
Bandwidth is the most fundamental element of computer networking for video...
Video Surveillance History on May 06, 2020
The video surveillance market has changed significantly since 2000, going...
Camera Field of View (FoV) Guide on Nov 13, 2019
Field of View (FoV) and Angle of View (AoV), are deceptively complex. At...
Remote Network Access for Video Surveillance Guide on Jul 27, 2020
Remotely accessing surveillance systems is key in 2020, with more and more...
Verkada Access Control Tested on Sep 09, 2020
Verkada raised $80 million earlier in 2020, expanding from video into access...
Video Surveillance Architecture 101 on Feb 18, 2020
Video surveillance can be designed and deployed in a number of ways. This 101...
Video Surveillance Cameras 101 on Feb 25, 2020
Cameras come in many shapes, sizes and specifications. This 101 examines the...
nFlux AI Startup Profile on Oct 28, 2019
nFlux, an Amazon, Google, and Microsoft funded AI startup told IPVM their...
Network Optix NxWitness 4.0 Tested on Oct 10, 2019
Network Optix released Nx Witness 4.0, proclaiming new features like a deep...
Consumer IP Camera Analytics / AI Shootout - Arlo, Google / Nest, Amazon / Ring, Hikvision / Ezviz, Wyze Cam, Yi Home on Sep 26, 2019
AI analytics are hitting the mainstream in the consumer camera market, with...
Remote Access (DDNS vs P2P vs VPN) Usage Statistics 2019 on Oct 25, 2019
Remote access can make systems more usable but also more vulnerable. How are...
Security Integrators Outlook On Remaining Integrators In 2025 on Aug 22, 2019
The industry has changed substantially in the last decade, with the rise of...

Recent Reports

Consultants Online Show LIVE Today! on Oct 27, 2020
IPVM's 7th online show will feature 20+ consultants and recruiters presenting...
Eagle Eye Networks Raises $40 Million on Oct 27, 2020
Eagle Eye has raised $40 million aiming to "reinvent video...
Hikvision Q3 2020 Global Revenue Rises, US Revenue Falls on Oct 27, 2020
While Hikvision's global revenue rises driven by domestic recovery, its US...
VICE Investigates Verkada's Harassing "RawVerkadawgz" on Oct 26, 2020
This month, IPVM investigated Verkada's sexism, discrimination, and cultural...
Six Flags' FDA Violating Outdoor Dahua Fever Cameras on Oct 26, 2020
As Six Flags scrambled to reopen parks amid plummeting revenues caused by the...
ISC Brasil Digital Experience 2020 Report on Oct 23, 2020
ISC Brasil 2020 rebranded itself to ISC Digital Experience and, like its...
Top Video Surveillance Service Call Problems 2020 on Oct 23, 2020
3 primary and 4 secondary issues stood out as causing the most problems when...
GDPR Impact On Temperature / Fever Screening Explained on Oct 22, 2020
What impact does GDPR have on temperature screening? Do you risk a GDPR fine...
Security And Safety Things (S&ST) Tested on Oct 22, 2020
S&ST, a Bosch spinout, is spending tens of millions of dollars aiming to...
Nokia Fever Screening Claims To "Advance Fight Against COVID-19" on Oct 22, 2020
First IBM, then briefly Clorox, and now Nokia becomes the latest Fortune 500...
Deceptive Meridian Temperature Tablets Endanger Public Safety on Oct 21, 2020
IPVM's testing of and investigation into Meridian Kiosk's temperature...
Honeywell 30 Series and Vivotek NVRs Tested on Oct 21, 2020
The NDAA ban has driven many users to look for low-cost NVRs not made by...
Ubiquiti Access Control Tested on Oct 21, 2020
Ubiquiti has become one of the most widely used wireless and switch providers...
Avigilon Aggressive Trade-In Program Takes Aim At Competitors on Oct 20, 2020
Avigilon has launched one of the most aggressive trade-in programs the video...
Mexico Video Surveillance Market Overview 2020 on Oct 20, 2020
Despite being neighbors, there are key differences between the U.S. and...