Translating Wireless IP Video Hype into Reality

Author: Nate Rheinhart, 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 Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

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.

Author: Nate Rinehart is Product Manager, Video Solutions at NetLogix

Related Reports

'Clowns' Allege Ubiquiti 'Completely Fraudulent' on Sep 20, 2017
A short seller has alleged Ubiquiti is 'completely fraudulent'. Ubiquiti's CEO has responded calling them 'clowns'. Here is the short...
September IP Networking Course on Sep 14, 2017
LAST Chance - Registration is ending. Register now. This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance professionals...
Dedicated Vs Converged IP Video Networks Statistics on Sep 12, 2017
'Convergence' has been a major industry theme for many years. All organizations have IP networks today with laptops, tablets, phones and more...
October Camera Course on Sep 07, 2017
Learn video surveillance and get certified. IPVM provides live online classes, recorded videos, personal help, cutting edge education and...
FLIR Lorex Wire Free System Tested on Aug 29, 2017
Wire free video surveillance is a major trend amongst consumers. But wire free systems tend to be designed for few cameras, lower resolution and...
Ubiquiti FrontRow Camera Tested on Aug 24, 2017
Ubiquiti is famous for low-cost wireless network equipment, a common choice for wireless video surveillance applications. The company has expanded...
Honeywell Total Connect 2.0 Tested on Aug 22, 2017
Honeywell is one of the biggest brands in security, with Total Connect 2.0 being the company's remote security and smarthome platform. We bought...
Dahua 4K IR PTZ Tested on Aug 21, 2017
4K has made its way to IR PTZs. In this report, we examine the Dahua 6AE830VNI, a 4K PTZ with 30x optical zoom, 200m (~650') integrated IR, and...
Sony Next Gen HD Dome Camera Tested (SNC-EM642R) on Aug 18, 2017
Sony has released their latest generation, claiming improved WDR and low light, increased IR range, and more. We tested the SNC-EM642R outdoor IR...
Cat 5e vs Cat 6 vs Cat 6a Network Cable Usage Statistics on Aug 16, 2017
Cat 5e? Cat 6? Cat 6a? What do integrators use in practice, today? 140+ integrators told IPVM. Here are the results: For those who want to...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Reseting IP Cameras - 30 Manufacturer Directory on Sep 22, 2017
Every camera has a reset button (well, almost) but it is not always clear what these buttons do, how long they need to be held, what settings they...
80+ OEMs Verified Vulnerable To Hikvision Backdoor on Sep 22, 2017
Over 80 Hikvision OEM partners, including ADI, Interlogix, LTS, and Northern Video, have been verified as having products vulnerable to the...
Genetec Launches Cloud Access Control (Synergis SaaS) on Sep 21, 2017
Genetec's cloud everything expansion continues, with their announcement of Synergis SaaS edition, joining their cloud video offering Stratocast,...
Genetec CEO Warns Against Insider Threats on Sep 21, 2017
With Dahua and Hikvision cybersecurity issues becoming indisputable, a new counter has emerged. Just put them behind a firewall, buy cheap...
New IPVM Calculator V3 Released on Sep 20, 2017
The New IPVM Calculator V3 is released. An entirely new architecture delivers the following benefits: Turbo The calculator is now ~50% faster in...
Automatic Door Operators For Access Tutorial on Sep 20, 2017
Opening and closing doors might sound simple, but it takes a high-tech piece of door hardware to pull it off. Integrating automatic door operators...
'Clowns' Allege Ubiquiti 'Completely Fraudulent' on Sep 20, 2017
A short seller has alleged Ubiquiti is 'completely fraudulent'. Ubiquiti's CEO has responded calling them 'clowns'. Here is the short...
Avigilon 'Blue' Cloud Entry Examined on Sep 19, 2017
Avigilon is moving to the cloud. The company announced their Avigilon Blue platform, designed to be a web-managed surveillance system, utilizing...
HID Buys Mercury Security on Sep 19, 2017
One of the biggest access control deals in years. Mercury Security, the most widely used access hardware OEM, and partner to 20+ manufacturers,...
Hikvision Backdoor Exploit on Sep 18, 2017
Full disclosure to the Hikvision backdoor has been released, allowing easy exploit of vulnerable Hikvision IP cameras. As the researcher, Monte...

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