Veracity LONGSPAN PoE Extender

By Ethan Ace, Published Oct 28, 2012, 08:00pm EDT

Cabling over long distances can be very expensive. Cameras installed in distant locations such as parking lots may require expensive fiber optic cabling instead of typical UTP. However, Ethernet over twisted pair (EoTP) products have become more readily available, allowing a number of common cable types to be reused for these installations, potentially reducing cabling expenses. In this note, we examine the latest EoTP entry, the Longspan from Veracity, which promises greater distances and more PoE power than competitive products, at lower cost.

Overview

Veracity's Longspan is an Ethernet over twisted pair adapter, using 1-4 pair UTP cables to transmit 10/100 Ethernet and PoE up to 25W --(802.3af/at supported). Longspan may be powered either via dedicated power supply or via PoE switch. The maximum specified distance for Hi-PoE is 600m using Cat 6 cable. Using more common Cat 5e cable and 15W PoE distances of up to 800m are specified.

Longspan is available now from select distributors, with wider distribution in late Q4 2012. Pricing is set ~$200 USD per side.

Competitive Comparison

Longspan is slightly less costly than many common EoTP converters from manufacturers such as Vigitron, Comnet, and Nitek, which normally sell for $250-300 online per side, $500-600 total. PoE transmission distance is also modestly increased. Competitive models are capable of 802.3af PoE at a maximum of about 300-400m, on average.

Veracity also includes diagnostic LEDs on both ends of a Longspan link, a feature not found on competitive products. These LEDs display link status and speed, as well as available PoE power. Without this, separate PoE testing must be performed to ensure sufficient power is available at the camera location, which may increase installation and troubleshooting time.

Potential Applications

While many users are familiar with Ethernet over coax adapters, Ethernet over twisted pair is not as common, since most analog systems are installed using coaxial cable. However, there are three key uses for EoTP:

  • Analog to IP upgrades of UTP cameras: This application is most similar to EoC's typical use, changing out analog cameras which were installed using UTP for new IP cameras. A transceiver is installed at either end of the cable, which may be beyond the 100m limit allowed by cabling standards.
  • Using UTP for backhaul: The second application, not typically seen in EoC, is reusing existing UTP cables to backhaul a group of cameras from one location to another. In many older facilities, fiber optic uplinks are not available between buildings or even within some larger facilities. EoTP products such as Longspan may be used to transmit camera signal between these locations on existing telephone cable, avoiding the expense of installing new fiber cables.
  • Distant camera locations: Finally, EoTP adapters may be used when installing cameras which are simply too far to use standard Ethernet links. Using UTP is less expensive than installing fiber optic cable and media converters, though users should be aware of potential surge protection issues when running cables in exposed locations.

For detailed information, users may see our reusing existing twisted pair tutorial

Recommendations

As with any new product, users should beware of specified distances cited on data sheets, as real-world use may differ. However, given its longer distance specifications and diagnostic features, for a price equal to or lower than competitive products, along with Veracity's reputation in EoC products, the Longspan is likely a good choice for users seeking EoTP transceivers. 

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