New Daisy Chain IP Cameras (Vivotek)

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Dec 22, 2014

Surveillance cameras have traditionally all required home run cabling, with each connected to a dedicated network switch or DVR port.

Now, Vivotek has added PoE extension to select cameras (aka, daisy chaining) with the aim of reducing cabling, infrastructure, and overall cost.

The question is: Do these cameras make sense in the field? In this note we break down the capabilities of this new line, features, pricing, potential applications where it may make sense, and potential future impact.

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Comments (19)

I would be worried about troubleshooting. Is it the first camera with the issue? The second? The last? Seems like if the last camera did not have an image it could be anything upstream from that camera causing the problem. The cost savings on install could be eaten up pretty quickly by a lengthy service visit.

However, the first and middle devices must be Vivotek PoE extender cameras.

Is this because typical POE cameras don't have a POE out jack, and therefore can't ever really be in the middle? Or meaning even if a camera had a compliant af POE out it still would not work?

Vivotek also sells this POE Conduit box extender to fit some existing domes, would any of these cameras, once fitted, be compatible as well?

It's hard to understand why this could not be done with a 3-way adapter (1 jack for the cameras and 2 jacks to insert it in the "bus" line), other than the fact I have not seen such a device yet, but it would preclude having to use a particular brand cameras. Maybe if enough people showed interest some manufacturer like Veracity might develop such a device.

I guess in short (too late) what I'm trying to say is I don't see there much interest unless you're already a Vivotek dealer/user and this need comes up. Otherwise you could accomplish this with devices from NVT or Nitek.

I'd agree that having a third party device may be more attractive. The problem, as you allude to, is pretty uncommon. As Undisclosed alluded to above, Vivotek has an option. I'll confirm with them that it works with third party cameras, but based on spec I don't see why it wouldn't.

NVT allows for daisy chaining with their T-Bus series, but only in coax models. So not only are you stuck running coax, you're still forced to use only NVT transceivers.

Actually they have screw terminal adapters so you could use Cat5/6 or 18/2 as the bus line.

http://www.nvt.com/assets/en-us/eo2_applications_en-us.pdf Page 4

But yeah you have to use their tranceivers and they're not exactly cheap.

Not trying to divert the conversation from the subject, just making general comment that while an interesting idea and beneficial to Vivotek users and dealers, there are alternatives.

It's hard to understand why this could not be done with a 3-way adapter.

If you mean a layer 1 Tee (Hub), I can think of two problems.

  1. Network segment would be forced to communicate half-duplex.
  2. Cameras will not power-up* because multiple POE devices chained together will change the POE resistance signature of 25K, and therefore the PSE will not detect a valid PD.

*If you were to power-up the first one before Tee'ing, to 'get the juice(s) flowing', it could work, but how can you insure that?

If you mean a layer 2 switch with POE passthru, well that's what they built into the camera. (They also sell just the switch, see conduit box above.)

...but it would preclude having to use a particular brand cameras.

Actually I think that anyones devices will work with this equipment, even in the beginning or middle of the chain, as long as they have a POE out to continue. (I could be wrong about this point, I've asked Ethan to clarify above.)

"as long as they have a POE out to continue"

Theoretically who knows, but we are not aware of any other IP cameras offering this 'pass along' implementation.

...but we are not aware of any other IP cameras, offering this 'pass along' implementation...

With all due respect John, I believe that the oft-maligned Sigrand series of cameras, (mentioned at the top of the article), are highly likely to work with the Vivotek solution without modification.*

Why? Because they are functionally equivalent in their respective POE af specifications:

Both accept either A or B mode active POE (48V) as input, and both provide B mode passive POE (48V) as output. (Similarly they also both claim to be the first POE passthru cam).

Since Ethan confirms that the Vivotek "PoE output supports standard 802.3af/at", one would expect the Sigrand camera would be powered by it and also pass POE thru.

What makes you think that it wouldn't work?

*assuming that the published electrical specifications fron both mfrs. are accurate, and assuming the chain does not try to draw more power than available.

Yes, excluding Sigrand. And they are maligned because they are from a company no one has ever heard from, that does not offer any local support, distribution, etc.

You're dealing with hypotheticals, I am dealing with the reality of what is being used or likely to be used.

If Axis, Avigilon, Bosch, ACTi, Dahua, etc., etc. releases such a feature, it will be a completely different situation.

Update, with 92 votes, 62% of you are moderately or very interested in this, so it appears to have some appeal / potential, this includes manufacturers who are more interested than members overall.

Is there any redundancy in this system or if I lose one camera I loose them al? In the cost savings I did not see the added cost of the Sprecialized Cisco switch over less expensive models. Is there a big cost difference?

If the first camera loses power, you will lose cameras two and three. There's no redundancy there.

Vivotek's UPoE switches are fairly inexpensive, ~$100-$150 USD, though they are only four ports. You can also get a 60W UPoE injector for about $65.

Cisco's UPoE switches are high port count (24/48), which is likely overkill for applications using these cameras. They also sell for over $3000 (vs. ~$300 for a 300 series managed PoE switch).

If the first camera loses power, you will lose cameras two and three.

The question was actually if "if I lose one camera", not "if I lose power to the first camera". I think the questions are different.

First off, it seems trivial to say that if the sole cable powering the chain loses power, then the entire chain will lose power. Definitely true, though.

Possibly what's being asked is how will the actual failure of a single camera, (not the failure of the switch to power it), will affect those downstream from it.

Which for a definitive answer we should ask the manufacturer...

On the other hand I feel that based on the camera specs and the documentation on the web site, it is likely that this camera is powered by similar electronics to their POE dome extender, shown below, adapted to a bullet.

In which case any camera could fail without affecting the others, as long as the failure was not in the POE splitter module. If though, a POE module itself were to malfunction, the local camera and/or any cameras downstream could lose power, depending whether just one or both output ports fail.

I just took a look at the Vivotek website these cameras have been discontinued (See http://www.vivotek.com/ib8338-hr/#overview)

Thanks for pointing that out, Steve. I've actually got a call with them later today so I can get some info. I suspect that the daisy chain cameras just didn't have enough volume sales to make them worthwhile.

They introduced accessory PoE daisy chain boxes, however, which can be used with other cameras.

Anything further on this?

My application is two outdoor cameras (Bosch or Axis) on one pole.

Thanks!

I forgot about this device, small PoE powerable switch:

http://www.veracityglobal.com/media/74351/veracity_camswitch_plus_datasheet_wv3.2.pdf

Anything further on this?

Unfortunately, no. Daisy chaining IP cameras has not gained acceptance.

Thanks!

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