Whitespace Wireless for Surveillance

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Jan 11, 2012

Needing line of sight for wireless connectivity has always been a major pain for surveillance application Cameras are often needed where there is no direct, clear path from camera to building or headend. To compensate, design complexity and cost often skyrockets.

An emerging alternative may provide a much needed solution to that. TV white space radio technology, using frequency space freed by the shutdown of analog television broadcast, aims to reduce these line of sight issues. In this update, we examine the technology, products available and potential impact.

Overview

White space broadband makes use of vacant channels in the VHF/UHF range, between 54 and 806 MHz. Each channel consists of 6 MHz of bandwidth, resulting in the potential to carry 8-15 Mbps of data. These lower frequencies allow for better signal propagation and penetration, making white space superior for non-line of sight applications, currently routinely handled with 900 MHz wireless gear. Like 900 MHz equipment, speeds of white space products, in the range of 4-16 Mbps, will be slower than 802.11 and other higher-frequency radios, due to the smaller channel size used.

Channel Availability and Management

The number and placement of empty channels in each area varies, with rural areas having more free space than urban areas which have more active broadcast television stations. To prevent interference issues, the FCC has appointed a handful of companies (such as Spectrum Bridge and Telcordia) to maintain a database of frequencies available in each market, and assign frequencies for use in wireless applications, such as surveillance. It remains to be seen how much hassle this will add to wireless deployments.

The wireless radio is then set to use frequencies in one of two ways: (1) Manually, set by the user, or (2) Automatically, based on GPS coordinates checked against the frequency database. The second method allows for changes to take place on the fly if frequencies become available or unavailable at a later date.

Product Availability and Pricing

At the moment, white space radio product availability is very limited. Carlson Wireless is preparing their RuralConnect IP radio, a second generation unit in February 2012. They claim it is capable of about 10+ Mbps of sustained throughput. Achievable distances vary by topology but the vendor believes that it can cover, as an example, a college campus end to end through trees, buildings, etc.

MSRP pricing is estimated at $3,600 USD for the base station and $600 for the client radio when this product ships. These prices are higher than traditional WiFi solutions but not mesh offerings. 

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

We think the product pricing is fairly reasonable for 'hard' traditional wireless installations that would require extra radios and more complex RF engineering and planning.

Impact on Surveillance

In some applications, the lower frequencies and resulting better penetration offered by white space radios will be a distinct advantage:

  • Point-to-point links without impacting aesthetics: In municipal surveillance systems or corporate campus settings, users often want to place cameras where line of sight is an issue, do to architectural details or trees, often turning camera placement into a political issue. White space radios, due to their better penetration characteristics may be able to perform well in environments LOS radios would fail, allowing cameras to be placed where they are best located, without removing aesthetic features.
  • Point-to-multipoint in broad areas: One surveillance application which frequently goes untouched is surveillance of a wide area where line of sight is unobtainable. Parks are an excellent example of this, as trenching and tree removable are generally out of the question in these environments. White space radio will be better able to handle the obstruction of trees in a broader area, allowing a handful of cameras to be placed around the park.

One way in which white space radios will not compete is speed. Current preliminary product designs claim speeds between 4 and 16 Mbps, a fraction of the 100 Mbps regularly achievable with 2.4 and 5 GHz products. This makes them suitable for use only with a handful of cameras, at most.  

We believe white space wireless has huge potential to solve an important and paintful niche segment within wireless. The bulk of the market will likely continue to use products in the 2.4 and 5 GHz ranges, as they are lower cost and able to server many applications. TV white space technology potentially will open up applications these products never could, however, at a cost within reach of much of the market. For those seeking solutions to non-LOS applications, especially in wide space or rural areas, TV white space may very well provide an option where there were none before.

1 report cite this report:

SMP Security Robot Profile on Dec 08, 2016
A Russian manufacturer, SMP, has a commercially available outdoor security robot, at a lower price and with much less marketing than their main...
Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on Wireless

Ubiquiti Protect Video Surveillance Profile on Nov 07, 2018
Ubiquiti has now been in the video surveillance market for 7 years (see our first coverage back in 2011). In that time, the company's revenue has...
Directory Of Video Doorbells on Nov 06, 2018
Video doorbells are one of the fastest growing categories in video surveillance, especially among residences. The optimal placement of these...
Winter 2019 IP Networking Course on Nov 05, 2018
This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance professionals.  Lots of network training exists but none of it...
Solar-Powered, Smart-Phone-Based Access Kit (VIZPin) Examined on Nov 02, 2018
Cloud-based access control company VIZPin is releasing a solar-powered and smart phone based access control system for gates and other remote...
IP Camera Installation Tool Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Ideal, Hanwha, Triplett, Veracity on Oct 23, 2018
Setting up IP cameras has historically been challenging, with techs often precariously using a laptop on a ladder or lift. Some options for install...
IP Camera Installability Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Oct 08, 2018
What are the best and worst cameras from an installation standpoint? Which manufacturers make it harder or easier to install their cameras? We...
Access Control Lock Guide on Sep 26, 2018
In this guide, we examine locks; critical elements of any security system and fundamental parts of every access control system. Two fundamental...
BluePoint Aims To Bring Life-Safety Mind-Set To Police Pull Stations on Sep 20, 2018
Fire alarm pull stations are commonplace but police ones are not. A self-funded startup, BluePoint Alert Solutions is aiming to make police pull...
VMS Export Shootout - Avigilon, Dahua, Exacq, Genetec, Hikvision, Milestone on Sep 13, 2018
When crimes, accidents or problems occur, exporting video from one's video surveillance system is critical to proving incidents. But who does it...
Ligowave Wireless Profile - Ubiquiti Competitor on Aug 27, 2018
Ubiquiti has become the most common choice for wireless in video surveillance (see Favorite Wireless Manufacturers) but not without controversy and...

Most Recent Industry Reports

'Sticker' Surveillance Camera Developed (CSEM Witness) on Nov 16, 2018
The Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM) has announced what it calls the: world’s first fully autonomous camera that can be...
ISC East 2018 Mini-Show Final Report on Nov 16, 2018
This is our second (updated) and final show report from ISC East. ISC East, by its own admission, is not a national or international show, billed...
Facial Detection Tested on Nov 16, 2018
Facial detection and recognition are increasingly offered by video surveillance manufacturers. Facial detection detects faces in an image/video...
Throughtek P2P/Cloud Solution Profile on Nov 15, 2018
Many IoT manufacturers either do not have the capabilities or the interest to develop their own cloud management software for their devices....
ASIS Offering Custom Research For Manufacturers on Nov 15, 2018
Manufacturers often want to know what industry people think about trends and, in particular, the segments and product they offer.  ASIS and its...
Hikvision Silent on "Bad Architectural Practices" Cybersecurity Report on Nov 14, 2018
A 'significant vulnerability was found in Hikvision cameras' by VDOO, a startup cybersecurity specialist. Hikvision has fixed the specific...
French Government Threatens School with $1.7M Fine For “Excessive Video Surveillance” on Nov 14, 2018
The French government has notified a high-profile Paris coding academy that it risks a fine of up to 1.5 million euros (about $1.7m) if it...
Integrator Credit Card Alternative Divvy on Nov 13, 2018
Most security integrators are small businesses but large enough that they have various employees that need to be able to expense various charges as...
Directory of Video Intercoms on Nov 13, 2018
Video Intercoms, also known as Video Door-Phones or Video Entry Systems, have been growing in the past decade as more and more IP camera...
Beware Amazon Go Store Hype (Tested) on Nov 13, 2018
IPVM's trip to and testing of Amazon Go's San Francisco store shows a number of significant operational and economic issues that undermine the...

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