Why Wireless Video Surveillance Systems Fail

Author: John Honovich, Published on Dec 10, 2008

Wireless video surveillance systems fail almost as frequently as video analytics - and that should tell you something. Let's examine a fascinating case of anger and frustration for one US municipality. Some important lessons can be learned from this story.

Basically Durham North Carolina's wireless video surveillance system does not work. SecurityInfoWatch offers a series of recommendations on how to improve wireless video surveillance systems. As background information, I encourage you to read my tutorial on wireless video surveillance systems

Key Reasons for Failure

  • The Integrator: Usually the integrator does not know what they are doing and wants the job more than they have the skills.
  • The Sales Person: Behind almost every bad integration is a sales person who blindly and recklessly pushed an unworkable solution.
This is not always true but if you had to guess, you’d be right more often that not by blaming the integrator and the salesperson.
  • Customers can rarely depend on budgets: Since budgets depend on what money is available and what grants can be ascertained, budgets often have no relation to reality.
  • Customers rarely have the knowledge to estimate costs: The reality is most design people don’t know how much systems cost. It depends on dozens of factors and many changing technologies.

Asking a customer to get a comfortable budget and be realistic about system costs is incredibly difficult to do in practice. Unfortunately, customers are generally dependent on integrators and sales people, further compounding the problem.

The optimal wireless video surveillance system design depends on a number of factors such as (1) distance between cameras, (2) obstruction between cameras and (3) existing wireless infrastructure in the area.

As a general rule, I would stress not to scale. You should:

  1. Offload the video from the wireless network to a wired network ASAP. For example, connect 3 video cameras wirelessly to a municipal facility where the video can be stored locally and then retrieved over cable mode/DSL/municiapl LAN at a central monitoring station.
  2. Use on-board storage (even 16GB SD cards) to eliminate constant streaming on the wireless network.

These factors will make wireless video surveillance systems cheaper, easier and more reliable.

That being said, these horror stories will continue so long as the standard process of salespeople educating customers is the dominant mode of design.

3 reports cite this report:

Are Your CCTV Cameras Broken? on Dec 01, 2010
Broken cameras are some of the most common and, ironically, solvable problems in video surveillance. Not only does this undermine confidence in...
How to Win Deals with Megapixel Cameras on Feb 22, 2009
Megapixel cameras are the key to fast growth and high profits in the face of the recession. If you are in the video surveillance business, it is...
Video Surveillance & CCTV Introduction Video on Jan 04, 2009
Getting started with video surveillance? This report covers the basic elements of video surveillance, walking you through each aspect including...

Related Reports

Final Day Save $50 - IP Networking Course September 2017 on Aug 17, 2017
Today, Thursday, August 17th is the last day to save $50 on the September IP Networking Course. This is the only networking course designed...
Hikvision Europe Cutting Out Unauthorized End User Sales on Aug 15, 2017
The days of anyone buying Hikvision from anywhere off the Internet are numbered, at least in Europe, if Hikvision's plan comes to fruition. In...
Avigilon Profits Surge, Stock Jumps (Q2 2017) on Aug 10, 2017
Avigilon said earlier this year they would shift their strategy to maximizing profits. Now, they are delivering it and the stock market is...
Vivotek Acquisition Offer From Delta on Aug 10, 2017
One of the largest remaining independent video surveillance manufacturers has received an offer to become majority owned by Delta Group, a Taiwan...
Hikvision Releases Network Cabling on Aug 04, 2017
Hikvision's expansion continues. From cameras to analytics to thermal to intrusion to access to... network cabling. Hikvision explained: A...
Toshiba Shutting Down Security Division on Aug 03, 2017
Toshiba is shutting down their 'Security Division' business including their video surveillance product offering. This is certainly part of a...
Axis Product Shortage Confirmed / Normalize This Fall on Aug 01, 2017
Friends and foes of Axis, over the past few months, have privately been commenting on Axis shipping delays. Axis has confirmed this,...
Competing Against Tyco IS / JCI on Jul 28, 2017
Mega-integrator Tyco Integrated Security has gotten even bigger with the 2016 merger with Johnson Controls. 110+ integrators told us what they...
Startup Strops Completely Wireless Surveillance Camera Examined on Jul 28, 2017
European startup Strops has developed a surveillance camera that offers up to 6 days of runtime and cellular communications to create a fully...
Anixter - Falling Video Prices on Jul 26, 2017
Falling video prices are such a concern that it has become a notable topic for Anixter's financial results and Anixter's executives. In this...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Final Day Save $50 - IP Networking Course September 2017 on Aug 17, 2017
Today, Thursday, August 17th is the last day to save $50 on the September IP Networking Course. This is the only networking course designed...
Directory Of Consumer Security Cameras on Aug 16, 2017
The consumer camera segment continues to grow, with new startups and models from existing players released seemingly every month. In this report we...
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...
Hikvision Responds To Cracked Security Codes on Aug 15, 2017
Hikvision has responded to IPVM's report on Hikvision's security code being cracked, both with a 2 page update to dealers and communication...
Stolen Video NVR / DVR Statistics on Aug 15, 2017
"But what happens if someone steals my recorder?" Anyone who has done more than a handful of jobs has probably heard this question several times....
Hikvision Europe Cutting Out Unauthorized End User Sales on Aug 15, 2017
The days of anyone buying Hikvision from anywhere off the Internet are numbered, at least in Europe, if Hikvision's plan comes to fruition. In...
Axis Laser Focus PTZ Tested on Aug 14, 2017
Axis has been touting its new Q6155-E laser focus PTZ as 'always in focus' and 'always in color'. Does it really deliver? We bought and tested...
Vulnerability Directory For Access Control Cards on Aug 14, 2017
Knowing which access credentials are insecure can be unclear, especially because most look and feel the same. Even the most insecure 125 kHz types...
IP Camera Specification / RFP Guide 2017 on Aug 14, 2017
RFPs are hard. Do them 'right' and it takes a lot of knowledge and time. Do them 'wrong' and you can be (a) unwittingly locked into a specific...
Cellphone Usage Issues For Integrators (Statistics) on Aug 11, 2017
Cellphones clearly offer significant advantages in communication and problem solving. But they can also be a major pain point if employees...

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