Wireless Networking For Video Surveillance Guide

By: IPVM Team, Published on Mar 29, 2018

Wireless networking is a niche in video surveillance applications, but it can be a difficult one to understand with proper wireless design, equipment selection, interference, and other factors impacting it usage.

In this guide, we break down the key elements of wireless networking for video surveillance:

  • Topology: PTP vs PtMP vs Mesh
  • Antennas: Internal vs External
  • Antennas: Omnidirectional vs Directional
  • Antennas and Gain
  • Free Space Path Loss
  • Frequencies Including Licensed and Unlicensed Ranges
  • MIMO Radios
  • Bandwidth Planning
  • Transmission Range
  • Wireless Products Specializing in Surveillance
  • Maintenance
  • Power Requirements

******** ********** ** * niche ** ***** ************ applications, *** ** *** be * ********* *** to ********** **** ****** wireless ******, ********* *********, interference, *** ***** ******* impacting ** *****.

** **** *****, ** break **** *** *** elements ** ******** ********** for ***** ************:

  • ********: *** ** **** vs ****
  • ********: ******** ** ********
  • ********: *************** ** ***********
  • ******** *** ****
  • **** ***** **** ****
  • *********** ********* ******** *** Unlicensed ******
  • **** ******
  • ********* ********
  • ************ *****
  • ******** ******** ************ ** Surveillance
  • ***********
  • ***** ************

[***************]

********

***** *** ***** ***** wireless ******* ********** ** use ** ************, **** varying **** ********* ** where *** *** ******* are ********:

  • *****-** *****
  • *****-**-**********
  • ****

*****-**-*****

*****, *** **** ****** are *****-**-***** (***) ******** links. ** *** ********, a ****** ***** ** the ****** ******** ** connected ** * ****** radio ********* ** *** surveillance *******. *** ***** are **** ** *** common ************:

  • ********** *******:**** ********, *** ****** are **** ** ******* cameras **** * ****** location (**** ** * parking *** ****, *** example) ** * ************ system.
  • ******** ********:***** ** ***** ** also **** ** ******** applications, ********** *** ********* together ** ********** * multipoint **** ******* ** another ***** ** *** network.

*********** ******** *** **** often **** ** *** applications, **** *****-**** ****** possible. **** ********* ********* options *** *********, **** 900 ***, ** *.* and *.* ***, *** higher.

*****-**-**********

** *****-**-********** (****) ******** links, * ****** ***** acts ** **** *******, connected ** *** ******* network, **** ******** ****** transmitting ** **. *** radios **** ** **** setups *** ** *** same ** *** ** many *****, ****** **** manufacturers *** ******* ****** for *** **** ******* to ****** ****** **** rates ******** **** ********** numerous ****** ******.

**** ** **** ** applications ***** ******** ******* must ** ********* ****** the ****, ******* ********* wired ************, **** **** camera ******* ***** ** the **** *******. ***** systems ***** ** **** from * ******* ** cameras ** * ******* lot ** ****-**** ************ systems, ***** ******** ** cameras *** ********* *** PtMP ****** ***** ********** through ***** *****.

**** **** ******** ********* use *************** ** **** angle *********** ******** (**** as *******), ********* ** whether ******* *** ******* in *** ********** ** in *** ******* *********. PtMP ****** ****** **** often *** ******** *********** antennas.

****

** * **** *******, each ******** **** ******** to *** ** **** other ******, ********* **** than *** **** *** network *******. ** *** link *****, **** ** rerouted ** ******* ****, reducing *** ****** ** a ***** ******. *******, if ******** ** *******, the **** **** ** carefully ******** ** ****** failed *****, ** ******* from *** *** ******* overload *******.

************, **** ****** **** typically **** ********* **** PtP ** **** ******, and **** ****-********* ** configure. ******* ** **** added *******, ** *** most ***** **** ** city ************, *** ** the *** ************ **** both *** ****** *** need *** ***** ******** capabilities.

*******, **** **** ******* has ******* *** ****** (cases) **** ********* ************* (over * **/*), ****** mesh ********* ** **** applications. ************, **** *** become ********* ** *********** customers **** **** **********,*******, *** ****** ** expand **** ******** ********** homes/businesses.

**** ****** *** *** any **** ** *******, depending ** *** ******** to ***** *****, *** how **** ** ** connecting **.

Internal ******** *** ** *******

****** ******** ***** **** an ** ****** ** statistically **** *** *** cameras **** ** **** integrated ********, ********* **** short ****** *** *** marketed *** ******** ***, not ************.

** ****, **** ************ video ************ ************ *** standard ***** ** *******, without ********** ********, ********* to ** ******** ******** radio ***** ****** ********.

Omnidirectional ********

*************** ******** ******* *** signal ** *** **********. Most ***** *** ******** with **** **** ** antenna ** ** ** typically ******** **** ******** wireless *******, *** ***** "rubber *****" ***** ** well ** *** "*****" seen *****. ******* ****** function *** **** ***, but *** ** **** larger (*-*' ****), ********* on ******* ****.

Directional ********

*********** ******** *** ********* in ******** ****** **** varying **********. **** ******* tight ********, ** ******* horizontal ** ****, ***** other *** ** ****, over *** *******. **** that ******* **** (******, patch, *********, ***.) **** not *********** ******* *********, and * **** ******* of ******* *** ********* in **** **** ******.

Performance *********

********* *** ****** ******* depends ** **** *******, but *********** ***** **** to ***** *********:

  • *************** ******** *** ******* to *** **, ********* little ** ** *********, but ***** *** ******** range. **** ****** ** used **** **** ******** to ******* ******** ******* to * **** *******, for *******.
  • *********** ******** **** ** patch *** ****** ******* better ***** *********** *** to ***** ******** **** pattern. **** *** **** commonly **** **** ** external ******** *** ***** built **** ***-**-*** ******. They *** ***** ** aimed ** ***** ******* of ********* **** ******* signal ******** ******** *** aiming, *** *** ********* of ***** ******* *** to ****, ****, *** vibration.
  • ****** *********** ******* **** as ********* ******* *** strongest ******, *** *** difficult ** *** *** to ***** ****** *********, often ********* *********** *********** to *******. ***** ******** are **** ***** ***** using ******, ****** ******** meters, *** ***** **** complex *****, *** *** more *********** ** *********** issues *** ** **** or ********* **** ***** types.

Antenna ****** ** ****

**** ** ********* ******* the ****** *** ****, everything **** ***** *****, the ******* *** ****** can ******** *** **** likely ** *** **** with ************. *************** ******** are ***** ** *** as *** ***** *********** antennas *** ** **** or ******.

Free ***** **** ****

** **** *******, ** introduce *** ****** ** figuring *** *** *** a ****** *** ********, aka *********** **** ***** path ****, *** ****, see:********: ** *** ******** Surveillance.

*** ******* **** ***** how *** *** *** transmit *******:

  • *** ********* ***** ****: higher *** *********, *** shorter *** *** ** (e.g., *.****, ********** **** equal, *** ******* ***** than *.****).
  • *** **** ** *** antennas ***** ****: *** higher *** **** (*.*., 24dB ******* ** ****), the ******* *** *** go.
  • *** *********** ***** *** receiver ********. *** ****** the *****, *** ****** it ** ** **** but ********* **** ********* is ********* (*.*., -***** vs -***** *** ****** bandwidth ******).
  • *** ************ ***** ** the *****. **** ************ wireless ******* *** ******** frequencies ***** *** *** much ***** *** ** put ***, ************ *** far *** ****** *** go (******, *.*., * TV ******* ***** ** comparatively '********' *** ************* at **** ***** ***********).

******* ** *** ******* calculations ******** ** ****,** **** ****** ************** **** ***** ****, with **** ********* ********, frequency, ******* *** ***** information, *** ******** ***********. The ****** ** *** of ***** *********** *** a ****** *.* *** link ** ***** *****.

Fresnel ****

******** **'* **** ** think ** ******** ****** as * **** ** a ****, ** ** actually ** ********** ****** between *** *********** *** receiver, ****** ********** ****. ****** ***, *** larger *** ******** ******* the ******, *** ****** the ******** ** *** fresnel ****.

******* ** ****, *** curvature ** *** ***** may ****** ** ***** at **** **** ****** (over ******* *****) ** the ****** ****** ** enter *** ******* ****, requiring ****** ** ** mounted ****** ** **********. Additionally, ** ******* ******, users ****** ****** ** other ************, **** ** trees, ******* ******, ** buildings ******** *** ******* zone, ** **** *** also ***** **********/********** ******.

*********** *** ******** **** to ********* *** **** of *** ******* **** and ************* ******** ******, similar ** **** ****** calculators. ************* *** ***** their *** **********, *** many ******* *********** ********** ********* ******.

Obstructions / **** ** *****

****** **** *********** *** penetrate ************ ****** **** others, ******** ***** ****** ideally **** ***** **** of ***** (***) ******* radios *** **** ***********. Obstructions ****** *********** ** three *** ****:

  • **********
  • **********
  • ********* ***********

**** ** **** ** obstruction, **** ** *** signal ** ******** ***/** reflected, ******** *** ***** of ****** ******** *** receiving ***. *** **** impacts *********** ******* ** the ********. *** *******, drywall *** **** ***** (common **** *** ****** construction *********) ****** ********** little ******. ** ********, heavy ********, *****, *** steel ************ ***** ** older ********* ****** *** reflect **** **** *****, resulting ** **** ***********.

********* ** * ******* reflection ** *** ****** from *** ******** ****, resulting ** ** ***** received *** ** **** with *** ******** ***-********* transmission, ******** **** *******. Highly ********** ******** **** as ***** *** *****, as **** ** *******, are ***** ** ********* propagation **** ** ******* ranges.

Frequency *********

********* ******* ******** *********** in *** ****:

  • **********:****** ***, *** ****** the *********, *** ****** the ******* *********** **********. High ********* ****** *** easily ******** * **** speeds, ***** ***** *********** are ******* ** *-* Mbps.
  • ***********:*** ** ***** ****** wavelength, ***** *********** *** better **** ** ********* and ******** ******* ** total *********. *** *********** (900 ***, *.* ***, etc.) *** ******** ** non-line ** ***** (****) applications, ***** ** ** 40 *** **** ********* radios *** *** *********** degraded ** **** ** fog *** ** ******** in *** ***.

******* ** ****, ***** must ********* ******** *** maximum ******** **********, ********* in *** ******** ************ path, *** **** *** possibly ** ********, *** how ******** ********* ******* may **.

** ******* *********** ********* used ** ************ ******* below.

2.4/5.8 ***

***** *********** *** **********, free *** *** ** anyone, *** **** ***** used ** ******* ************ applications **** ** ********** cameras ****** * ******* lot, ******* *** *********, etc. ********** ****** ********* on ************ ********** *** number ** ****** (*** MIMO, *****) ****, *** is ********* ** *** range ** ~**-** *** single ******, *** *** or **** *** **** models.

*******, ***** *** ***** are **** **** ** 802.11 (*/*/*/*/**) ******** ** use ** ***** *** business, ********** *** ********* for ************. *.* *** was ********** **** ****** in ************ ** ** was **** ******* **** the *.* ****, *** with ***.*** (*** *** 802.11ac) ****** ****** ****** in **** **** *** commercial ********, *** ********* has **** ******* *******.

*.* *** *** ** used ** ******* ** lower ********** ***-**** ** sight ************, ** ** may ********* ********* **** as ***** **** *****. However, *.* *** ********* requires **** ** *****.

************, *.* *** *.* GHz *** **** **** to ********* ********* **** lower ***********, ****** **** of ***** (***) *** when ********* ****** ** these *****. ** ************ video ************, *.**** ** more ********** **** **** 2.4Ghz ** ** ** relatively **** *******.

900 ***

*** *** ** *** most ****** ***-**** ** sight *********, *** ** most ***** **** **** cameras ** *** **** a ***** **** ** the **** *******, **** as ***** ** ***** areas **** ******* *****.

*** ***** ********* **** is ****** **** ** penetrate ********* **** *.* or *.* *** ******. This *********** ***** **** a ********, *******, ** 900 *** ******** ***** typically **** ***** ********** than ****** ***********, ************ about ~**-** **/*. *******, newer **** ****** **** increased ********** *************, **** 100+ **/* *** ******.

*** *** *** ********* band, **** *.* *** 5.8 ***, ** ******* and *** ********** ************ issues, ** ** ** commonly **** ** **** consumer ********, **** ** wireless ****** *** ********* ovens.

10+ ***

******** ****** ***** *.* GHz (**, **, **, 80 ***, ***.) **** historically ******** ** ************ but **** **** ***** use ** *** **** few *****, *** ** their ****** ********* ******** (often ** ** * Gb/s). *******, **** ***.**** based **** ****** *** more ******, **** ******* has **** ******** *******.

***** *********** *** **** more *********** ** ************ due ** ************* ********** such ** ****, ****, and ***, ****** **** budget ******** *** ****** alignment ********. *******, ****** in ***** *********** *** less ****** ** *** interference ****** ******* *** other ******* ******* ** these ******, ****** *** MHz ** *.*/*.* ***.

************, ****** ** ***** bands *** **** **** expensive **** ******* *.*/*.* GHz ******, ********* ******** close ** $*,*** *** per *****, **** $*,***-*,*** not ********.

Licensed *****

**** *********** ** *** wireless ******** *** ******** for ****** ****** ***. In *** **, *.* GHz ** ********* *** this ******, *** ***** entities (*********, *** *** always, ********** ********) ******* to ****** ****** ** this **** **** ***** for ***. ***** *********** may ******* ********* *****.

******* *** ********* ********* who *** *** *** 4.9 *** **** *** on **** ******** ** each ****, ************ ****** are ******** ******** ** unlicensed ***********. ******* ** is ********** ** ****** safety ***, ** ** most ***** **** ** city ************, **** ** police *** ***** ********* personnel.

TV ***** *****

* ****** *********** ** wireless,** ***** **************** **** ***** ****** up ** ******** ******* use ** ****. ***** radios *** *********** ** the ***/*** ***** ***** were ******* ** *** switch **** ****** ** digital ********* **. ***** they *** ***** *********** (between ** *** *** MHz), ***** ***** ****** are ****** **** ** penetrate *********, *** ********** is ***** **** **** 900 ***, ******* *** at ***** ** **/* in ********* ********* ******* options.

MIMO ******

****, ***** *** ******** In ******** ***, ******* radio ****** ****** *** or **** ***** ** increase ********* *** ********** to ************. **** ****** may *** *** ** more ******** ********, ** more ******** * ****-********* antenna, ***** ********* **** of ***** ******* ** once, **** *** ********** rotated ** *******. **** image *********** ****** ****** dual-polarized ********:

Bandwidth ********

************* *** **** ********** may ****** ********* *************, especially ** *********** ********. 5.8 *** *********** *** below *** ********* *** affected ** *** *** the **** ****** *******, such ** ***** **** or ********** ****. *********** above ****, *******, *** be ******** *******, *** thus ****** *** ** used *** ******** ************ links. ***** **** *******, slight ******* ** **** conditions, **** ** ******* growing **** *** **** of ************, ** ******** shifting ******** *** ***** intermittent ******, ********* *********, or ******** **** ** link.

Manufacturer ********* ******

** ******* ***** ************ bandwidth ******. ** * general **** ** *****, discount ********* ********* ****** by **% ** **% when ********** ********* *** real ***** ************ ***. The **** **** ** that **** **** **** caution, ******** ********* **** for * ****** ** camera (~*-* **/*) ** generally **** ** ******* on * ********* *** link. *******, ** ******** video ******* *** ****** and **** *******, **** careful ********** *** ******* becomes ********.

Transmission *****

***** *** ** **** and **** ***** *** transmission ***** ** ******** networks. ********* *** ******** by ****** **** ** obstructions, ********* ****, ************ power, *** ******* ****.

** ******* ************* ***** line ** ***** ** possible, **** ** ******* lots, ******** ** *** much ** * ********* when ******** ******** ** PtP ** **** **************.

*******, ***** *****-**** ******** links *** ****** ******** with *** ***** *********, many ***** **** **** the ************ ******** ** these ********* ***********, *** novice ***** ****** **** assistance **** *** ************ or *********** ***********.

************, *** ****** *** link, *** **** ******* antenna ********* **** **, making ************ **** *********. Multi-mile ***** **** **** take *** ********* ** the ***** **** *******, as ** *** ******* or ****** ****** ** long ******, ********* *****.

Wireless ******** *** ***** ************

***** ******* ****** **** built-in ********, ********* ************ systems **** *** ********** wireless ********* ******* ** trying ** ******* ** a **** ** *** wireless ******.

**** ******** ************ ***** typically ****** *** ** PtMP *******, ********* **** lower **** ******* (******** is *** **** ******). For **** ** ******** product ***********, ***:******** ******** ***** ************ Manufacturers.

** *** *****, ***** was * *** ** money *** ******** ** mesh ********** *** *** high **** ($*,***+ *** link *** ******) *** complexity *** ********* **** mostly ** ****-***, *********** projects.

***********

******* ******** ***** *** sensitive ** ************ ** site **********, ******* *********** is * *** ******* in *** **********. ******* alignment ****** ** *******, connectors ****** ** ******* for *********, ******* ** the **** ** *** link ****** ** *******, and ****. ** ******* these ****** **-***** ** our******** ************ ***************.

Power ************ A major obstruction to installing wireless-connected cameras is determining the best available power source. The power draw for a typical radio and camera will be low (less than 60 watts). Finding continuous, clean supply near the required location is the primary obstacle. If no power source exists, power draw will need to be taking into account for Solar or Battery powered systems.Electrical ******* ******** Always consult a licensed electrician when installing a new or using an existing power source. If you or the client do not have one on staff, you will need to account for the additional cost of subcontracting one. This is important as the supply voltages can cause injury or death to inexperienced technicians, or damage expensive equipment. A licensed electrician will also ensure you get the correct information about existing power sources (do not automatically rely on the client's maintenance staff). The most common power sources that are used:

  • ******* *****
  • *****
  • *******

Utility *****

******** ******** ****** *** cameras **** * ******** 110-120VAC @ ** ** (or ***-****** @ **** ) *******-********* ****** ** hardwired ***** ****** ** the ******* ********.

*** ************ ** * camera ** * ******** that *****'* **** ******** network ************, ***** *** be ****** **** * nearby ********** ******** ***, or **** ** ******** off ** ******** *******. This *** ** ****** on *********** *****, ****** Fields, *** ****** ******* garage *************.

********** ******* ** ******** poles *** **** *** the ********** ***** **** is ******* *** ****. This **** ****** ** a *** *******:

  • ** *** ***** ** the **** ********* ********? In **** ********** **********, multiple ******** ***** *** controlled ** * ******** located *****, ** *****-***, which ***** *** ***** off ** *** ****** during *** ***.
  • ** *** ***** ********** with ************ *********? **** lighting ***** *** ** higher *-***** ******** **** 277 ** *** *****, so **** *** ******* you **** ***** **** power ******* *****-**** ***********.

**** *** ****** ** ***** ******** Power*** ************ *******.

Solar *****

*** ********* ** ***** power *** ******** ***** surveillance **** ****** ** the ****** *** *** installing. *** ** ********** National ********* ****** *** produces ******** ***** *** ****** available ** *** ** states. ***** ********* *** available *** ********** *** solar ****** *********, **** the****** ***** *****. **** *** ****** *** ***** ************************.

*** **** **** **** to ********* *** ****** required *** **** ******, and *** ** * combination ** ***** ****** with ******* ****** **** work ***** *** *** installing.

******* ****** ** ******** when ********** * ***** powered ****** ** *** additional ****** *** ********** of **** *** ***** panel *** *** ********** control ****** *** ******* storage *****.

***** ***** ******* **** result ** ****** ********* costs ** *********** *** solar ****** *** ******* backup *******.

Battery *****

******* ****** ***** ** part ** *** ***** Powered ****** *** ** added ** ******** ***** installations **** *** ***** supply ** **********. *********** of *** ********* ** critical ** *** *********** of *** ****** *** will *** ********* ****.

******* *********,*************** *** ********** *******-******* are ********-******* ********, *** integration **** * *** platform ** ***** ******* is ****. ************* ***** a ******* **** ** 4-9 ******. **** ***** be ********* ** * few ***** ********* ** the ****** ** ******** monitored. ******* **** ** taken ******* ***** ********* the ********* ** **** units. ******* **** *********** batteries *** **** ** be *********** ***** ******** offline.

Test **** *********

**** ***** ******** *******

[****: **** ***** *** originally ******* ** ****, but ************* ******* ** 2018 ** ******* ******* in ************ *****, ********* selection, *** ******* ************]]

Comments (15)

I have little experience with wireless camera deployments, so thank you for this excellent primer.

I have no experience with wireless. Being that each camera needs power. How is that handled?

What is the real world application here as it takes into account powering the cameras.

Generally speaking you'd have to arrange for getting power for the access point and camera in the area. Sometimes that's still easier/cheaper than trying to get a cable out to that remote area.

Where I've done point to point, and it's very limited, it was going from building to building, so each building had power already for everything else, so it was just a matter of putting in a POE switch, or plug in transformer for the Access Point and Camera.

If you were putting this on say a pole in a parking lot, hopefully there are lights on that pole, and you get an electrician to provide a plug within the pole for power. Generally those poles should be water tight anyhow.

We added in a section for Power Requirements. There are 3 IPVM guides referenced in the section:

While I think this is a well thought out, comprehensive guide, I feel like you are missing a section on how easy/feasible it is to interrupt these wireless networks. 

A $10 ebay deauth tool will break any 2.4GHz network in seconds, defeating any security. Higher cost units are capable of defeating other spectrums as well.

I think designers and integrators need to keep this in mind. Clients must be made aware when wireless is being used and the subsequent trade offs of doing so. 

You are right, the wireless is "less secure" even if you do everything right in terms of passwords and encryption and all that. Even outside of your tool to break the signal, weather and maintenance were mentioned in the article and these are big problems too Strong wind, lots of snow. Trees growing, or customers forgetting about the wireless bridge and putting in new trees or bushes or whatever.

But sometimes customers don't have the money to trench out a cable for a single camera. And even if they do, it's not all that much more secure. The wire could be struck underground during a renovation or something. It could be tampered with at the entry points into the buildings, or at the pole, or what ever.

As Daniel mentioned, you're right about the potential for interference and deauthentication or even "rogue AP mitigation" as some manufacturers term in, however it is highly illegal in the US. I do agree that Clients should be made aware of these possibilities and depending on the install environment they can weigh the costs of hardwired connections vs wireless.

I will say from experience of deploying hundreds of wireless cameras over the past decade, not once did we have an outage where we would have suspected deauth frame tomfoolery.

We did have a few systems in the 4.9 spectrum that were 3 - 4 miles from an airport and would shutdown every time a plane would land on a certain runway because it had built in Radar ~4.4GHz band detection. We had to move those few radios over to the 5.8 spectrum.

We obviously welcome comments to the contrary, as it can be a valid concern.

We have a site with 5.8GHz PtP Ubiquiti radios about 200’ apart that lose connectivity when a train rolls by. The station radio is about 50’ from the train tracks. The client has intentions of running fiber to that building soon, so the wireless drops when trains go by is annoying for now, but not a permanent issue. 

Does the link carry over the tracks, or just parallel to it? You may just need more height, or as you mention, a permanent fiber link.

There are zero obstructions between the radios. The train runs 50ft behind/beside the station radio. The radios are mounted about 15-20ft above the ground.

That sounds super frustrating, considering the trains themselves shouldn't be emitting any RF that would interfere with your radios, unless they're primarily passenger trains? The metal of the train itself shouldn't interfere since you're well over a 10-15' minimum for that frequency range... I'm sure you've been through all of this.

Yep, they are freight trains, as far as I could tell. They are moving quite fast too. 50+ MPH. We initially thought it may have been an issue with vibrations from the train disrupting the mains power somehow. We put the switch on a UPS to troubleshoot it further and it still drops out. We are using NanoStation Loco M5 radios there, but would probably choose a shielded unit, like the PrismStation/IsoStation instead. Our best guess is that the signal is reflecting off the train and into the back of the radio. Once the client mentioned running fiber to the building, we stop investigating the issue.

Environmental limitations of products shoul be checked as well...some antennas (nanostation as well) definitely suffer weather conditions over time...i personaly removed many that were sunburnt after 2 to 4 years of outside life....how can consumer check if the product is sufficently protected ,tropicalized,effectively uva protected and so on?ip grade is just not enough

I have had success with Mikrotik 60ghz radios. However you have to use them at close range about 200 meters and perfect line of sight.

 

WPA3, let's go! Do it now! :D

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