Cable quality versus image quality

May 2011 IT infrastructure

Graham is the project manager for a CCTV systems integration company in Johannesburg. While trying to commission a CCTV system Graham just could not get the cameras into focus. The cameras were all focused on a test monitor at the camera and they all appeared to be in-focus, yet at the recorder the cameras were all out-of-focus. The more puzzling question Graham had was, why were the pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras out of focus? The PTZ cameras all had auto-focus lenses and no matter what the PTZ cameras were looking at they looked out of focus.

Graham was at his wits’ end. He had replaced the PTZ cameras, then he replaced the digital video recorder (DVR) along with the monitor and still the camera images were out of focus.

Graham then decided to bench test the equipment. He removed the PTZ cameras, a few static cameras, the DVR and the monitor and plugged the systems together at his office on short fly-leads. Surprise, surprise, all the components worked and Graham had an operational system. The cameras, the DVR and the monitor were not at fault.

After much testing and investigating we found that Graham had two challenges with this installation:

1. Graham had used poor quality video baluns.

2. Graham had installed poor quality cable.

The solution to the above challenges was resolved by doing the following:

1. The video baluns were replaced with BFR Digital’s Video CAT products and the video image improved but was still out-of-focus.

2. It was only after the installation was re-cabled that the problem was successfully resolved.

What Graham learnt from this experience can be summed up in one sentence. Even if you use high quality equipment such as BFR Digital’s Video CAT with a leading brand camera and DVR, connecting these components with a poor quality cable will always result in a poor quality video image.

Do IP CCTV systems fail to deliver when poor quality CAT5 or CAT6 is used?

Absolutely! The digital high-speed data stream will experience signal attenuation and crosstalk just like an analogue video signal did on poor quality cable. This always results in reduced data throughput on that particular cable.

Remember, using good quality components installed correctly will produce superb video images every time.

For more information contact BFR Digital, +27 (0)11 786 5575, dionp@bfrdigital.co.za, www.bfrdigital.co.za



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