Examining the advantages of UTP cabling.
All too often, business owners contemplating the installation of CCTV on their premises, tend to focus primarily on image resolution and digital video recorder capacity.
However, cautions Zane Greeff, technical director at Elvey Security Technologies, it is also critical for them to consider choice of transmission between cameras and digital video recorders (DVRs) in their decision-making process, since this can impact heavily on the efficacy of a system.
“Data transmission methods are often not given much thought, yet it is this technology that connects all the surveillance devices together,” he says. “Prospective end users need to be aware that cabling accounts for a significant portion of the overall cost of the system, in terms of both money and labour. They also need to consider that, depending on the application, the choice of transmission will determine how far each device can be positioned without compromising image quality.”
For the uninitiated, the choice of transmission technology can be a daunting one to make considering that there are five major options available. These include Coax, UTP (unshielded twisted pair) analogue, IP (Internet Protocol), wireless and fibre. “Each has advantages and disadvantages so it is worth the buyer examining them in some detail in order to be able to make the best choice for his needs.
This, says Greeff, is a dated transmission platform with little to recommend it. Not only does it deteriorate over a relatively short period of time, but it is subject to interference from various sources. Coax is also expensive to purchase (due to copper price fluctuations), difficult to install and expensive in terms of cable containment (trays, conduit and truncking). Finally, the system would have to be completely replaced in the event that an upgrade to IP is required.
Analogue on UTP
Herein lies the best of both worlds, says Greeff. “It allows for IP connectivity (RJ45) with power as well as all the real-time advantages of analogue camera. The buyer also has choices with regard to budget, low lighting requirements, vendor device options and even signal transmission.”
Through the use of one multipair cable, various signals including LV power, data (telemetry) and contact (alarms, access control) can be instantly transmitted. What’s more, UTPs infrastructure is suitable for migration to IP. Immune to interference, it boasts built-in noise rejection circuitry to prevent picture distortion and poor recordings. Additionally, all units come standard with ground lifting (ground loop isolation), which normally has to be purchased separately.
IP-based camera systems are here to stay, maintains Greeff. “On paper, the technology has a number of inherent advantages over some competing technologies. For instance, there are no cable distance issues (90-100 m rule) and real-time transmission over UTP with power and data supply can be achieved at distances of up to 800 m, depending upon camera loading.”
What the public needs to realise is that analogue and IP over UTP is also an option, though one often overlooked.
Another key benefit of UTP is that it costs less per metre than any other type of LAN (local area network) cable. In real terms, this translates to companies spending less on cabling and more on actual end-user security devices.
UTP also opens up possibilities in terms of extension. “Spare pairs are easy to accommodate at little, if any, additional cost because, much like telephone extensions, the spare pairs are already there. All active units also contain built-in ground lifting features, which in other systems, have to be bought separately.”
By combining the benefits of UTP and high-performance video transmission equipment, Greeff maintains that end users can enjoy superior technology. “UTP is convenient, simple to use, and offers high-quality UTP video transmission, all of which combine to bring the user a viable, competitive and future-proof security solution.”
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