Successful partnerships between IP video and wireless networks

A look at the benefits, applications and technology involved when video surveillance is deployed using wireless networks

One of the many benefits of IP Video surveillance technology compared with traditional analog video equipment is that digital video is compressed and streamed across standard Ethernet networks using the Internet Protocol (IP). This is exactly the same protocol as used on corporate networks and the internet. Digital video can therefore be transmitted across any broadband network connection: cable, fiber or wireless.

There are a number of wireless technologies that allow digital surveillance video to be easily transmitted across large urban areas and from remote locations. As far as the IP video system is concerned the wireless interface is transparent and is simply a replacement or extension of the standard wired IP network. Connecting to a wireless network is the same as connecting to an Ethernet switch.

Benefits of Wireless IP Video
Combining IP video surveillance with wireless networks can provide the user with a number of significant benefits:

  • No cable -- eliminating the need for costly installation works.
  • Less disruption -- with less cable to install, project timeframes are significantly reduced and business disruption is minimized.
  • Lower transmission costs -- no expensive fixed lines required.
  • Expansion and migration -- legacy surveillance systems can easily be extended using wireless IP Video and provide a cost-effective solution for migration to fully digital systems.
  • Remote monitoring -- surveillance of remote locations over large distances.
  • Mobile applications -- live and recorded video from remote surveillance cameras can be viewed while on the move using 3G mobile phone networks.
  • Heritage protection -- in many historic buildings installation of cable is prohibited, wireless is the only alternative.

Wireless Technologies

Wireless Broadband Networks
Wireless broadband typically operates in the unlicensed frequency spectrum and provides high-speed wireless internet and data network access over a wide area.

For IP video applications wireless broadband networks can be deployed in a number of configurations:

  • Point-to-point, often known as an Ethernet bridge: A simple link between two networks.
  • Point-to-Multipoint: This topology allows several locations to be connected to a single network.
  • Mesh wide-area network: This is a communications network made up of radio nodes organized in a mesh topology. They are in effect a router network minus the cabling between nodes and they create a high-bandwidth network over a specific coverage area. Surveillance cameras with a wireless interface can be located anywhere within the mesh, allowing them to be repositioned as the environment changes or to be temporarily installed in crime hotspots around an urban area.

Different network technologies, both wired and wireless, are often deployed together to achieve very wide area coverage. Chihuahua State in Northern Mexico has deployed such a system based on distributed IP video technology. Covering nearly 100,000 square miles, Chihuahua is the largest of Mexico's states. Its capital and largest city has the same name, Chihuahua, and it includes eight other major cities. The truly distributed nature of the system allows an operator in the state capital to view video from any other city in the region from a PTZ camera that they can control. The surveillance systems in each city are deployed using point-to-multipoint wireless networks. Additionally, each city is connected to the state capital via fixed network links.

WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) is a telecommunications technology that supports wireless broadband access over large distances as an alternative to cable and DSL. It is different from Wi-Fi, which is a shorter range system (coverage over hundreds of feet); as opposed to WiMAX that provides wide area coverage over many miles.

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