IP infrastructure design

How many times have you gone into a new construction project or retrofit, taken one look at the cabling backbone-and wanted to run in the opposite direction?

For the systems integration community, coming in last minute on a project, after the infrastructure is in place, evokes frustration and even fear-because if the proper infrastructure isn't there, the video implementation may be in jeopardy.
IP infrastructure and cabling best practices are critical elements in an IP video system and distributors have stepped up with specification and product guides, white papers and other support materials. Many provide design, specification and planning assistance.

In Q4 last year Anixter, Glenview, Ill., unveiled the ipAssured infrastructure cabling program to assist and simplify infrastructure planning. It provides detailed cabling recommendations to support current and future security applications. Based on technology life cycles of one to 10+ years, the program exceeds IEEE/TIA performance recommendations.
Communications Supply Corp., Carol Stream, Ill., also unveiled a new program called FTL or Faster than Light Server and Storage Solutions last year, built around the site FTLportal.com. The interactive program helps integrators build the correct infrastructure and create complete IP surveillance systems.

In the field, integrators deploy both hardwired and wireless IP infrastructures.

"There's so much demand for video," said Matt LaRue, business development, Convergint Technologies LLC, Schaumburg, Ill. "I look to manufacturers as partners in the infrastructure specification," he said.

LaRue said Convergint Technologies starts the system infrastructure design by first addressing the needs of the client. "We have a meeting of the minds with all the people involved, including information security, IT, facilities managers and security and talk about everything-including the structured cabling, servers and storage. We find out what they expect to see with their IP system, live video or archived footage. If they want to integrate alarms with video, that's another consideration," he said. LaRue said most often the cabling specified is Category 6 and includes PoE.

Convergint tries to use as much of the current infrastructure as possible. "With a lot of clients, campuses or universities, we use an existing fiber backbone especially if it's for a remote location. We use any dark (unused) fibers that are standalone especially for remote video over IP," he added.

The wireless side

Wireless solutions, especially with increased range, speed, reliability and security, are increasingly deployed as IP infrastructures. Preferred Technology Solutions, Richardson, Texas, takes this wireless approach most often, according to James Vaughan, director of Sales and Marketing. "When designing a technology solution, our engineers and consultants first study the existing infrastructure, consider the information gathered during the analysis phase and then design a solution based upon the latest available technologies and best practices," said Vaughan.

"We use wireless especially where you have cameras in a location where pulling Category 5 or 6 or using fiber is not an option. With wireless, you need to have power and we deploy that with solar and PoE solutions. We remotely monitor the solar battery and the signal as well. We also use a lot of two-way audio over wireless and often run VoIP on the same network with the video. Weatherproofing the wireless infrastructure is extremely important," he said.


As the industry moves to digital, the transmission medium of choice is shifting away from coaxial cabling. The cabling media of choice for digital networks is four twisted-pair copper wires with fiber and wireless alternatives (for longer distances or to overcome challenges with communication right-of-ways). Source: Anixter IP Surveillance Guide