Fiber optic transmission and modern parking garages

Medium lends flexibility in design and implementation


The design specification requiring four different monitoring locations made an Ethernet over optical fiber solution a viable option. It also offers a network reliability function that traditional point-to-point solutions cannot offer. Although Ethernet systems offer great potential, in some cases such as with the Jackson-Madison County Hospital, other solutions are more cost-effective. In 2003 SimplexGrinnell, who has been the integrator for the hospital since 1997, suggested a major upgrade for the CCTV system that included moving the entire system to an Ethernet-based system. At the time, due to the cost, bandwidth limits and quality of the recorded video, the hospital chose to use a traditional point-to point fiber optic transmission system. In the seven years since that decision was made, advancements in Ethernet systems have been made to eliminate those limitations. In the case of the hospital, they had a legacy system in place and that was the determining factor in deciding the path of this expansion.

The final design called for placing all the cameras in strategic locations to ensure 100 percent coverage within the garage. Each camera had its feed transported by coaxial cable to a network closet in the garage facility. Eight-channel fiber optic video transmitters and four-channel fiber optic video transmitters with two channels of data, over a single optical fiber, transported the video and camera control from the garage to the main security command center monitoring location within the hospital and the three other locations designated for CCTV monitoring. The new security command center has been designed to handle all the current and future monitoring requirements. At the conclusion of the project it is estimated that over 550 security cameras will be viewable, controllable and recorded by the Jackson-Madison County Hospital’s Security Department.

Frank (Skip) Haight is the vice president of Marketing for ComNet Communication Networks, Danbury, Conn., www.comnet.net.

Sidebar: New Ideas in Fiber Transmission

Fiber optic transmission has become the preferred method of transmission for both point-to-point video and data or Ethernet over fiber. In their most basic operation both are extremely effective ways of delivering video and data from a remote surveillance location to monitoring station or stations. Both have distinct benefits and drawbacks. IP video over fiber offers the capability of redundancy, multiple location monitoring and scalability. But the downside is complexity that in many instances requires network experts to implement and in some cases offers less than great quality video.

Point-to-point systems offer simplicity to the point of being plug and play and easy to install and are known for DVD quality real-time video and the capability to transmit multiple channels of video over a single fiber. The downside is, if the fiber is compromised, the video is gone and in most cases monitoring can take place in one location.

The ComNet SHR fiber optic product line offers the capability to currently insert and drop up to eight channels of 10-Bit digital video and eight channels of serial data onto a fiber optic network with distances as far as 48km between nodes. The video and data can be extracted at an unlimited number of locations. The additional use of a second fiber ensures redundancy to the network eliminating a single point of failure. These two features plus the ease of installation give the user a simpler installation while retaining the beneficial functionality of an Ethernet-based system