Monti: Systems can use either existing or new network hardware. In the case of legacy systems, it is common for a new IP network to be constructed alongside the existing CCTV network. This way previous equipment investment is not lost. Network video transmission, display, and storage requirements vary radically from data networks, so existing systems may not have the capacity or security infrastructure required for video security.
Anderson: In most cases, using separate networks makes little sense. When installed and maintained properly, a single network should be able to support a considerable amount of video. In the majority of applications, you want to strive for one cable, one set of equipment and one group of people supporting the network.
What’s the biggest no-no in managing video on the network?
Surfaro: Not using tools provided by the logical infrastructure manufacturer or other software supplier to manage the network. Sniffers are an example of one of these tools that analyze traffic and see patterns. A poor network design can create bottlenecks, even if you have a substantial amount of bandwidth available.
Banerjee: The assumption that bandwidth is free – it may be on a LAN but not a WAN, and that is a major application area for IP video. Also, the notion that multicast and assembling multicast is easy because it requires a lot of switch set-up. Many systems fail because installers were not network certified.
Gorovici: The most important element is to follow standards. The IT world follows known and published standards and most manufacturers build their products to those standards. The biggest no-no would be to use proprietary equipment followed by using older compression technology that was not built for a security environment.
Blasofsel: Not involving the end-user’s IT department in system deployments, which may potentially leave the system vulnerable to violations of security polices that enable destructive behavior.
Lavery: It is giving video network unmanaged access to multiple users. Determine who can access live and archive video and from what computers they can access this information from.
Monti: The biggest mistake with video management is forgetting to consider the importance of capturing useful video in the first place. Significant care must be taken to specify the right cameras and video encoders for the job. Many assume megapixel cameras have better images, most megapixel cameras have much poorer signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) in dim lighting. So performance of high pixel count cameras in low light tends to be poor. The noise will clog networks with high video bit rates and storage requirement containing no extra benefit.
Anderson: IP video must be implemented by an installer with considerable experience, using good design practices. We encourage our channel partners not to spec everything on their own.
What’s coming down the pike in technology or software that might make a big difference in effectively managing video on the network?
Surfaro: Treat the video as data, and realize that there’s a good deal of software to manage performance on your network and provide analysis and early identification of potential issues. Dark screen monitoring comes to network management with tools like nGenius that provides for more meaningful alerts that there are network issues.
Banerjee: There will be a realization in the marketplace that bandwidth is limited and how do I reduce my dependency on it? There are two mindsets that support this going with either IP cameras or DVRs; one is totally dependent on bandwidth, the other, is not. The marketplace also consists of other options including an encoder with storage built in, encoders which can be attached to an external storage source such as USB hard drives or iSCSI RAIDs and IP cameras with internal storage.
Gorovici: Two major areas are emerging for effectively managing video on the network: The new compression standard H.264 and the improvement of video quality through high compression MPEG -4 cameras, both of which enable better video quality and compression. Each of these image processing algorithms keep the video burden to a minimum on the network.
Blasofsel: Higher compression CODECs with more efficient workstation decoding is an evolving technology that captures the interest of most IT stakeholders. The output is lower bandwidth consumption and a smaller storage footprint while maintaining a high quality experience for end users.