Corporate Site: System Upgrade Interfaces with an Existing Network

Cabling Challenges
I'm part of a committee that is researching what is available in security products, voice products and analog control to upgrade our 15-year old security system at a campus public corporate site. Our goal is to have a single security station to view CCTV and other security requirements. The management is requesting we choose products with a ten-year life span and the ability to interface to our seven year old Ethernet network. I believe they used CAT 3 cable for the Ethernet network. Would you please give me an overview of some of the challenges we will need to consider for this project?

A: Your task will encompass several areas of technology as well as business decisions that may be equally as challenging. In a campus environment, the first decision is how many signals do you transmit from building to building and back to the Central Command Center and how this will be accomplished. If the buildings have access to each other via a conduit system, this would be a good choice. First, explore what type of cables exist building to building and see if any of them will interfere with the other new products being used.

The use of fiber optics cabling is a cost effective way to gather CCTV signals and other data applications within buildings and multiplex them to the Central Command Center. Fiber optics reduce your chances of other cables interfering with other signals or EMI bleed. The fiber optic multiplexers may be chosen individually for each type of data and video signals to be transmitted from each sub-system.

Wireless transmitter and receiving applications may be considered if no conduit exists or the buildings are across a public roadway.

Ethernet networking is an area that may be more complicated and costly, but it is viable solution to consider.

You mentioned you thought your firm is using CAT 3 cable network. The latest network technology cable is CAT 6 and Cat 5 is in between. The use of Ethernet and Internet networks require TCP/IP protocol to communicate.

Network cable sizing and equipment will need a complete review and your company will most likely need an upgrade to CAT 5 or 6.

Are video cameras scalable to future needs?

A: If using IP cameras within your campus environment, a few important steps need to be explored. Look at IP network security products that use a multi-level user encrypted login and password requirement. Many of the new products are adding encryption and built-in firewalls. The consideration of the bandwidth size of the network should be dynamic and adjustable to allow the Network Administrator flexibility in managing the IT network. You?ll need a back up plan if the IT network is offline for long period of time.

The back up of data should always be considered when mapping out new systems. The importance of the security system should be discussed with the corporation risk manager or chief financial officer to determine levels of security of data, intellectual properties and physical assets.

In the new IRS tax code are requirements for high level managers to check off that they have protected all the assets?including intellectual ones?of public corporations.

John W. Colley is president of Integrated Security Systems, Ltd. Colley has been in the security industry for 25 years, beginning his experience in the CCTV segment of security and gaining knowledge through field experience, manufacturer training and designing systems to meet customer needs. Colley started his security integration firm 16 years ago, providing design, engineering, installation and service to commercial accounts using integrated systems. Send your CCTV/Surveillance questions to