Video: 5 Best Practices for Building a Surveillance Network

Building an infrastructure for a video surveillance means adhering to these best practices

This article originally appeared in the August 2012 issue of SD&I magazine

Network infrastructures are fast evolving, which means systems integrators must also evolve to keep pace. Numerous advancements in technology are affecting today’s network performance, including the transition from analog-based network infrastructures to digital Internet Protocol (IP) infrastructures. In addition, copper cables are losing ground to high-performance fiber optic cables and the decreasing cost and increasing reliability of wireless systems means many organizations are moving to wireless IP-based security systems instead of traditional wired networks.

Network infrastructures are also being impacted by the rapidly improving resolution of security cameras. IMS Research forecasts that by 2015 more than 70 percent of video surveillance network camera shipments will be megapixel resolution. At the same time the resolution of surveillance video cameras is increasing, more systems are being added to network infrastructures. As a result, outdated network infrastructures are struggling to keep up with demand.

As security and surveillance systems continue to become more dependent upon network infrastructures, they play an increasingly important role in the performance of security and surveillance systems. Without a reliable, robust network infrastructure, the performance of surveillance video is compromised.

Here are five best practices for efficiently and cost-effectively building a network infrastructure to support video surveillance now and in the future while maintaining peak network infrastructure performance.

Best Practice 1: Plan Ahead

Network infrastructure cabling often has a lifespan of 15 to 20 years or more, which is why it is important to plan ahead to prepare for network growth and future technologies. Are you planning on converting your analog system into an IP-based system? Will your network infrastructure transform into a wireless system over time? Is your system prepared for the fast growing influx of mobile devices? Considering all of these factors will help you create a long-term plan to maximize the lifespan of your network infrastructure and reduce costs associated with ripping and replacing technology prematurely.

Prepare for IP-Based Infrastructures

It is inevitable that network infrastructures are transitioning from analog to IP-based systems, but what is not so clear is how and when organizations plan to make the switch. Due to the recession, many companies are making it a priority to extend the life of existing analog systems while slowly upgrading to IP-based technology. With a little planning, it is possible to implement a hybrid analog-IP system to ease into the transition. This is a cost-effective way to upgrade your technology over time without breaking the bank.

Prepare for Wireless

The cost of wireless networks is decreasing and, at the same time, the security and reliability of wireless networks is increasing. Even mission critical systems, such as healthcare network infrastructures, are relying more heavily on wireless technologies.

This means wireless IP-based security solutions are more accessible than ever before, but proper planning must take place before making a transition to wireless. Before a wireless network is even installed, the existing network infrastructure may need to be upgraded to handle the pending wireless demand. Instead of making the necessary upgrades all at once, build a plan that relies upon incremental upgrades over time based on a realistic schedule and budget.  

Prepare for Mobility

Is your network infrastructure prepared to handle the growing number of mobile devices accessing your organization’s shared network infrastructure? Even security professionals are using more mobile devices than ever before to connect remotely to secure virtual private networks to monitor video, manage card access and control locks in real-time, as well as access archived information on-demand. However, more access means more data is being pulled from the data center and this means today’s network infrastructures must be built with an eye toward the future to anticipate the ongoing influx of mobile-data traffic generated by mobile devices.

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