Going beyond 330 feet with IP cameras

An article two weeks ago by Fredrik Nilsson, the general manager for the Americas of IP video company Axis Communications, tried to dispel some of the myths that if you're using IP cameras, you can't put a camera (or any other IP-connected end point like a PC, encoder, access control reader) more than 330 feet or 100 meters from a switch. In his article, he also offered some suggestions for how to get around that limitation.

ethernet cable

The issue here is that the IEEE has a 100-meter standard/specification for UTP cabling. Now, of course, you can make longer runs with standard UTP cabling, but if you're beyond the IEEE standard, then the cable isn't specified to support clean data transmission beyond that distance, and you're doing so at your own risk. Certainly some of our readers who are technicians and installers could tell you that they've run standard Ethernet cable beyond 100 meters, but I'll bet 1) that they don't do it often, and 2) if and when they do, they use the highest quality cable they can find.

I had a conversation this week with Ty Estes, the marketing director for Omnitron, a company which makes UTP-to-Fiber Optic media converters, and he clarified some options for going beyond that 328-feet/100-meter distance specified by the IEEE.

Here are Ty's quick tips on going the distance with IP.

  • Fiber optic technology -- without any interruptions/repeaters -- can send signals up to 87 miles without degradation. That means a continuous fiber strand.
  • LAN extenders exist that will earn you an additional 3,000 feet using UTP cabling
  • Coaxial cable can be used for IP signaling at distances up to 1,200 feet.
  • Wireless has a lot of options, and some 900Mhz wireless systems have a range of 40 miles. That's line of site, of course.
  • As you push the limits of coaxial cable and UTP, you can expect signal degradation. And that may mean dropped or corrupted packets, which in turn means a decrease in bandwidth.

Feel free to use our comments area below to share your own tips for good cabling practices with UTP/Ethernet cables.

-Geoff Kohl, SecurityInfoWatch.com