IP video security camera installation hall of shame

July 15, 2011

Ok, folks, follow me through the photos. If you're trying to prevent a broken lock at your customer's mini-storage units...

Then you're probably going to use some video surveillance on the site to add to a good fence and gate access control system. But don't be caught doing this with your installation...

or this when you run your IP cabling to the camera...

So here's the deal with running cabling to outdoor IP cameras. These are my four quick tips based on what I saw at this installation.

1. Standard Cat5 cables use a PVC sheath. It's pretty good stuff, admittedly, but it's not rated for outdoor use, and sun and temperatures will eventually degrade it. It wasn't designed to be exposed to the elements. If you're going to use that standard Cat5 cable for IP cameras and are going to run it outside, take the time to put it in a conduit to at least keep the sun off the cabling.

2. There are ground-contact cables designed to be allowed so that you can bury them, just as there are high-voltage cables that have special designs and sheaths so you can bury them. But if you're not going to use those special cables, then by all means put the standard cables in a conduit before you bury them.

3. As you can see in the photos, the installer ran conduit under the speed bump, but then left the cables exposed before they entered the concrete curb. If you look in the photos, you can see the black rubber left from a moving truck rolling over that curb. How many times would a truck have to accidentally rub that curb before your cable no longer works? How easy is it for the burglar to spot your camera cables? Or how hard would it be for the mowing crew to accidentally weed-eat your cable into two pieces? Take your time and do a job right!

4. If you have extra length to your IP camera's Cat5 cables, don't just loop the extra over the camera to storage it. That looks unprofessional and speaks poorly of the job you've done. Cut the cable to right length and install the connector at the length you need. Sure, pre-manufactured cables with pre-installed connectors are nice, but they're no fun to fish and they will make it more likely that you're going to end up with this kind of effect if a tech is too lazy to tidy up their install.

OK, don't end up in the install hall of shame. Do good work when you put in your camera systems!