Telecom News

How To Wire Your Home Entertainment System With Cat 5e

You have just got a new LED TV and a home entertainment system. It’s quite natural for you to want to enjoy the 5.1 surround sound, but your fun is marred by the unsightly wires running across your floor to the back of the room. That is why you need cat 5e cabling for your home entertainment system.

Cabling with a Cat 5e can really help you get rid of pools of cable on your floor or the nest of wires behind your audio/video cabinet. When it comes to AV wire management, choosing the right cable for your home is often a major concern- Cat 5e or Cat 6? Both the cables are suited in their own right, but Cat 5e should be your choice if budget is your concern and Cat 5e can also be used to connect the A/V source components in your home theater, to other rooms in the house. Not only that, CAT-5e cabling is effective for connecting home theater to your computer LAN and through this LAN to the Internet. MP3 servers, PVRs and other audio setups that play internet radio stations of MP3 files in your own computers, come with CAT-5e connectors.

Now on to Cat 5e cabling- if you are coming down from the attic, then you need to drill through the top plate by tying a nut to a strong string. While drilling you need to be careful and drill between the studs. To know how far you have drilled in the wall, you must mark one-foot divisions on the string beforehand. Then you must tape the cables to the string and you need to snag the string by using a hooked piece of stiff wire.

Keep in mind that the Cat 5e cable may seem a bit stiff to go through the hole, if you are drilling from below. This problem does not arise in the case of a junction box installation as the hole would be larger. It is advised that in order to guide the wire through the hole smoothly, you make the initial pull with a 20- or 22-gauge solid-core wire. The sneak trip is to use a professional fishing rod, if you have one!

The next step is to wrap a thin wire around the cable and make a running splice. To prevent the wire from snagging on the holes, you must cover it with electrical tape, and then hoist the cable up using a thin wire. All this is when you are working from below, but in case you are working from the attic, follow the same drill with the exception of attaching the string to the cable instead of the thin wire.

If you want to do an up and over wiring job, as in if you want a wire from the basement to the second floor, then use closets. Yes, closets are your answer and they are usually built one on top of another. Just get a green signal from everyone owning the closets on each floor, and run a Cat 5e from floor to ceiling in the corner of each closet.

Another option and probably the right way of doing things is to install a plastic conduit. A conduit is a safe option for passing multiple wires and you can always add more cables later. For your home entertainment system, a one inch PVC conduit will do. You can use several short pieces for your purpose. You can save yourself from all this drilling and pulling by taking the exterior route. In other words, take your cable up an exterior wall. Post the cabling and the painting of the house, a cable becomes literally invisible.

A word of caution here, you must take up the cabling job only if you have some experience, other wise you must hire a professional network cable termination engineer for the job.

Best Practices of CCTV – Implementing Successful Video Security Systems

This CCTV Buyers Guide provides a comprehensive overview of deploying a successful video surveillance camera system in your business or residence. This guide contains information to help in the design of your video surveillance system, select the products that best fit your CCTV system requirements, and help make key installation decisions that will save you time and money.The information was derived from deploying 100’s of CCTV systems and gathered from CCTV call centers who answer questions from commercial and residential customers. This guide combines the data from past CTV projects and gives the reader a head-start in the successful CCTV project

There are many details to consider when specifying the correct CCTV Camera System. Professional Video Surveillance is not a cheap endeavor and a budget should be outlined and the best possible system should be considered. This guide will help the novice CCTV buyer in reviewing camera and recording system for their CCTV and Video surveillance requirements.

The first task in a successful CCTV project is to outline the key CCTV objectives.

o How many cameras are required?

o What are the key FoV (Field of View(s))?

o What are the recording requirements?

o What are the lighting conditions of each camera location?

o Where do I need live video monitoring or a second video monitor?

o How long do you need to retain the video files?

Cameras There are specific cameras that need to be selected based on the FoV, lighting conditions, and the mounting location of the camera. There is no such thing as a one-size fits all in the successful CCTV project. It is important to note each camera location and select the camera best suited for that location.

Answer these questions:

o Indoor or Outdoor?

o Lighting conditions (during day and night)?

o Mounting locations?

Indoor Dome Camera

The indoor dome camera is used in 90% of general indoor applications. It comes in a variety of configurations including standard color, Day/Night, and Infrared versions. It can be mounted on a horizontal or vertical surface but is typically ceiling mounted. Lens options on dome camera may restrict their use in certain applications such as requiring more than a 20mm video lens. Dome cameras are a primary choice in indoor camera locations.

Box Camera

A box camera is a standard camera that can be mounted alone or in an enclosure. The box camera uses a separate lens that screws on to the front surface and provides flexibility for different FoV requirements and is sold without a lens. An auto-iris lens will have a small cable that connects to the camera for iris control in various lighting conditions.

Outdoor Dome Cameras

Outdoor Dome Cameras are typically hard shell vandal-roof casings that offer the same versatility in a variety of lens options. Day/Night outdoor dome cameras are common in applications that have entry and exit points with limited lighting during the night.

Day/Night Camera

The Day/Night camera is the best choice for low-light conditions. The cameras are standard color during daylight conditions, the Day/Night camera switches either digitally of mechanically to a low-lux B/W mode.

Infrared Camera

During No-Light conditions, Infrared cameras provide infrared illumination of the FoF allowing monitoring of areas with no light available. Te IR LEDs are automatically illuminated and the camera switched to the B/W low-lux mode offering camera views in total darkness.

PTZ Camera

Pan-Tilt-Zoom camera offer the ability to view in all directions and optically zoom in as required. PTZ cameras also include standard color, Day/Night modes, and a few IR PTZ cameras have been introduced recently. The CCTV operator can set the PTZ cameras to automatically rotate to different FoVs. Options include Auto-tracking applications that dynamically track objects in defined areas.

About the Camera technology

Sony CCDs are the predominate video element in security cameras today. Sony makes few cameras, but they own the CCD market. Do not think that Sony makes the camera touted as ” Sony 1/3″ Super HAD Camera” as many vendors advertise their cameras. The camera has a Sony CCD, however the camera is not from Sony and could be almost any brand camera out there. Important factors of lens quality, vari-focal and auto-iris ability, quality of camera housing or enclosure, and lens optics are the difference in a professional CCTV camera.

Facts about Cameras:

o If you buy an $80 camera, you will get an $80 view.

o 480 TVL should be a minimum requirement in any professional CCTV project.

o Location of the camera and the correct lens are keys to quality video capture

o Cameras love light and thieves hate the light! Add lighting wherever possible

Camera Enclosure

Box cameras can be mounted in a variety of enclosures. Outdoor enclosures in cold climates should include a heater/blower that keeps frost and condensation from forming on the lens and camera. Heater/Blower are commonly 24VAC and should be considered when selecting the CCTV power supply system.

Camera Location

Camera mounting location is critical to the success of the CCTV project. Cameras should be mounted as close possible to the field of view required, and the closer the camera to the subject the better the identification of the subject will be. Proper lens selection relative to the camera location and the FoV required is essential to a quality picture.

Digital Video Recorders

DVRs are an important part of any successful CCTV project. Video resolution is getting larger, recording speeds are getting faster, and video data compression is reducing the video data file size. TeraByte storage capacity is becoming common in many CCTV applications. Network or remote monitoring of CCTV video is standard in all professional DVRs on the market in 2007 and video distribution across LANs, WANs, and the Web have given the DVR a new market outside of video security known as Business Systems Monitoring that allows management to monitor specified key business areas 24 hours a day. No longer just a security video recorder, the DVR has become a business tool for management with remote monitoring applications.

In order to choose the correct DVR for any application, the following questions need to be answered.

o How many channels (cameras)?

o What speed of recording is required?

o How long to retain video files (Hard Drive Size)?

o What features are important to the application?

o Where will DVR system be located?

o Remote monitoring requirements?

In choosing the right DVR for your CCTV application, ensure that you are determining the quantity of cameras needed now and in the next 24 months. DVRs come in 4, 8, 9, and 16 channel increments and this selection is critical because adding cameras above the DVR channels available will require an additional DVR, not just additional channels. DVR systems in large installations are segmented into 16 channels units and are monitored and managed through a Central Management System.

The speed of recording is critical to many CCTV applications. 30 fps (frames per second) is considered real-time video, therefore to obtain 30 fps for the application, 480 fps for 16 channels and 240fps for 8 channels is required. Many CCTV applications will provide real-time (30 fps) live viewing of video channels and 7-15 fps for recorded files. It is acceptable to have 7-15 fps for recorded files in many applications, but technology in DVR systems has pushed real-time video for the masses and 30 fps recording will soon be the standard recording rates across all channels as available today.

Storage of vide files is much easier and cost effective in 2007 than ever before. DVR storage at the TeraByte level is common and drives have become faster and more reliable. Retention of video data files can be managed by corporate IT departments as any business critical data and network drive archiving is common. All of the top DVR systems have USB ports for external storage devices and LAN-based video servers are common. A critical component of any DVR system is the ability to access the video files. The software provided by DVR manufacturers is proprietary to the DVR unit and the ability to retrieve files chronologically or based on certain security events is vital to the DVR product.

PC-Based vs. Standalone DVRs

Standalone DVR systems were the majority of video recorders sold in the marketplace up until 2006. Computer-based DVRs have become increasingly popular due to the cost and features provide in the latest generation of DVR cards on the market in 2007. The Windows XP PC computer is providing the reliability and performance in today’s DVR systems that are required for mission critical video security systems. The open architecture of PC-based DVR systems allow easy integration into corporate LANs and technology upgrades are at a component level. Software upgrades and hard drive storage additions are far less costly that proprietary DVR systems. Standalone DVRs are imbedded recording systems usually operating under Linux OS. The standalone DVRs are widely used in retail security sites and provide reliable video recording for 4-16 channels. Most DVRs on the market offer network remote access and CD R/W archiving.Computer-based DVR systems are reliable, fast, and have many advanced applications not found on standalone systems.

Video compression

MPEG4 and H.264 are the video compression of choice in 2007. In summary, MPEG4 is good and H.264 is better. The key to video compression is the resolution and the size of the video. High resolution video files are monster size files and video compression for storage and streaming is critical to any video application. Major advancements in video compression will be seen in 2007 and H.264 will be the codec of choice for DVR manufacturers.

H.264

This uses the latest innovations in video compression technology to provide high resolution video quality from the smallest amount of video data required. Smaller files will save bandwidth and storage costs over previous generations of video codecs. H.264 delivers the same quality as MPEG-2 at a third to half the data rate and up to four times the frame size of MPEG-4 Part 2 at the same data rate. H.264 is used in the latest video devices for High Definition video devices, BluRay DVDs and should be considered for any professional CCTV project.

Network Access and Remote Viewing

Network access is the ability to remotely monitor a video server across the LAN, WAN, or internet. A very important application for any DVR system is the ability to monitor live and access to recordings through remote access. Most DVRs today have a LAN RJ45 connection that allows the Video Recorder to connect to the LAN just like any other PC in the office.

Advanced DVR Features

Many CCTV systems are releasing advanced security and specialty software for security enhancements. These include:

o Object counting

o POS Integration

o PTZ Auto-Tracking

o Face Recognition

o Access Control Integration

CCTV Cabling and System Layout

DVR Location In choosing the optimal location for the DVR system, consider the access of the area for centralized control and security of the area. The DVR is the heart of the CCTV system and should be protected as necessary to ensure it is safe from theft or damage. If the security breach includes theft of the DVR component, all evidence is carried off under the arm of the thief. And the thieves know this, so ensure that the DVR system is in a lock-box or an appropriate secure area.

Camera Power Supply

Each professional camera requires either 12VDC or 24VAC. Both power options are acceptable and some CCTV installations will require both. Central Power Supplies are available in 4,8,16 and more channels.

Cable Options

Traditional video cable is RG59 coax cable. Siamese dual cable is commonly used that provides RG59u coax together with a pair of 18 gauge wire for the camera power requirements. The dual cable allows single cable runs to each camera for both video and power.

Cat-5 Options

UTP (twisted pair) cabling is becoming more popular with Cat-5e/Cat-6 cabling used in networks. CAT cabling is lighter and less expensive than coax cabling and requires balun connectors to match the impedance of the video signal. Coax and UTP connections up to1000′ feet are acceptable. A balun is used to match the impedance on Cat-5 connections on the DVR and camera connections.

The Successful Video Surveillance Project

o Quality Plan

o Quality Cameras

o Quality DVR

o Quality Installation

Author: Steve McNeal

AMA Security

2/17/2008

HD-SDI Vs. IP Surveillance – Upgrading To HD

Whether you’re trying to update your surveillance system or get a brand new HD security system, there are two main paths you can take; either HD-SDI or IP based surveillance. When it comes to choosing one over the other there are some key advantages and downfalls to each that should be considered. So read on as we discuss the main features and flaws of each, and help give ideas towards what would work best in your application.

Before we delve into the specifics and ideas behind both systems, we will first discuss their main overlapping benefit; HD video! Both systems regardless of which you choose are capable of utilizing HD surveillance cameras and equipment to provide superb clarity and definition. This is the main reason we will compare and contrast the systems other features, as they both are roads that lead to HD with different obstacles and choices in achieving it.

No matter which system you decide to go with, you will have to (at a minimum) replace your older DVRs and security cameras with newer HD capable devices. There is no getting around this obstacle for either system.

Installation and/or Upgrading

The way these two systems are installed and connected is quite different from one another, and HD-SDI has one big advantage when it comes to upgrading older cctv systems in particular. HD-SDI has the capability of using your already installed cctv cables. By using your pre-existing cables you are saving on the cost of having to run and install new cabling. This can be of particular benefit in larger systems were the cost itself could be prohibitive and time consuming. Not only can you use the same cables as an older analog system, but you can use the same BNC connectors as well. Ultimately all you need to do to install this new system would be to buy new cameras and a new DVR (digital video recorder). At that point it would simply be a matter of plug and play connections to get your surveillance equipment up and running.

Now when it comes to IP surveillance systems, they provide a key advantage when it comes to installing brand new systems as opposed to upgrading an existing infrastructure. This advantage lies in the use of CAT network cable as your transmission medium. In an IP system you’re using network cable as not only your video line, but also your power line; this is achieved through what is known as PoE (power over Ethernet). PoE allows your system to power your cameras and transmit video at the same time using only one cable. This eliminates the need for Siamese cabling where both a power line and coaxial video line are needed for your cameras. This makes it easier to run and install your cabling as well as needing only a single power source back at your NVR (network video recorder). In fact some NVRs have PoE ports built directly into them for easier installation.

Remote Monitoring and Configuration

When it comes to configuring an HD-SDI system for remote monitoring and network accessibility it is pretty much the same as setting up an analog system. The steps of assigning an IP address and port forwarding in your router are the standard configurations you will have to do. So from an ease of use stand point the HD-SDI system is a good way to go, but that is about as much as you will be able to do with it.

The IP surveillance system also involves the same type of setup in the NVR as the HD-SDI system does in its DVR, but the difference comes in the sheer capabilities that IP surveillance has when it comes to networking.

The first main example of a great feature of an IP surveillance system is that each and every camera has its own unique IP address. This gives you the ability to pull up only certain cameras rather than all of them at once. Configuring this can be a bit time consuming as each camera comes set to a default IP address, and you will have to change that to a unique address for each one, one at a time. If you don’t do this, you will end up with IP address conflicts that may freeze the system up or simply not allow you to access certain cameras.

Since each IP camera has its own address, this leads us into another great feature; the ability to centrally monitor multiple systems. If you wanted to monitor multiple surveillance systems at once in the past, you would need CMS (central monitoring software). With an IP surveillance system your NVR can act as a central monitoring station itself. Let’s say you have a 16 channel NVR and have 4 different locations around the country each with 4 IP cameras. You can use your NVR and remotely pull in each and every one of those cameras and view them all at once. On top of all that you can even pull in older analog systems and HD-SDI systems into the NVR and watch them as well, as long as they are remotely accessible. This is quite an amazing feature that cannot be accomplished with an HD-SDI DVR. Now to be fair it’s a much more complicated setup when it comes to using these features, but they are quite useful if you have the patience and know how to implement them.

It should be noted that if you plan on doing a remote system as exampled earlier, the one big downfall is that it’s a very bandwidth intensive configuration. To accomplish this you will need a strong and reliable internet connection to maintain it.

In the end my basic advice is this. If you’re upgrading an old analog system or just want a simple home setup I would recommend HD-SDI. If you’re looking to install a larger business based system and plan on doing any networking between multiple locations, I would recommend going with an IP based solution.

Additionally as one final note. No matter what system you decide to go with, you will be able to find comparable security cameras when it comes to features such as IR LEDs, lenses, body style, etc… so this should not be a factor when deciding which system to choose.

Long Ethernet Cables – What’s The Maximum Length You Can Use?

Ethernet cables are the cable of choice for networking. They are used in both home and office environments. They carry data at rates up to 1000mbs and are the perfect solution to transmit information between computers. Ethernet leads are even used to stream live TV. More and more companies like Love Film in the United Kingdom are moving away from physical DVDs and are opting to stream content directly to your television. A common question surrounding Ethernet cables is one of length and in particular what is the maximum length you can use without losing quality.

Ethernet cables can easily handle information at lengths up to 100 meters. Though they can suffer some signal loss when you use longer cables. In office environments is common for the cable to be supplied on a long 300 meter reel. Network specialist will then splice and join the cable in place. Whilst for home use many people will opt for a ready made and terminated lead, for example a lead. Buying ready made and terminated cables is far more convenient for the home user, if slightly more expensive. Not everyone is comfortable making and terminating their own cables. Expect to pay around ten pounds for a ten meter lead in the United Kingdom.

It’s a good idea to opt for a shielded cable if you are using longer runs. If you are using a cable 30m long, there is a chance your connection will suffer from crosstalk. Crosstalk is caused by electrical magnetic interference from other cables or devices in the near vicinity of your long Ethernet cable. the shielding adds a layer of foil around the internal cable and as the term suggests it shields from interference. Expect to pay slightly more for shielded cables, but remember they are worth the extra. An Ethernet cable 30m long should cost around fifteen pounds.

The RJ45 plug has 8 pins. They two most commonly used categories of cable are Cat5e and Cat6. Cat5e cables work at speeds up to 100mbs whilst Cat6 cables work at higher speeds of 1000mbs or Gigabit. For home computing or live TV streaming either of these two categories is ideal, if your budget can stretch you are best opting for the fast Cat6 cable, you may not necessarily see the speed benefit if your network or equipment is not capable of those speeds but Cat6 cables are considered a better choice.

The Basics Of Data Cable Management

Although it sounds complicated at first, data cable management simply refers to the solution that one employs for organizing every cable wire that connect computers and equipment in a work environment. We are all aware of the complicated snarls that can result from even simple arrangements involving computers, printers, modems, and so on. When it comes to industrial operations like data centers, office buildings, and so on, the problem becomes that much more complicated. Consider that the average work computer is connected to ten data cables, not to mention internal wiring, telephone and modem cables. Maintaining a clear organization solution and keeping every wire in its place will translate into better working conditions and more flexibility in the future.

While organizing each data cable into a functional system seems like a simple task, the hierarchies of information systems, interconnection of communications technologies and so on quickly complicates things. Furthermore, every wire must be well placed because effective connectivity is the bread and butter of any data management operation. Beyond arranging each data cable cord so that it won’t be tripped over, cable management must be logical and easily accessible in order to expedite maintenance and upgrades. Maintaining each and every data cable in a secure and tidy bundle also protects hardware investments and helps to improve the bottom line.

Anyone beginning to research the many products and services available in the cable management industry will be barraged by hundreds of solutions, each making their own claims. Early in the research process, it is important to carefully analyze the requirements of a cable management system including, as much as possible, potential future needs. It is always better to invest in a system for cable wire management that has room to grow instead of one that just barely covers your present day requirements. Unlike a power cable cord, each data cable is frequently adjusted or replaced, and so clear and efficient access is essential.

The most common approach to data cable management for industrial uses involves compartmentalizing various tasks as much as possible. In many cases, an office space or data center will utilize a cabinet or closet where patch panels are installed. These patch panels are hardwired through a cable wire into the central hub mechanisms. The patch port allows easily modifiable access from these networks to individual computers or devices through a patch cable wire. In order to avoid ‘cable spaghetti’ within the cabinet, many small devices can be bought that organize and secure the web of cables that issue from the patch panel. Examples include a cable rack, a cable basket, and a cable tray.

Another consideration important right from the start of any cable management system is an analysis of the requirements of the components. For example, it is usually necessary to keep a power cable wire apart from a data cable. Some cables have specific minimum bend radius as well. Proper separation of data cable types will avoid potential problems like cross talk and data interference. A final important consideration in cable management is labeling. Color coding and cable grouping are important for future maintenance as well as proper operation.

In any industrial application of cable management, the best approach is to be organized right from the beginning. Consulting with professionals will prevent future problems and help to ensure efficient functioning. Every time a problem with a cable wire is avoided means money saved by the company. Investing in a unified system is almost always preferable to patching together several different kinds of cables and hardware. Additionally, some of the best cable management solutions are the simplest: structured running of cable trays, cable ladders and/or cable trays with proper, standardized labeling of the cable wires will prove essential to any efficient data center management.