The use of network-based technology for signal transport has made all the difference in ease of installation and advances in system functionality.
In order to derive the full potential available in most IP-based video surveillance systems, it’s imperative that you use the right cable and that it be installed properly.
Steven Beaudry, Director – Northeast at Axis Communications, says there’s a lot more professionalism now in the IP camera realm than when he was first installing them.
“If I could impart any advice to any installer, it is to make inventory weeks ahead of time so you have all the bits and pieces that you need, you have extras on any consumable that you might need in the field, making sure that stuff is prepared and staged appropriately for your project.
“Installing IP cameras can be a big interruption to your client’s homes, so taking inventory and making sure it’s pre-programmed remotely before being in the field so field techs can be confident that they’ve got everything that they need.”
One more general tip from Beaudry: all of the manufacturers have some form of training, whether it’s online or in person. Some have certifications, some don’t.
“But one thing that I feel like we could do better is to get technicians properly trained and certified in whatever it is that we’re tasking them with in their installations. And I know time out of the field is expensive, and it’s hard to come by staffing and all of that. But the risk and the costs associated with not investing in spending a day or two to get somebody trained in the equipment that they’re installing.”
Here are a few dos and don’ts that integrators should consider when installing IP cameras:
1. You must match UTP connected devices, such as couplers, modular plugs and wall plates, to the Category of the cable used and do so consistently installation-wide.
2. By design and specification, cable runs in an IP camera system can only extend up to 295 feet for optimum performance.
3. Bend radius of both Cat-5e and -6 cables must be limited to four times the cable diameter; the accepted bend radius is no less than 1 inch.
4. Pull tension while installing Cat-5e/-6 cable cannot exceed 25 pounds.
5. Before stripping the sheath from a cable in a wall box, limit the length so the excess can easily be pushed back into the wall cavity.
6. Do not staple Cat-5e/-6 cable; instead, use D rings, bridle rings, J hooks and other devices that do not risk altering the outer form or dimensions of the cable.
7. Maintain a 6-10 inch parallel distance between Cat-5e and -6 cables and high-voltage wires (120/240VAC).
8. Strip Cat-5e/-6 cables back as little distance as necessary when attaching them to connecting devices.
9. Use either the T568A or T568B connection format and adhere to just one throughout the entire installation for conformity.
Cable is not the only aspect of a successful IP camera installation:
1. Whatever the make and model of the IP camera(s) is that you decide to use, it must be suitable for the environment in which it’s deployed.
2. Consider the amount of low and bright light that your camera(s) will be subjected to when making your camera selection.
3. Pay particular attention to camera placement, being mindful of the field of view, any obstructions that might prevent a clear of the target.
4. Be sure there is network connectivity available in the vicinity of where your camera will be placed.
5. Use surge protection with all outdoor cameras, especially in areas known for lightning.
“I’ve seen projects which didn’t use the proper shielded cabling for an external application,” Beaudry says.
“And if they do, they often forget about the grounding of the device, the grounding of the mounts, the bonding of the shielded cabling to make sure that that the whole line is protected from start to finish.”
Beaudry says it is best to always refer to the installation recommendations by the manufacturer.
6. Assure that the PoE power supply you use is adequate to the job; be sure to compute the power load before making a final choice.
7. Use a vandal-proof housing in areas prone to crime to assure the integrity of the camera.
8. Cat-6 UTP is always best, but Cat-5e should do an adequate job of handling most video transport needs which will save money.
9. Using fiber instead of metallic does have its advantages; foremost it allows you to run camera signals at greater distances and with greater bandwidth than metallic cable can provide.
10. Last but not least, use safe installation practices to assure that every installer goes home at the end of the day.
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