The current day IP surveillance cameras common in CCTV surveillance installations are the replacement to the analog that was coaxial cable based. The IP-based surveillance system involves plugging the cameras into an Ethernet Local Area Network (LAN). The benefits are definitely outstanding, ranging from simplified cabling to greater camera control. To enjoy the digital system and its numerous benefits in a surveillance security system, you must make the right choices as far as its configuration is concerned. Otherwise, it may present its own challenges that may be detrimental to your own security system. Here are some of the best practices and the main goals they should achieve.
Minimising data loss in an IP surveillance security system
Traditionally, the loss of data packets in an IP Network caused by a brief outage are recoverable events and although may be associated with a small loss in e-commerce websites, it is just but a small blip. The case is not the same with video a security surveillance system. Just a brief interruption at the wrong moment can result in failure to record the vital evidence that catches a criminal or failing to alert the security personnel to avert a crime. The core goal of CCTV surveillance installations is to provide 24/7 vigilance and therefore failure that leads to data loss must be avoided. To avoid this;
- Protect the switches from environmental or human harm by building a secure room for switching equipment. This can be up to 90m away from cameras
- Double up on data paths to avoid cabling failures. You can further reduce the risk in your surveillance security system by using resilient ring network design or aggregated links that follow separate paths from other systems like water, electricity or telephone lines.
- Double up on the power supply by using switching equipment that supports dual power supply units (PSUs). Power reticulation can be guarded against by connecting a switch’s two PSUs to independent power sources if available.
What can you do?
- Guard your surveillance security system against network storms. Note that packets endlessly storming around in circles can grind normal network operation to a halt. It is therefore essential to correctly configure the network using a robust ring resiliency protocol between the switches and spanning tree or loop at the edge.
- Treat the cameras in your surveillance security system with care. While CCTV surveillance installations call for a lot of physical care, the cameras call for more than that. The care here is taken not to overload the camera’s processors. If the cameras have the additional load of examining and processing unnecessary IP data coming into the network, it can lead to overload of the CPU, causing deterioration of the video quality. This can best be achieved by configuring the switches in your surveillance security system so they can only send the bare minimum packets to the cameras.
Maintaining security of the data
Video surveillance cameras are by necessity installed in publically accessible locations and are therefore exposed to vandalisation by motivated criminals. For instance, unplugging a camera and replacing it with a Wi-Fi access point, provides a criminal with the opportunity to steal data or launch DoS (Denial of Service). They can also create diversion or otherwise disrupt the surveillance network while a crime is being carried out. To save your surveillance security system from this, the switch ports that cameras are attached to should be accorded the highest level of protection through the following ways:
- Configure high-security authentication on all camera-connected ports. Switch ports should be set to never allow data exchange with connected a device unless it is provided with authentication credentials.
- Configure switches to send alarm messages if cameras are ever unplugged.
- Ensure that during CCTV surveillance installations, the ports which cameras have not been attached are shut down.
Data security and loss are key factors in a surveillance security system and care should be taken to avoid data loss and to protect the data from being tampered with. These steps will guarantee the integrity of the surveillance system in its design.
FLEXIBILITY OF A SECURITY SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM AND ITS FUTURE
Any IP video surveillance security system should be flexible and be able to integrate successfully with future developments. CCTV Surveillance installations become expensive and utterly ineffective if they cannot be adjusted to fit new developments like powerful cameras. The future of your surveillance security system therefore depends on two major factors; its flexibility and being future proof. To ensure that your system has the above, the following practices are vital.
Maximising flexibility of the IP surveillance security system
Networks need change over time. This change results from expansion, merging of organisations, evolving of services and many more. To ensure adaptability and easy rearrangement, the following tips are necessary.
- Use multicast instead of unicast to enjoy the flexibility on where to direct the data. Unicast, despite being simpler in set up, only allows data to be sent to one destination while multicast data is inherently capable of being delivered to multiple destinations
- Employ an intelligent network management framework. A flexible network must be able to roll out new features and new configurations across the network with minimum disruption. Performing network-wide tasks like upgrading software, improving security configuration or turning on new features can be problematic. Use of intelligent network management framework enables automation of network-wide tasks.
- Using a backbone design that supports multiple head-ends to enable easy disaster recovery that may call for 2 or more sites. Basing the network design on a resilient core ring, or a long distance clustered-switch backbone like VCStack-LD, facilitates a smooth integration of mirrored head-end locations.
Future proofing the network of your surveillance security system
It is better to have a network that is well positioned to take advantage of new technical advances. Even after CCTV surveillance installation, it is highly desirable to be able to take advantage of new camera capabilities as they arrive without needing to replace the data network ethernet infrastructure. This can be achieved by:
- Deploying PoE+ capability which has greatly simplified the process of installing video cameras. Once the data cable is in place, the camera can be installed and begin operation immediately without running a separate power feed to the camera. Original PoE standard provides up to 15 watts of power over an Ethernet cable.
- Don’t skimp on bandwidth- The resolution of the video images increases exponentially, the higher the resolution the more information human and electronic analysers have to work with. This implies high data rate and therefore it means that a future network needs plenty of bandwidth. It should therefore be provisioned to allow for up to 5-fold increase in bandwidth.
- Be ready for IPv6- most of the surveillance security system equipments are currently using IPv4 which is an old version of IP. However, as more of the applications related to IP video surveillance such as sending feeds to mobile devices are increasing, IPv6 will obviously be key. Most governments are already allowing the use of IPv6 in the public sector networking systems.
To summarise, some or all of these methods may be necessary to allow flexibility and adaptability within your IP surveillance network. This greatly depends on the scale, complexity and requirements of the assets being protected by the IP network surveillance system.
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