3 Tips for Installing Security and Surveillance Cameras

August 14, 2014 at 10:00 AM




Do you need to put your business or network under tight security?


Installing security and surveillance cameras has become more important than ever before. Malicious persons are getting even smarter, causing a greater need for multiple layers of security (we talked about this in a recent post- How Secure is Your Data Center).


Some individuals are installing cameras in their homes, others in their businesses, or some even to monitor empty lots.


While a trusted and professional installer is always your best bet, here are three significant things to consider if you’ll be installing security cameras on your own. 




1.    1. Get the Right Camera


You have a lot of options today for the camera you select. Commercial grade security cameras are generally broken up into CCTV cameras that use a coaxial video cable to connect to the recording device, and IP cameras, which use either wired or wireless Ethernet signals.


Regardless of which method you use, be aware that you will also need power for the camera. So even if it is “wireless” camera, a power cable may still be needed at the installation site.


Lucky for you, there also exists All-in-One Kit DVR Surveillance Systems that come with everything you will need to get your system up and running right away. 


Here’s a short video to guide you through the setup and installation of an all-in-one kit. Note that if you purchase a kit with an existing hard drive, you can just skip over that step. 




1.    2. Consider using Power-over-Ethernet


Because cameras are often installed in out-of-the-way locations, plugging them into a power outlet is often a problem. If there is no outlet nearby, you would need either a long (and sometimes obtrusive) power cable, or a licensed electrician would need to put one in for you.


A good solution to this problem is to provide the power via an Ethernet cable using Power-over-Ethernet (PoE). PoE devices vary, but in general you will need an injector at the power source. The Ethernet cable plugs into the PoE injector, and the power travels along the cable to the camera. 


Many cameras today are PoE ready and can accept power from any 802.3af standard device with no need for a separate power cable. However, if they do need a separate power cable, you will generally need to install a PoE midspan or "tap" near the camera to separate the power out of the Ethernet cable so it can be used.


Click here for a free short PoE overview, OR here for an in-depth PoE Whitepaper




2.    3. Lightning Protection is a Must


Any electronic device that is on the edge of a structure, either indoor or outdoor (and especially if there is conductive cabling attached to it), is at risk for lightning damage. Even an indirect lightning strike can destroy electrical equipment costing thousands of dollars. Because of this, we highly recommend a
simple and replaceable lightning protector on each end of every cable that links to a camera. Even if a direct strike destroys a camera, lightning protectors will save you from damage to anything that is connected to the camera (even PoE Ethernet lines)


L-com stocks a wide variety of lightning protectors for nearly every cabling application. Your options include coaxial video protectors (used in CCTV lines), category-rated PoE protectors (used in IP and PoE lines), and PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) camera lightning protectors that include individual protection circuits for the analog video line, the RS485 control line, and the AC/DC power lines.



Typical LAN Structured Cabling: The Basics

January 16, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Keeping it neat

Typical LAN Structured Cabling Setup

We know things can get messy in your commercial building when installing any sort of cabling system. Many cabling systems require a full wiring closet or server room including racks, panels, patch cords, lightning protectors, routers, switches, and media converters. All of which is supported by a staff of IT professionals. 


Phew. That’s a lot to manage. And having Internet access in a commercial building is no longer just an option. It is a must.


Even if you are doing most of your file sharing and other network activities in the cloud, you can't get by without the basic cabling linking your office to an ISP. 


So what’s the solution? A Structured Cabling System, which is the cabling, connectors and accessories that make up the Local Area Network (LAN) inside a building.  At a minimum, this consists of a modem, router/network switch and Ethernet cabling. 



Here's the trick

Often you need something more complex than just a computer connected to the Internet.  That means you'll need an Ethernet router to handle internal network addressing, securing resources and providing a connection to the Wide Area Network (WAN).  You will also most likely require Ethernet switches to distribute traffic to many computers and servers in your LAN. 

Typical Ethernet Cable with RJ45 ConnectorSince routers and switches can't work alone, you will require Ethernet cabling- possibly a lot of it.  And when you have a lot of cabling, things can get even messier. Try out these high-quality right-angle Ethernet patch cables along with cable management rack panels to keep your area neat and organized. 


With all the different cables going to different systems, its obvious things can get confusing. We suggest color coding your network too. Check out our wide range of colors for Ethernet cables, here. If you specify that a certain color cable carries a certain signal type (such as phone or network traffic), you ensure that everyone who works on your network wiring can visually identify critical connections before they are disconnected.


As your network grows, you also need your structured cabling system to be scalable.  One good way to do this is to employ a well organized rack layout and utilize good cable management practices. This will make future growth easier to manage within your server room. Plan for future expansion by also including blank filler panels between patching sections in a rack and between network switching/routing equipment.


Around the building, set up plenty of user access points by terminating a minimum of two network ports per office workspace.  Installing keystone jacks in aesthetically pleasing wall plates or surface mount boxes will give an office space a finished look.

Typical Enclosure Setup with power, lightning protection, and networking productsFor remote and secure locations, use enclosures to house both wired and wireless equipment. To power these products, install Power over Ethernet (PoE) injectors and splitters that will eliminate the need for complicated electrical re-wiring. If the location is too far for traditional Ethernet wiring (about 100 meters and further), consider setting up a fiber optic link using commercial or industrial grade media converters

Finally, never forget the importance of lightning protection.  Electrical surges can occur anywhere with devastating effects on expensive and critical equipment. Nearly anything that carries an electrical current is vulnerable. 


Need more tips? Click here for our Telecom/Modular (Premise Wiring) tutorial page. 


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