Wireless video-surveillance systems are today a common and reliable tool in security, safety and law enforcement. Most are based on IP and Ethernet radio technology and are designed to stream video from remote IP cameras through a wireless network operating either using license-free frequencies (900 MHz, 5.1 GHz, 5.4 GHz, 5.7 GHz, 5.8 GHz) or licensed frequencies (such as the 4.9 GHz public safety band).
Before IP video-surveillance became more mainstream, the use of wireless transmission technology was uncommon in video-surveillance projects. However, analog wireless transmission technologies for video were often unreliable, limited in performance and unable to deliver high-resolution video consistently. As soon as IP technology got traction in the video-surveillance industry, digital IP-based wireless technology became much more common; Industry professionals started looking seriously at wireless technologies as a viable transmission alternative, especially because trenching and wiring a site is expensive.
Wireless video-surveillance projects can use three alternative network architectures for their outdoor wireless video-surveillance systems:
Point-to-point wireless links are the simplest wireless network architecture. In a wireless video-surveillance deployment, point-to-point wireless links are used either in straight forward scenarios where two locations need to be connected to each other, such as when you have a remote camera in a parking lot that you’d like to connect to the main network of a building, or to backhaul a larger wireless network to the main control room site. Long-range point-to-point wireless links operating in the license-free spectrum (5.1 GHz, 5.4 GHz, 5.7 GHz, 5.8 GHz) are able to stream high-res video up to 10-15 miles away when there is clear line of sight between the two locations.
Point-to-multipoint wireless networks are used when there are multiple remote cameras that need to be connected to a central location. A directional wireless device, typically called a CPE, is installed next to each camera and then a radio base station with a sector antenna with a beam width between 90 and 120 degrees is installed on a high point, such as a tall building. This central wireless base station is then either directly connected to a wired network, such as a fiber backhaul, or it is connect to the head-end site with a long-range, point-to-point wireless link. The base station creates a sort of wireless canopy where each remote video surveillance camera can be connected to the network as long as it is within the range of this wireless canopy and in clear line of site with the base station that has established the wireless canopy.
Wireless Mesh Networks are the most reliable architecture for wireless video-surveillance because each wireless device in the mesh network is a router (often called a wireless node) capable of establishing wireless links with multiple devices and then selecting the optimal path to reach the head end. Mission-critical wireless video-surveillance systems often use the wireless mesh products because, by leveraging the multi-hop capabilities, each camera can act as a relay point and provide an alternative path to reach the control room in case there is any failure in the network.
Wireless video-surveillance (often called wireless CCTV) is very common today in large-scale, outdoor video-surveillance systems, where the costs of trenching and wiring the site can go through the roof. Municipal video-surveillance systems are good examples: Today, only a small portion of urban video surveillance deployments use wired solutions. Most cities lack a fiber network and using a wireless CCTV system reduces the deployment costs and makes the video surveillance system more flexible in case it requires changes or upgrades in the future.
Another segment of the market that often uses outdoor wireless video-surveillance are critical infrastructures. Projects to protect and secure critical infrastructure, such as airports, seaports and industrial plants, employ outdoor wireless technology to stream most of the perimeter cameras. In a large critical infrastructure site, perimeter security can be very complex because the distances involved are significant. For example, the perimeter of an airport or of an industrial port is usually tens of miles. Outdoor wireless video-surveillance can reduce the costs for perimeter security and protection by removing most of the costs relative to the wiring of the perimeter. Industrial sites use wireless CCTV not only for perimeter protection, but also because wireless transmission makes the video-surveillance system more flexible as the site can be subject to changes.
College and university campuses are another segment of the market where wireless video surveillance have become more and more common over the past few years. Although campuses tend to have more fiber infrastructure already in place, wireless links help to cover the last few hundred yards and allow for a straightforward installation and connection to the main fiber backbone. In many campus environments, the wireless network is then leveraged not only for the video security system but also to stream voice from call boxes, emergency phones and other public addressing equipment that enhance the security of the people on campus.
The availability of license-free frequencies (such as 5.8 GHz, 5.7 GHz and 5.4 GHz frequencies), and licensed frequencies specifically designed for public safety (such as 4.9 GHz), make outdoor wireless video surveillance systems a common solution that any systems integrator involved in large CCTV projects already has solid experience with. The transition that we’ve seen in the past decade from analog to IP video-surveillance reduced the barriers to delivering a wireless CCTV system with fiber-like performances. A reliable wireless transmission no longer means a compromised video resolution or frame rate compared to a fully wired and fiber-based solution.
Fluidmesh Networks has a product portfolio with multiples wireless devices and equipment to integrate the best wireless video-surveillance systems. Please contact us to discuss your needs with our Network Engineer who can support you free of charge in the design of your next indoor or outdoor wireless video-surveillance system.