When installing a new surveillance system, whether at home or for your business, there are many factors that need to be considered. Aside from choosing the proper security cameras, devices, and management software, security camera cables are important and often overlooked.
Security camera cables are crucial to your surveillance system as they are responsible for power and data transmission within your system. You will likely be upgrading your system from analog closed-circuit television (CCTV) to an Internet protocol (IP)-based system. Thanks to special parts called encoders, if you are only upgrading your legacy system, you can keep your analog cameras and coaxial cabling in place. The encoders convert the analog output of the camera for use by an IP-based security system.
Alternately, if you are upgrading to IP cameras and want to keep coaxial cable in place, you would need to install adapters at both the device and the switch (coaxial cable cannot handle the digital output of the cameras).
Encoders and adapters are merely affordable, short-term solutions. And because they introduce new points of failure, they can become costlier in the long run.
IP Camera Systems Cables
Upgrading your system includes your security camera cables as well. For IP-based systems, there are two choices: Ethernet (copper) cable or fiber optic (glass) cable.
Made from twisted copper wires, Ethernet cables carry data using an electrical current. Cat 5e is currently the most commonly used in home applications and can support speeds of up to 1,000 Megabits per second (Mbps) over 100 meters (m). Cat 6, 6a, 7, and 8 cables are more commonly used in business and data centers as they can handle larger data transfers, ranging from 10-40 Gigabits per second (Gbps).
Fiber Optic Cable
Fiber optic cables use light to send digital data along flexible, optically pure glass or plastic fibers that are about the width of a human hair and enable rapid movement of data. There are two types (single or multimode) which determine the speed and length of data transmission. The differences between the two types are significant and dictate how each is used.
Because it has a narrow core of optical glass surrounded by highly reflective cladding, single-mode fiber only carries data via a single mode of light (typically transmitted by laser). This allows for lower attenuation (data loss) over longer distances and, thus, is ideal for use in high bandwidth runs (ex. telecom and communications companies, college/university campuses).
Multimode fiber has a larger core, allowing several different light signals (more data) to pass through simultaneously. With a larger core comes narrower cladding, which results in more data attenuation. With that said, multimode fiber is better suited for shorter distances (ex. transmitting data and signals across a local area network).
Ethernet Vs. Fiber Optic Cables
Choosing between the two options will depend on your individual needs. Here’s a look at the strengths and weaknesses of each.
Data Handling, Speed & Distance
Usability, Safety & Security
While both Ethernet and fiber optic cables have their advantages and disadvantages, it really depends on your security needs. Have you chosen between the two? Share your experience with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
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