White Paper

Connecting it all together – Fiber Optics in Security & Surveillance Solutions
An executive briefing for chief security officers (CSOs), directors and managers on understanding the benefits and ways that fiber optics enhances the operation and business bottom line of your surveillance solutions.

Connecting it all together, Fiber Optics in Security & Surveillance Solutions — AnInfinova White Paper

With a transition from analog to digital video surveillance continuing, there remains a crucial requirement for reliable transmission of the video signal during today’s period of co-existence. With many legacy installations, it has been coaxial cable handling images from a camera to monitoring or recording or both. Coax has its limitations: restricted transmissiondistance, signal degradation over long cable runs, and interference, to name a few. Networking, digital and Internet Protocol (IP) have ushered in Cat 5/Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) cable and highspeed Ethernet, employing IP to carry the digitalized video images. In some installations, wireless transmission – radio frequency, microwave, WiFi and mesh nets – play a role. Most enterprise security videodesigns are not totally wireless. Instead, the technology is applied to meet certain geographic or operational challenges. When to Implement Fiber? And then there is fiber optic cabling with its interference immunity, better inherent security, robust cabling distances and huge bandwidth capability. Figure 1: Is it time to implement fiber optics for security video transmission? There are manyadvantages over traditional coaxial and IT-centric Cat 5/unshielded twisted pair wiring. As before, we’ll look over the shoulders of CSO Terry Jones and Helena Smith, his second-incommand, who work for a mid-sized enterprise, as they now face the decisions and intricacies involved in selecting fiber optics and better understand its advantages, installation and – most importantly – bottom line businessbenefits. This white paper, in an industry service series by Infinova spotlights the means of video transmission, with emphasis on fiber optics. The first paper in this white paper series examined in an overview way the co-existence strategy at the foundation of a cost-effective move from analog to digital security video. That white paper also covered the impact on infrastructure including sharingthe enterprise data network, bandwidth and compression/decompression schemes. A second white paper explored cameras – analog to IP-based as well as megapixel and high definition. Both previous white papers are available for download at

Author Mark S. Wilson Vice President, Marketing Infinova


Connecting it all together, Fiber Optics in Security & Surveillance Solutions —An Infinova White Paper

Getting back to video signal transmission, there are differences among transmission methods. Security end users, their designers, integrators and installers must consider and balance the methods with the needed functionality of cameras in light of: • Maximum cable run distances • Power requirements • Installation issues • Installation time • Quality of video •Integration with other systems • Cost Coaxial cabling has for years been the traditional transmission method of video surveillance traffic. The presence of a coax BNC connector on most every security camera underlines this traditional method for signal transmission. Coax Can’t Go the Distance The most common coax cable is RG-59U. It provides what many believe is an acceptable quality video path from acamera to the head end out to 750 feet. That’s because the maximum recommended distance between an analog security camera and a digital video recorder, head-end or monitor is that 750 ft. When it comes to power to the camera, many installations employ so-called Siamese cable — a single RG-59U wedded to an attached 18/2 cable for both power and video. Still, some distances will increase voltage…