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4 Ways to Connect Security IP Cameras with Fiber Optical Cable

As the increasing awareness of effective property protection, more and more people turn to surveillance systems for help. Security IP cameras are one of the popular devices.

Security camera system, also known as a video surveillance system, is the use of video cameras to transmit a signal to a specific place, on a limited set of monitors. Security IP cameras are often used for surveillance and applied in areas that may need monitoring such as banks, stores, and other areas where security is needed.

Making certain of how to connect is of great significance to make it work. Generally speaking, there are three methods for the connection of an IP camera, namely, copper wire, wireless and fiber optic cable. We will mainly focus on connecting ways by using fiber to settle down long distance IP camera deployment problems. If you are confronting a similar situation or interested in the connecting ways, please keep reading.

To begin with, let’s understand the value of a fiber optical system to figure out why to utilize fiber to connect to an IP camera.

Fiber optic transmission is faster than copper wire. As we know, the speed of a photon is faster than the speed of an electron, there is a huge inherent speed difference between them. It is easy for fiber optical systems to deliver 10G networks. The higher speed networks such as 40G, 100G, 400G are all employed in fiber optical transmission. The copper can deliver 10G network, but requires a very special cat7 cable. 

Attenuation is important in a video camera system, the video broadcast is the huge data stream. Fiber optic transmission is in less attenuation. The signal always decreases as the distance increases but the fiber optic cable can deliver lower attenuation which means that the transmission creates less signal loss. For example, if you want to deploy an IP camera over 100m, using fiber optic cable only causes 3% signal loss, while on the contrast, copper wire will lose 94% signal of the same distance.

Fiber optic cables are impervious to electromagnetic interference. Copper wire will produce electromagnetic currents that can interfere with other wires and wreak havoc on the network after improper installation. The passive signal (light) in a fiber optical system makes no contact with external connections and the power surges after lighting will not be absorbed by the fiber optical cable. That is why Fiber optic cables are more stable after deploying in the field, which eliminates frequent cable replacement.

Last but not least, since the fiber optical simply transmits the light in the system, which can prevent fire accidents since it doesn’t conduct electricity. What’s more, it proves higher security because tapping the data from light is more difficult than electrical copper.

However, fiber optical cable does have some downsides, such as it is more difficult to be managed during the installation. As it is the fiberglass inside the cable, simple will break the cable. All the fiber optical cable has limitations. The fiber optical cable employs the light to transmit the data, all the connections need to be precise. The Ethernet cable connector can be made with crimped tools easily, the fiber connection requires special tools or craftsmanship to manually join two fiber cables in the field. Small deviations could cause mass light loss in the system.

The fiber optical link is suitable for long term operating. Once the link is set up, it can be used for years without extra maintenance. Therefore, it is a relatively good tool used to connect security IP cameras, especially in the long distance deployment. 

Now, let’s get to the point. In the following, we will demonstrate 4 main ways to connect IP cameras with fiber cable.

1. Use a pair of media converters

The media converter converts the electric signal to fiber optical signal or versed, so the camera’s video can be transported over the fiber cable. Two media converters are needed at both sides to build the fiber link.

Usually, there are two terminal ports with a converter – RJ45 and SFP fiber port. Like convenient Ethernet ports, RJ45 is linked to security cameras or the main network. The two fiber ports are linked together by using the fiber cable. The fiber cable distance between camera and the main network can be 80km.

How to choose fiber cable and which connector to use depends on the SFP module installed in the media converter. The SFP module is the critical component in the media converter which generates the optical light. The single mode fiber cables are suitable for security cameras as the distance can be totally longer than multimode fiber. The SC and LC are two types of connectors. The SC connector is a little about two sizes bigger than the LC connector. If you decide to make the fiber connection manually, SC connector is the right choice. LC connection has to be processed by using  tools.

In the media converter solutions the power needs to be dealt with separately. Both camera and media converters require power source, unlike the copper connection which can employ PoE technology to transmit both power and data over simple Ethernet cable. The fiber optical technology simply transmits the light which can’t carry the electricity.

2. Fiber with copper wire

The second way is to replace the front media converter with fiber PoE extender which can be considered one special type of media converter. Except for converting the video stream to fiber signal, the extender also provides the PoE to remote IP cameras. As the media converters accept power input range from 12V DC to 48V DC, the power supply unit can be moved to the back if the AC power source is not present at the front end. In case, two copper wire or composite fiber can be employed to send the DC power such as DC 48V. The maximum distance between the power supply and the camera is 2.5km. Besides, the outdoor environment could be harsh, especially the summer when the sunshine is cooking the enclosure. So all the media converters, SFP modules and the extenders need to bear the wide temperature range. The industrial hardened grade products will be used for this outdoor application.

3. Fiber PoE Switch and a media converter

If there are several security IP cameras gathered around in the area, fiber PoE switch is the handy tool. The fiber PoE switch has multiple PoE ports which can take in more than one security IP camera, supplying both data and power over Ethernet cable. Instead of wiring each fiber optical cable to each security IP camera, one fiber link is enough between the media converter and the fiber PoE switch. The connectivity between the fiber PoE switch and the camera stays with convenient Ethernet cable. Thanks to PoE technology, the power sources are eliminated, and with no need to be closed to each of the cameras. It simplifies the network design and saves the total cost. However, there is a controversial opinion with this solution. Some people still prefer independent fiber links between each IP camera, because the main network seems more reliable. One of the fiber links fails to work, which doesn’t affect the rest of the cameras. As long as the fiber PoE switch and the result of the components including Power supply unit, SFP module are the industrial hardened grade products, the Fiber PoE switch is still the reliable solution.

4. Fiber PoE Ring Network

Make an image of all the cameras being deployed straight on the street or cycle around the big area. The topology network infrastructure is inconvenient and complicated. The ring fiber network connects each other by using the fiber optical cable to create a daisy chain. You may ask what if one of the switches fails, all the cameras linked to that switch will be offline. The ring network has to deal with these issues. The first switch needs to connect the last switch to create the link. It creates the redundant path. If one of the switches fails, the network will reverse and take the opposite path to return to the main network. As the fiber is compact, the small wire can carry multiple strand fiber optic, it is easy to set up the straight fiber link with the returned strand in the same conductor. The fiber ring network needs a special fiber PoE switch. Simply connecting two switches with two fiber optical patches will break IEEE802.3 protocols. There is firmware inside the switch to determine which path directly transmits the data.

Using the fiber optical cable to connect security cameras is more easy than people expected after picking the right components. As the fiber employs light to transport the data, it requires less maintenance in future.

All ways mentioned above, hope to provide useful information for you. If you have any questions or confusion , welcome to leave a comment.


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