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How to Power Long Distance Security IP Cameras

IP camera(Internet Protocol camera)is differ from analog CCTV cameras. It is a type of digital video camera that receives data and sends video streams via the Internet. The IP cameras are generally applied in the areas where security is needed, mainly used for surveillance purposes. There are various types of IP cameras including WiFi IP camera, wired IP camera, and webcams.

Today, we will talk about how to power long distance wired IP cameras. If the distance between the monitoring center (e.g. switch) and the deployment location is beyond 100 meter, supplying power could be an issue in such a long distance. The power will sharp down as the distance increases to a certain extent, which results in the insufficient power voltage to supply the front end IP cameras.

There are several practical ways to deal with long distance power for security IP cameras. If the AC power is presented closed to cameras, the power adaptor can provide the power to the camera. In this case, only the data transmission needs to be concerned. While the power is difficult to acquire, you will need to send the power from the monitoring center or somewhere far from the cameras. Several ways can be employed to get the job done. The most common solution is the Power over Ethernet (PoE)

Firstly let’s understand what PoE is. PoE(Power over Ethernet) is a new technology that transmits data and power simultaneously along with a twisted ethernet cable for up to 100 meters. The power source equipment such as PoE switch or PoE injector will add the power to Ethernet cable and send it to the remote IP camera. As mentioned above, IP cameras differ from analog CCTV cameras. One of the advantages of an IP camera is that it can be powered through the ethernet cable and operate without a dedicated power adapter. The PoE was developed according to the TCP/IP network, the maximum distance is still 100 meters. In order to transmit the power and data beyond 100 meters, extra devices will be needed.

Majority of IP cameras require a central network video recorder (NVR) to handle the recording, video and alarm management. IP cameras encode and process the video data, then stream it to the NVR recorder which is used for storage and remote viewing. PoE NVR can be considered as a video recorder integrated with PoE switch, it can transmit data and power through one ethernet cable for 100 meters, plus the distance between PoE NVR and back-end switch, the total distance increased to 200 meters. What to do is to move the PoE NVR closed to the camera in order to obtain the extra distance. The downside of this solution is monitoring may need to move along with the NVR.

  • PoE extender

If moving the NVR is not possible, PoE extender is a handy tool. PoE extender is a kind of device which is used to extend the distance of cable in order to repeat data and power to powered devices. In this way, the distance of powering the IP camera is in a maximum of 500 meters by utilizing daisy chain set-up, that is you can use up to 4 units of extender to deal with long distance power supply issues. It is flexible to meet the demand of different distances. If the IP camera deploys outdoors, some protective tools are better to be prepared. The cable needs a tube to protect in the harsh environments and although there are waterproof extenders, using a closure is a good protection for future maintenance, especially when it is buried under the ground in case of moisture. Cat5e and Cat6 cable are two types of Ethernet cable for common use. You are supposed to choose one with a pure copper cable to avoid voltage drop problems.

  • Fiber PoE extender

If the distance is longer than 500 meters, or fast speed and low latency are required for your security IP cameras. The fiber optical is the right way to choose. Fiber optic cabling is an effective method to overcome the distance and bandwidth limitations of ethernet cable. What you need is one fiber PoE extender and two media converters deployed at two sides separately. These two devices allow you to set up the fiber link network. As the fiber optical simply employs the light to transport data, there is no way to add the power to fiber optical cable. The practical solution is to add a pair of copper conductors or use siamese fiber cable which has integrated copper cable to transmit the power in parallel. Now the power supply units can move to the back-end or far away from your camera. While choosing the right copper cable, the maximum power distance can reach 2.5km. As we mentioned, the voltage is always the number one issue for long distance power transmission. The power will convert to heat and lose inline. The well-designed fiber PoE extender can boost up the voltage to meet standard PoE requirement.

While there are multiple IP cameras closed to an area, using fiber PoE extenders may involve a higher cost, as each camera needs an independent fiber link and fiber PoE extender. The hardened fiber PoE switch is capable of providing multiple PoE ports for the IP cameras. As the power consumption is larger for multiple IP cameras, the power supply units have to be closer to the hardened fiber PoE switch, because of voltage drop limitations. Unlike the single fiber PoE extender which can move PSU 2.5km behind, the PSU only can stay 800-500 meters far. As the Hardened fiber PoE switch supply standard IEEE802.3af/at PoE, there is still 100 meters extra copper distance between the switch to the cameras which means all the cameras around 100 meters can be gathered together to the hardened fiber PoE switch.

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