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Building a PoE Security Camera System: Things Should Know

 We’re confident that the utility of video surveillance has been proved repeatedly over these decades. With the development of technology in the realm of security cameras, there are more options of video surveillance systems for home or business users out there.

For now, the novel PoE security camera system seems to be an irresistible trend to be prevailing in this modern era with desire of better surveillance performance, higher security level as well as ultra simplicity. Whereas building a PoE security camera system is most likely a daunting and costly task. In this post, we will explain what a PoE security camera system is and how it works, then explore how to choose best-suited equipment, and discuss a ton of things about system wiring and installment.

PoE Security Camera System Basics 

Certainly, we should go for the basics before diving headfirst into the world of PoE security camera system purchasing and installation.

What is PoE?

In the first place, it is essential to figure out the term of PoE. PoE stands for Power over Ethernet, which is an advanced technology to help streamline the complex of network system or network devices installation. It enables power to be carried over Ethernet cable, in other word, power and network can be transmitted simultaneously over the same cable.

The rise of PoE technology has also fueled the development of video surveillance. So to speak, the PoE security camera system is one of the creations utilizing PoE technology, or one of the most common and typical ones.

What is a PoE Security Camera System? And How does it Work?

A PoE security camera system, unlike other security cameras that are commonly used previously, such as analog CCTV system, IP surveillance system, it is a digital video surveillance taking advantage of PoE to provide numerous benefits. We will talk about this facet later below.

A PoE security camera system, evidenced by its name, is a video surveillance system that takes the PoE camera as the backbone for capturing video footage, combined with a video recording system, in this case, NVRs, which receives the streamed video for real-time viewing and stores the video footage locally or on the cloud. You are allowed to view through on premise monitors or remote mobile devices. The transmission of data and power can be solved over the same Ethernet cable as above-mentioned content pertaining to PoE technology.

Simply put, a PoE camera is the IP camera adopting PoE technology, and it is the digital camera that relies on Ethernet cable to transmit and receive data over its specific IP address. Virtually, the only difference between the PoE security camera and IP security camera system is how the security camera gets power, and this largely depends on whether the camera has PoE capability or not.

What are the Benefits of a PoE Security Camera System?

As stated earlier, using the PoE security camera system enables you to reap many benefits for system performance, installation, and security. Here we briefly summarize a couple of key benefits offered by PoE security camera system:

• Great Video Performance

PoE camera system is a sort of IP camera system, allowing you to get high quality images including much clearer details required. Moreover, PoE camera systems apply wired connection with less interference of physical elements, providing a stable connection for high definition video streaming.

• Easy and Flexible Installation

With the help of PoE, the security cameras can receive power through Ethernet cable with simple plug and play installation, that being said, there is no need for the home or business owners to consider whether there is a wall outlet present nearby the camera, giving tremendous flexibility to the placement of the cameras.

• Money and Time Saving

The PoE camera system only requires Ethernet cabling using one cable, so the cost and hassle to run a separate power cable can be saved, and there is no need to hire a professional electrician to deal with AC power.

• Superior Reliability

PoE is low voltage safe technology, therefore, the PoE camera system suffers less from dangerous AC current, and thanks to the PoE detection and other protective mechanisms, the users obtain reduced damages from issues like overloading, insufficient power, short-circuiting, etc. In addition, the power can be centrally placed and managed in the monitoring center.

What Equipment are Needed Besides PoE Security Cameras?

Apart from PoE security cameras, what else equipment or accessories are exactly needed? Basically, a typical PoE security camera system calls for the below listing components:

Router: A device mainly acts as the bridge for the camera system and the Internet. With its help, the users can view live video or receive alerts on their mobile devices remotely from any corners around the world.

PoE SwitchGenerating PoE networks for PoE cameras to function is one of its major jobs. It is a kind of networking device that helps route data to corresponding input and output within LAN for efficient performance and management. Sometimes PoE NVRs or PoE Injectors are the alternative.

NVR: A type of video recording device, is basically used for local video storage, useful video playback and live video viewing. It does better in almost every facet than its DVR counterpart with only one drawback——a bit more expensive.

Hard DrivesCritical accessories, work together with the NVR for video storage, the space of the hard drives determine the capacity of the camera system, that means the time can the video footage be stayed for  implementing playback before the video is overwritten.

DisplaysTools make videos being displayed on small or big screens for real-time monitoring. In most cases, the displays require compatibility to NVR’s video outputs, and VGA and HDMI are commonplace formats, except for the remote accessing via mobile devices.

Ethernet CablesA kind of network cables, such as Cat5e and Cat6, function as connecting all the network devices used in the system and achieving data or PoE transmission.

How to Choose the Best-suited PoE Security Camera System?

Now that you have made clear what should be put into your purchase listing for building a PoE security camera system. Paying closer attention to the selection is exceptionally important for attaining the best-suited products, aiming to reduce downtime, hassle and cost. Here we walk through a brief choosing guide to two crucial equipment, namely, PoE security cameras and video recorders.

1. PoE Security Cameras

As noted previously, PoE security cameras are key to the system, and in fact, PoE security cameras also come with various types and tremendous features offered, which ask you to do enough homework to go a long way towards the most appropriate options.

Types of Cameras

PoE security cameras give you a variety of options to meet different surveillance needs involving the monitoring range, viewing angle, working environment, and so on. Simple put, they are categorized into different types based on their differences from lenses, design, and functions.

Referring to the lens, PoE cameras are divided into fixed lens cameras and vari-focal lens cameras. With regard to the facet of design, bullet cameras, dome cameras, turret cameras, and PTZ cameras are commonly seen in the market and widely used in practical applications. Below is a chart concluding the features of these 4 different types of PoE cameras, which might help make decisions.

What Features Should Look For When Buying Cameras?

Choosing camera according to the surveillance needs and deployment environment is a necessity, but if you don’t have idea on what to look for about PoE cameras, we have several key factors or features that suggested to take into account below:

• High Resolution

It’s highly recommended to choose PoE cameras with high resolution, as it is the primary factor determining whether you can get a high quality image, which is clear enough to see the details required when being used for visual evidence. Cameras with 1080p, or high resolution like 2MP, 5MP, 4K cameras can best fit modern realistic applications. If budget limited, 2MP PoE cameras can suffice in most cases.

• Viewing Angle(Field of View)

Viewing angle, or Field of View, defines where the camera can see and monitor, impacting the monitoring range and the size of captured objects. The viewing angle depends on the lens of the camera, a larger scale generally calls for a wide viewing angle, containing more things but at a smaller size, while if you just want to monitor a specific point for obtaining more clear details by viewing at bigger size, cameras with a narrow viewing angle are more suitable. For common home and business surveillance, it is advisable to pick up cameras equipped with at least 110°.

• Night Vision

Night vision is a worth-including feature to look into, as we know, nighttime or dark places are crimes or affray prone preconditions for thieves or people with evil intentions. Cameras equipped with infrared LEDs allow continuous recording under low light conditions. Different cameras support different night vision ranges, which indicates the maximum distance for night vision to function effectively.

• Motion Detection

Motion detection is a useful feature offered by PoE cameras. Combined with the message alert function, you are able to receive push messages, emails or siren as long as any motion is detected by the camera, which enables you to act fast. And video with motions generally is highlighted in specific color to ease video playback when needed.

• Easy Integration

Since PoE cameras are produced by numerous brands, to avoid incompatibility issues, you’d better go for those that permit easy integration, such as cameras that support Onvif protocol, which tend to work together easily and safely.

2.  Video Recorders

Video recorders are meant to record video, you are opted to choose different types to meet different types of cameras. And the storage capacity also comes with a difference.

• NVR VS. DVR VS. Hybrid

Similar to security cameras, video recorders also experience evolution in these couple decades. From the initial DVRs(Digital Video Recorders), they are used for analog cameras, while the NVRs(Network Video Recorders), are made to work with IP cameras, certainly including PoE cameras, then there is a mediate version, called HVR(Hybrid DVR/NVR), can accept both analog cameras and IP cameras.

The selection is simple: pick up the one that works with PoE cameras, that is NVR and HVR. If you still have a few analog cameras to reuse, HVR is an option, but you should note that NVRs can accommodate more hard drives than HVRs, and there will be spare channels in idle if the analog cameras weeded out as time goes by.

• What to Focus on in Video Recorder Purchasing?

The purchasing of video recorders is much easier. Focus on the channels(can receive how many PoE cameras) and the maximum storage capacity(can accommodate how many hard drives). Then to look into the compatibility with your PoE cameras. In addition, you can consider whether you need some advanced features like dual LAN ports for video data backup, dual HDMI ports for corporate monitoring, motion detection for efficient surveillance, and so on.

How to Get Started with a PoE Security Camera System?

Next move forward to the essential part, where you might perceive what should do to get started with a PoE security camera system. After all, there is always a beginning to every end. Let’s take a look to get a nice opening.

Grasp Pricing and Make a Contrast

Building a PoE camera system definitely demands a large investment, thus, for the majority, saving money is the key. The foremost thing should figure out the general cost for building a PoE camera system. Considering that every system might differ from sizes and requirements, the pricing is not a thing carved in stone. Remember to do research on the Internet or ask the companies with which you plan to make a purchase, summarize an average price, then make contrast in line with your needs and budget, as a result, you might come out with the optimal answer easier and faster.

Design and Draw up a Plan

We know that building a PoE security camera is not as simple as people think, and this is largely contributed to this suggestion: know how to design and draw up your own plan. This can effectively refrain from disorder or even wrong implementation. Be aware of the actual areas that should be under covered and refine your unique needs, let alone design according to the budget.

DIY or Professional Installation

Having known that the PoE security camera system is relatively easier and safer to install, this gives a chance for people to prefer DIY. Think twice whether you can make the system accomplish as expected, then to decide if it is necessary to hire professional services. Certainly, difficulties and challenges can’t be blinked in the actual installation.

How to Get the PoE Security Camera System on the Network?

Go into depth, it is about how to get the PoE camera system on the existing or new network. And here what we mean most is get the system on the LAN, as LAN are used Ethernet cabling for data transmission. Actually, this work is not as complex as imagined. Frankly speaking, this simply demands a solution to generate PoE connection between the main network and the PoE cameras.

1. Determine What Hardware to Choose from

For the time being, I guess the majority of homes or businesses have applied routers or network switches to get networks for various network devices, like mobile phones, TVs, PCs, and so on. And such networking systems lack PoE capability, to add PoE to the link mainly turn to these three devices for assistance, namely PoE switches, PoE injectors, and PoE NVRs as well. Each comes with its pros and cons, you are supposed to make up your mind to the specific hardware.

PoE Switches are the most commonly used devices enabling PoE cameras to communicate with the main network. A PoE switch can simply be regarded as a network switch integrated PoE capability. As they generally equip more than 4 PoE ports(up to 48 ports), allowing multiple PoE cameras to be connected in one unit with one centralized power source, which is fast, convenient and cost-effective.

PoE injectors are suitable for IP camera systems requiring only one or two PoE or high power PoE++ ports. PoE injectors only equipped with one PoE out port, naturally only can supply one PoE camera. Some PTZ cameras that work in harsh environments or for business-critical applications may add heaters or sensors, and these cameras generally need high power PoE++ to function. Comparatively speaking, PoE++ injectors with 60W or 95W output power are more commonly seen in the market.

PoE NVR, a special creation to fit some small systems that only require a few PoE ports for connecting PoE cameras. It is the combination of a NVR and a PoE switch, and can meet the recording and networking needs at the same over a single equipment. Apart from its quite limited PoE ports, it also comes with higher cost on replacement, as one device takes the fate of two components.

2. Make Clear Whether a Managed Network is Needed

Think about whether a camera system requires a managed network to function also matters a lot, especially for businesses users. A managed network means the managers or owners have more control over the system. Basically, it allows the PoE camera system or specific cameras to work on a separate network, achieving more convenience management and greater performance. There are more advanced features that can come into reality when applying a PoE switch with managerial capability, the so-called managed PoE switch. If you just desire a plug and play system, then going for the unmanaged PoE switches is enough.

3. Keep These Additional Considerations in Mind

Although the process to get a PoE camera system on the network is straightforward. To ensure the networking process is accomplished in a proper and effective way, we still want you to take the following things under consideration.

• PoE Function and Standards

PoE devices, including PSE and PD, like PoE switches and PoE cameras are complied with PoE standards, including IEEE802.3af, IEEE802.3at, and IEEE802.3bt, which means how much power can be output or received. The standards of PoE switch and PoE cameras should be matched, otherwise, you probably encounter issues like incompatible connection, and insufficient power, etc

• Bandwidth Requirement

With regard to camera systems, bandwidth is a critical facet to pay additional attention, for the reason that bandwidth is used to estimate network speed. The larger bandwidth implies the faster video streaming speed and the more cameras can be handled over the link. Generally fast Ethernet(100Mbps) can satisfy most PoE camera systems, even those having 4K cameras contained. Gigabit Ethernet is a more conservative choice think ahead of the current needs.

• Long Distance Transmission

Another point should be noted is the distance between the PoE networking devices and PoE powered devices, for instance, PoE switch and PoE camera. PoE cabling can only reach a maximum of 100 meters(328ft.) because of power and signal loss. Therefore, if long distance transmission, beyond the limited range, you should find ways to break the limitation. You can read our previous post for further information.

• Connection Cable-Pure Copper Ethernet Cable

Don’t overlook the importance of choosing a high quality connection cable, not to mention its large volume in the system, because it not only impacts the video performance but also determines the cable use life. Use pure copper Ethernet cable, such as Cat5e, Cat6 or higher categories. They are made of rugged structure and experience less signal loss. Moreover, you might confront less maintenance hassle and cost, especially when the cable is buried underground.

PoE Security Camera System Installation Guidelines

The installation is the highlight of building a PoE camera system. We’ll get you covered with some helpful guidelines. The word does not say more, let’s check them out now.

Bench Test to All Equipment and Components

Before an actual implementation, gather and check the required material, then it is quite significant to do a bench test to all of them, simply or seriously, but never skip. In this way, having less chances to face the dilemma of hard work is in vain.

Implement Effective Camera Placement

The placement of cameras plays a distinctive role in surveillance effectiveness and performance. The cameras should mount high points to get a wider viewing. And remember to place adequate cameras at pivotal places, even where with high traffic, and don’t forget the relatively vulnerable parts, especially the secluded places. Besides, try to avoid pointing the cameras toward sunlight.

Ensure Correct Cabling and Wiring

The significance of a correct cabling and wiring is self-evident. Here we take how to build a PoE security camera with PoE switch as an example to demonstrate how to finish the cabling and wiring work properly. Here we assume that the system only requires Ethernet cables for connection.

The involved equipment and material: PoE switch; PoE cameras; NVR; Router; Ethernet Cables.

Firstly, let’s start with the PoE switch.

Power up the PoE switch by plugging the enclosed power supply into an AC wall outlet. Find the uplink port on the PoE switch, and connect it to the router’s LAN port with an Ethernet cable.

After that, you can add the PoE cameras to work with the PoE switch, which only need to connect them to PoE switch’s PoE ports respectively. You’d better connect one and configure one instead of putting them on at a time.

Next we will go to the NVR.

Similarly, power the NVR with the power supply that comes with it. Then connect one of the NVR’s LAN ports to the router’s LAN port or the spare uplink port on the PoE switch.

In general, the PoE cameras will be added to the NVR automatically, if the two equipment come from the same brand or adopt the same protocol. Otherwise, you can add the cameras to the NVR manually.

Lastly, we might finish with the displays(PC or other types of monitors).

Find and match the VGA or HDMI inputs and outputs of the display and NVR, and connect them with the corresponding cable. Power on the display, eventually, video will be displayed on the screen in real-time.

If you prefer remote access, then you don’t need this step, and only install a video management app and monitor via your mobile devices, like smartphones.

Take Protective Measures

Physical elements or deployment environments much or less influence the stability of the system. It’s imperative to take some protective measures to protect the system from damages caused by rain, wind, lightning and so on, especially the cables and cameras that are placed outdoors. Putting the cable in ducts, and adding surge protectors to the system are feasible measures.  

Post-Installation Tips

The installation seems to be the end of building the system, but actually, many people neglect to pay an extra care about post-installation once the system is in place, and this should not be underestimated. The following showed some tips that might give some help.

• Adjust the cameras’ lenses to get optimal viewing angle and performance.

• Configure the settings to activate the required advanced features like motion detection.

• You have the opportunity to take advantage of the cloud to achieve massive video storage and efficient video management.

• Verify the operation and performance of the system, once problems are found, they can be fixed timely before they go severe.

• Never skip on a regular maintenance on the system, or it will be late after losses occur. Check on the camera’s image quality and clean them if needed, and issue video playback to ensure the recording system works normally.

• Attach importance to periodical upgrades for your system so as to maintain its utility and effectiveness with certain repair or replacement.

How Fastcabling Can Help?

Fastcabling rooted in the video surveillance system over 10 years, along with a wealth of experience, supplies complete products including fixed, vari-focal, and PTZ cameras, NVRs, and various types of PoE networking devices, like PoE switches and PoE injectors.

Contact us today, you’ll get professional advice on building a PoE camera system and dedicated product recommendations.

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