Wireless Video Surveillance Flies Through Air With Greater Ease

Hear from subject matter experts on how far wireless video surveillance has progressed, plus the latest opportunities and overcoming common deployment hitches.

Once considered too tricky and unreliable for video surveillance applications, wireless technology continues to improve each and every year. Today wireless surveillance options are efficiently and cost-effectively addressing the exterior and perimeter protection needs across a range of markets, including schools and universities, critical infrastructure, refineries, sports arenas, and more.

The need to protect people and resources at these facilities is paramount but is often beyond the scope of traditional surveillance systems. Wireless surveillance enables cameras to be placed closer to the actual target for greater coverage, and they can be deployed and redeployed very rapidly. These systems can offer broader – and more targeted – outdoor protection without the added costs of trenching, cabling and permitting. Remote monitoring services and ongoing network system management and support are other benefits that campuses can obtain from some security technology vendors.

Security Sales & Integration, CS’ sister publication spoke with a handful of leading wireless technology and value-added service providers to get the latest on this trend. They convey the progress being made with wireless platforms, the cost savings involved, as well as deployment challenges.

Wireless Continues to Advance

Throughout the history of wireless data, technologists have endeavored to make signals go farther and carry more data. The journey has been fraught with pitfalls, to say the least. Today, though, wireless is more robust and reliable than ever with systems now capable of transmitting data greater distances and within more difficult environments, including outdoor terrains and industrial sites.

Next-generation wireless cameras use a proprietary wireless protocol to more efficiently transfer high-bandwidth video over the air. These powerful devices allow data from a central networking hub to be communicated over 900MHz, while the 2.4GHz band transfers the stream of video data.

“Modern wireless devices are also much less subject to interference than their predecessors,” says Dave Tynan, vice president of global marketing and sales for San Diego-based MicroPower Technologies, a provider of wireless solar-powered surveillance systems. “Today’s wireless systems are designed to reliably maintain a connection across the transmitter and receiver, and continue operating efficiently even when there are other RF devices nearby.”

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Wireless for use in video surveillance applications is often mistaken as the Wi-Fi technology that allows users to check E-mail at the coffee shop, Tynan says. Wireless is better understood when the variety of wireless transmission options is suited for application. There are as many versions of wireless as there are applications. For instance, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) wireless systems are now routinely used to monitor industrial process, power generation and transmission, oil and gas pipeline performance, and even civil defense siren systems.

“These are all mission critical, and can utilize satellite [VSAT], licensed and unlicensed radio, cellular and microwave,” he says. “Wireless mesh is utilized when dynamic high bandwidth is required over a specific coverage area. Line-of-sight wireless allows a concentrated signal to be transmitted and has the benefit of avoiding stray RF frequencies that may exist.”

Wireless got a lift earlier this year with the FCC 14-30 rule. The release introduced the FCC’s increase in availability of spectrum for high-speed, high-capacity wireless and other unlicensed uses in the 5GHz band, explains Matt Nelson, CEO for Madison, Ala.-based AvaLAN Wireless Systems.

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