When it comes to today’s video surveillance, capturing real-time, high definition video images is the easy part; getting that video to a command center is where the real challenge lies.

Today’s high definition video cameras require ultra-high bandwidth, and streaming video – often from dozens of these cameras – can tax network backhaul performance.

Wireless video-surveillance systems are today a common and reliable tool in security, safety and law enforcement. Most are based on IP and Ethernet radio technology and are designed to stream video from remote IP cameras through a wireless network operating either using license-free frequencies (5GHz, 23GHz, 60GHz) or licensed frequencies.

Before IP video-surveillance became more mainstream, the use of wireless transmission technology was uncommon in video-surveillance projects. However, analog wireless transmission technologies for video were often unreliable, limited in performance and unable to deliver high-resolution video consistently. As soon as IP technology got traction in the video-surveillance industry, digital IP-based wireless technology became much more common; Industry professionals began examining wireless technologies as a viable transmission alternative, at least partly due to the fact that trenching and wiring a site is expensive.

There are network architecture variations to consider when considering which type of wireless infrastructure is best suited for your needs. Wireless video-surveillance projects can use two alternative network architectures for their outdoor wireless video-surveillance systems:

  • Point-to-Point Wireless Links
  • Point-to-Multipoint Wireless Networks

Point-to-point wireless links are the simplest wireless network architecture. In a wireless video-surveillance deployment, point-to-point wireless links are used either in straight forward scenarios where two locations need to be connected to each other, such as when you have a remote camera in a parking lot that you’d like to connect to the main network of a building, or to backhaul a larger wireless network to the main control room site. Long-range point-to-point wireless links operating in the license-free spectrum (5.1 GHz, 5.4 GHz, 5.7 GHz, 5.8 GHz) are able to stream high-resolution video up to a mile away when there is clear line of sight between the two locations.

Point-to-multipoint wireless networks are used when there are multiple remote cameras that need to be connected to a central location. A directional wireless device, typically called a CPE, is installed next to each camera and then a radio base station with a sector antenna with a beam width between 90 and 120 degrees is installed on a high point, such as a tall building. This central wireless base station is then either directly connected to a wired network, such as a fiber backhaul, or it is connected to the head-end site with a long-range, point-to-point wireless link. The base station creates a sort of wireless canopy where each remote video surveillance camera can be connected to the network as long as it is within the range of this wireless canopy and in clear line of site with the base station that has established the wireless canopy.

A wireless connectivity expert can help you determine which approach suits your needs best and design and deploy the right solution. Joe Curreri is a Senior Solutions Architect with 20 years of wireless communications and networking experience. For additional information or to request a needs assessment, contact him at [email protected].