Why switches matter when it comes to CCTV

Why switches matter when it comes to CCTV

According to one estimate, the global video surveillance market is set to grow at a rate of 15.4%, reaching $106.98 billion by 2026. Most of these new video surveillance systems will be based on IP networking technology, with small clusters of cameras being powered by PoE network switches.

We all understand that market research can only ever estimate the future potential, but this is clearly a good opportunity. And when you add in the network integration, installation and other product requirements, it begins to look very big indeed.

Heightened awareness

Heightened awareness of the effectiveness of CCTV is one of the key drivers for the growth of this market. But it is also being driven by advances in IP cameras, networking and storage technology making it much more viable and affordable.

The cameras themselves are now capable of providing very high quality video recording, and most come with pan, zoom and tilt (PZT) capability. They are motion sensitive too, so they can detect movement on a watched area or premises and follow and record whoever or whatever is moving around. There are cameras with night vision capability as well.

Storage resources have become much more affordable. If public cloud storage is used there are theoretically no limits to the amount of high-quality video that can be captured and held. In practice through, most services will retain footage only for a fixed period – unless the customer pays for it to be kept for an extended time.

Designed for surveillance

Networking technology has also improved. Power over Ethernet (PoE) has become much more advanced and a higher power budget – which may be needed to run several advanced IP cameras – can now be provided on a single switch. Both wired and wireless networks now support much higher bandwidth, so running video across the network, even if the cameras are recording 24-hours a day, will not be a problem.

Provided, that is, you have the right switch installed. This is a vitally important consideration, but one that’s (surprisingly) often overlooked.

Most switches on the market today are designed as general-purpose network switches that are focused on delivering connectivity for office applications. But the CCTV industry needs a more focused approach to tackle features that are tailored for the surveillance market, which are often not found or are overly complicated to configure on a generic switch.

For example, they might not be able to support IP cameras that are situated more than around 100 meters away. While this won’t always be an issue, in some cases it will mean a second switch or signal repeater will be needed.

The switch will need to provide a sufficient PoE budget to support all the connected devices. Some IP cameras will draw more than the usual wattage that is made available on a PoE port.

Management capabilities may also be important. If an IP camera fails, the administrator may not know about it until they try to view images or footage – and by that time, it may be too late. It’s useful then if the switch itself can not only pick-up when a camera has stopped working, but also try to re-boot it automatically to reduce outage time, engineering time and any site visits that can be rectified by simply rebooting the camera.

A big opportunity

Zyxel sees CCTV as a big opportunity over the next few years and this is why we have produced the first ever switches designed specifically for use with IP-based surveillance.

The GS1300 and GS1350 switches can provide an extended range of up to 250 meters for PoE-driven cameras – and support bandwidth of up to 10Mbps, which is more than sufficient to support 1080p video. They also provide generous power budgets supporting 30W PoE per port (802.3at), which can meet the higher wattage that more advanced cameras may need, and make optimum use of the total power available by delivering it dynamically.

We have designed these switches to be tailored to exactly what installers of IP-based CCTV have been asking for. We see this range of switches as another success story in Zyxel’s ongoing commitment to create networking that works for our clients.

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