PoE – The Key To Network Efficiency

June 2, 2009
The Altronix NetWay allows users to maximize their current investment in IP video surveillance systems, and allows system designers to take full advantage of the network platform.

There’s no doubt that networked systems provide tremendous advantages over legacy systems built on aging analog technologies. When you stop to think about it, networking is really not “new” news, as IT networks proliferated years ago, and impact our everyday lives. Just think about how long ago you first heard someone tell you that “the system is down,” which resulted in some delay of service you thought would take minutes to accomplish. In retrospect, you were a casualty of some form of network failure.

It has taken a few years, but the inherent benefits of networked systems have finally migrated to the professional security industry as a result of technology influencers from both business and consumer driven technologies. Initial network applications in the access control space were easiest and fastest to implement as bandwidth requirements for access data was not really an issue impacting network infrastructure – unlike bandwidth hungry high resolution streaming video. But as a result of today’s improved video compression like MPEG-4 and now H.264 and vastly expanded bandwidth pipelines, the professional security industry is rapidly changing its mindset relative to IP video.

When evaluating the overall benefits of moving video from an analog to network platform, several attributes immediately come to mind – with scalability, flexibility, high performance and cost-efficiency being those most commonly sited across industry lines. A common technology driver supporting these attributes deals with the transmission of video, control and data signals along with Power over the Ethernet (PoE) via CAT-5 or higher structured cable. Although every integrated video and security system is in some way unique, the ability to modify a system’s configuration along any point on the network by simply plugging in an edge device has tremendous advantages. One of the keys to realizing the full potential of the network model is the ability to deliver PoE, eliminating the need for localized power for edge devices, as well as the associated costs of these additional components and their installation.

PoE products started appearing on the market soon after IP compliant network cameras became available a few years ago. But there have been issues with PoE delivery systems to date – perhaps the biggest being the lack of a viable solution designed to accommodate network IP video camera systems that are not PoE compliant. Two other significant PoE issues to be addressed deal with developing a PoE solution for power hungry PTZ cameras, and delivering reliable power over long distances. These design objectives were tantamount for Altronix’s product development and engineering team. The challenge was not to simply provide a PoE solution that delivered power and data over structured cable. The challenge was to do it the right way.

At Altronix, we’ve been working closely with leading technology solution providers across the industry to develop a networking power solution that fulfills the specific and diversified needs of our customers along with emerging technologies. Altronix’s technique of delivering clean and consistent power over structured cable along with bidirectional data, and the ability to deploy cameras anywhere on the network by simply plugging in an Ethernet connection has tremendous cost saving implications.

At the recent ISC West show, Altronix launched its new NetWay mid-span PoE solution with great feedback from show attendees. NetWay allows users to maximize their current investment in IP video surveillance systems, and allows system designers to take full advantage of the network platform.

NetWay achieves four critical PoE objectives:

1. Delivers power and passes data to PoE compliant IP edge devices (video and access devices) from a single centralized source

2. Delivers power and passes data to non-PoE compliant IP edge devices

3. Delivers power and passes data to IP video PTZ cameras and access control and locking devices

4. Complies with IEEE 802.3af – the proposed PoE standard

NetWay delivers greater functionality and efficiency for IP video systems in 8 and 16 port configurations with reliable and consistent power designed for standard network infrastructure. The units feature plug-and-play installation, along with automatic detection and protection of non-PoE cameras/devices, port status LEDs, and 15.4W maximum full power per port. Altronix’s new NetWay line also includes a single-port midspan injector, repeaters to extend the range up to a max of over 1969 feet (in increments of 328 feet per extender), and 15 and 30-watt adapters for conventional fixed or PTZ cameras. Since NetWay can also be used for access control and locking systems, it provides a total network security PoE solution.

The NetWay8 midspan PoE product provides eight PoE-compliant camera ports in a 1U rack-mount chassis. Two ports are selectable for 30W to accommodate high-current PTZ IP cameras using the NetWay3012 adapter for each camera port. The NetWay16 midspan PoE product provides 16 PoE-compliant ports with four ports selectable to 30W using NetWay3012 adapters.

The NetWay1 single port midspan injector offers a single PoE-compliant camera port and PoE shutdown option. The NetWayXT repeater extends range 328 feet for each unit deployed. The NetWay1512 adapter enables compatibility with non-PoE compliant IP cameras, and the NetWay3012 adapter supplies 30W to accommodate high-current IP cameras, including PTZs.

These innovative new NetWay products deliver the functionality and capabilities that industry professionals need to realize the full benefits of system operation on a networked platform. We are also already developing the next generation of PoE products including end-point solutions that will include additional functionality based on the specific needs of the security industry.

There’s no doubt that IP video surveillance and security systems are the future of the industry with a record number of new installations slated for 2009. We believe the development of solutions like NetWay from Altronix will further accelerate this trend by delivering greater efficiencies across every scale of measure.