CCTV cameras have become an essential part of residential and commercial security systems. These cameras can be deployed separately, or integrated with other security solutions such as intruder alarm and access control. With analog camera systems becoming obsolete, consumers have no choice but to embrace the modern IP based security cameras. However, when the time to upgrade comes, individuals and businesses that had initially invested in analog camera systems might be confused, regarding the cabling network to use.

Understanding CCTV Security Camera Cabling

Analog CCTV Systems capture and transit raw video to either VCR recording devices, or DVRs for encoding and then storage. The type of wiring used for transmission of analog video is CoaxCCTV Cameras or Siamese cabling. On the other hand, IP surveillance systems use twisted pair cabling to transmit digital video signals. The IP CCTV cameras capture analog video, but convert it into digital format before transmission. Twisted pair cables can be either, unshielded (UTP) or shielded (STP). The most common types are Cat 5, Cat 5e, and Cat 6. The entire length of these 3 types of cabling comprises of 4 pairs of twisted wires.

Which type of cabling is ideal for CCTV Systems?

There are two major considerations when choosing the ideal CCTV cabling network, namely:

1. Quality vs. Cost

Cat 5 and Cat 6 cabling offer a high quality and low cost solution for implementing CCTV networks. The cost per foot for UTP cables is significantly lower than that of Coax/Siamese. In addition, modern IT infrastructure runs on Cat 5 and Cat 6 networks. For this reason, it becomes very easy to integrate IP surveillance systems into regular computer networks and thus, eliminates the need for establishing new network infrastructure.

2. Current vs. Future Needs

Coax or Siamese cabling has been the common choice for analog CCTV networks. However, the future is bleak for analog systems and as such, renders Coax/Siamese cabling obsolete. UTP cabling is designed to handle high bandwidth i.e. 100, 350, and 1000 Mbps for Cat 5, Cat 5e, and Cat 6 respectively. As such, the UTP networks are sufficient for both current and future security needs.


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