What will involve in a 4K video surveillance shift?

Surveillance industry which has transformed from analog to IP surveillance in the past 5 years is witnessing a new shift towards 4K surveillance these days. Industry analysts feel that the new industry shift will probably catch up sooner than what the IP surveillance achieved in recent years. Reason–demand for high quality images to detect events and identify what happened during those events has picked up throughout the world, especially, after Brussels airport terror attacks.

As said above, 4K offers four times the resolution as 1080p HD, giving the user better image quality to detect events and identify what happened during those events. However, there are drawbacks- failures to adequately plan and design your network infrastructure and storage systems will significantly impact its effectiveness.

In the past year there have been numerous 4K video cameras introduced to the market, and the security industry is showing an increased interest in this technology. In many instances, businesses are still adopting HD technology and making the leap to 4K at the same time.

For system designers, the task on installing a 4K camera goes in the following way- HD cameras require four times the storage and bandwidth as a legacy 480TVL camera, and a 4K camera requires four times the storage and bandwidth as an HD camera. The math is simple, but the planning is not so easy and straightforward. A lot of focus has to be made on the some peripheral equipment like-

Data switches- Adding 4K cameras to a video system network could put a lot of strain on the existing connection interface. And that’s due to the fact that much of our data networks are legacy 100Mbps networks designed for computing data, not for video streaming. Normal user data is called bursty and that’s because data is sent in bursts and then is low until the next burst. Data switches for user data have buffer memory built in so that if it receives more data than it can process at one time, it can store the data until it catches up. But if video streams are processed into the network, then if data is sent more than required to a switch, then it cannot catch up much. It also doesn’t have the ability to cache massive video streams. As a result data packets gets lost or dropped and in some cases, switch gets locked up until it is rebooted. To understand it further, let us take below two scenarios-

Example 1- Take ten in number 20-megapixel cameras sending at 3.5 Fps, requiring about 112Mbps of bandwidth. If these cameras are connected to a 100Mbps switch it will quickly overload the switch

Example 2- There are two 100Mbps switches that have five 20MP cameras apiece. This would require about 56Mbps per switch and the switch should operate accordingly. But if these two switches connect back to a central switch and if that switch doesn’t have enough processing power, then it will suffer same fate as in the first instance.

Apart from the above said, there are several things to consider when choosing a switch besides the individual port speed. First, where will be the switch located? Is this a core switch or a field switch? Does it have the option of connecting to a fiber? What is the switching capacity and buffer size? Does it support QOS and VLAN?

Server/NVR- If Server/NVRs aren’t designed correctly, they will not be able to support and record at the levels needed to process the 4K or even the HD video. Things like bus speed and read-write speed on hard drives will affect how many video cameras can be supported and recorded on a single machine

Storage space- These days all new video surveillance systems have 350 to 600 cameras, with many incorporating 5-MP and higher resolution cameras. But with High MP cameras on board, the need for video storage also grows immensely. Also, we must also consider the data retention laws prevailing in the state. With 90 days of storage and the space requirements adding up quickly to accommodate the greater resolution, it can easily reach into the Petabytes range. So, if you are planning to adopt 4K resolution cameras into your surveillance system, then better plan to have high capacity video storage in place.

Power and cooling- When we go for a bigger video system, lot of servers, switches, and storage arrays have to be included. These take power to operate, air conditioning to keep cool and UPS products to keep them operational if the power were to go out. Planning for the power load, UPS load and cooling load is just as important to plan for as for the server, switches and storage design. The fastest servers and switches will not work without adequate power or proper cooling.

HD and particularly 4K video raise the bar on the level of image quality you can offer customers. But its implementation also impacts the rest of the installation chain (and costs to customers). For effective operation, a well thought-out system must take into account the bigger picture beyond just the cameras.

DNF Security can help you further in 4K camera adoption into your surveillance projects.

Just call 510.265.1122 or click on DNF Security contacts page to know more.


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