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How to migrate your client’s fibre optic analogue CCTV to IP CCTV (without replacing their fibre optic cable).

There is still a lot of legacy analogue CCTV systems out in the market with clients refusing to upgrade to an IP CCTV system because of the cost involved in updating the fibre optics is ridiculous!

With old analogue CCTV camera systems, only one fibre optic core was required to transmit a video signal from the camera to the recoder. The only time a second fibre optic core was required was if a CCTV pan/tilt/zoom camera was installed. Then one fibre optic core was used for the video signal, and a second fibre optic core was used for the pan/tilt/zoom control signal.

However, modern IP CCTV cameras require two-way-communication as the IP camera is essential a mini-networked-computer. The simplest way of upgrading a the to IP is to replace the existing video transmission with ethernet media converters, and this is where the problem starts.

Ethernet media converters need two fibre optic fibre cores, and most installations do not have additional fibre optic cores. In most cases, the second fibre optic core is only available where pan/tilt/zoom cameras were installed. Most installers and system integrators try to persuade their clients to install additional fibre optic cables. However, most of the time, the cost of these extra fibre optics cables exceeds the price proposed IP CCTV system.

Additionally, the client may bring to the attention of the system integrator that fibre optic cable has a life span of 60 years! And that they had installed fibre optics not only because of the cable distance between their cameras and recorders but also for the upgradability of their fibre optic infrastructure. It is at this point that the client refuses to upgrade to an IP CCTV system.

However, we have a solution available that will help you rescue your deal from this situation. Since 2010 we have had an ethernet media converter that only requires one fibre optic core per link. This product has been with us for so long that we thought most of the CCTV system integrators were aware of it. Sadly, this is not the case.

Last week one of our largest CCTV clients said he was so relieved to find this solution on our website and that he had been looking for such a solution for weeks. We have focused so intensely on new products, on lightning protection and load-shedding protection that we have not given established products any airtime!

So, let me explain how this single fibre optic core, ethernet media converter works. The principle is simple. All ethernet media converters need to transmit and receive network data. There is no way around this simple fact.

However, with our single fibre ethernet media converter instead of having a fibre core for transmitting and a fibre core for receiving, we use two different lights travelling down the same fibre optic core.

However, always it's that simple! We use a 1310nm infrared light wavelength for transmitting in one direction and a 1550nm infrared wavelength to communicate back.

There is just one small issue that I need to bring to your attention. Because we are transmitting in 1310nm, we need to receive the signal in 1310nm. Then when we communicate back in 1550nm, we need to receive that signal in 1550nm.

For this reason, we have an ethernet media converter labelled side-A and another labelled side-B. In short, a side-A unit can only communicate with a side-B unit. Therefore a side-A can't chat with a side-A, and a side-B can't communicate with another side-B.

I always recommend that system integrators keep all the side-A units at the camera end and all the side-B units at the control room end. This makes future maintenance easier.

We have single-fibre-core ethernet media converters available in multimode and single-mode. The multimode units can transmit up to 2km, and the single-mode devices can achieve a cable distance of 20km.

Now I always get asked if we can't do more, transmit more signals on multimode fibre optic cable? Although the name implies "multi", this is not the case with multimode fibre optics! Multimode and single-mode refer to the makeup of the fibre optic cable and how the light travels through the cable rather than how many signals one can place in the fibre optic cable.

Should you like a more detailed explanation of the differences between multimode and single-mode fibre optic cables. Please drop a comment on our social media platforms and will address this in one of my future posts.

For now, here are links to our single-fibre-optic ethernet media converters:

Single fibre 10/100M media converter for Multimode fibre, stand-alone.
Single fibre 10/100M media converter for Multimode fibre, card type.
Single fibre 10/100M media converter for Single-Mode fibre, stand-alone.
Single fibre 10/100M media converter for Single Mode fibre, card type.

Single fibre 10/100M media converter, stand-alone

Cheers for now,

P.S. Why are your electronics getting hammered by Eskom (and what to do about it)?

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