Make the Right Security Connection with Networked Solutions
By Maggie Wu
Product Line Manager, Belden Industrial IT
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The physical security market is undergoing rapid growth and evolution. Today’s sites now often include sophisticated, multifaceted IT-based systems, which have basic access control, as well as more advanced surveillance, biometrics and perimeter intrusion solutions.
Education has become one of the fastest growing markets for security as K-12 school districts, colleges and universities seek solutions that provide an extra layer of protection by melding video surveillance with access control. Other hot physical security markets include local government, public safety/law enforcement, transportation and healthcare.
In any of these sectors, there are several evolving security technology trends. Hybrid solutions are now popular. These solutions permit analog and digital video to be simultaneously transmitted over a single coaxial link. End users can derive maximum value from coaxial cable while affording the advantages of digital systems. Then, there is the tremendous migration from analog- to IP-based video surveillance and access control systems.
Utilizing this, from the video management side, there are also promising signs for cloud-based, as well as web-based, video surveillance systems that run video management software. These systems offer access to video from IP cameras via a secure connection to the Internet.
In addition, the increasing sophistication of digital video analytics enables security professionals to take a proactive, rather than forensic, approach to physical security design. A variety of analytical tools make sense of the collected video and process visual information to fit specific application needs.
Necessity of Networking Switches
To take advantage of most of these IP-based trends, switches have become a necessary part of the solution—and also a critical success or failure point. To ensure success, there are some unique requirements it is important to focus on.
First, the network equipment for physical security has to accommodate diverse environmental conditions. Much of this equipment will be placed outdoors; therefore, it needs to be designed with a hardened enclosure and be able to withstand high humidity and extreme temperature ranges.
Second, because most IP cameras are now powered by Power-over-Ethernet (PoE), the network switches need to come with extensive PoE capability and be flexible on port configuration. This will enable the switches to support a couple of cameras in a small deployment or many cameras in a high-density deployment. Because many security networks also cover a wide area, it is ideal for switches to offer many physical media types as well, including extensive fiber connections to reach long distances.
Finally, there are also key software features that are essential to IP-based security applications. These features include:
- VLAN for separation of video surveillance data from other network traffic
- QoS to prioritize certain video traffic over other non-mission-critical network communications.
- Network security such as 802.1x, port authentication, as well as access controls
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