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Connecting your CCTV cameras

Video Surveillance Systems Buyers' Guide

There are two fundamental ways of connecting up your CCTV cameras: with and without wires.

Wired CCTV Systems

There are three varieties of wire:

  • Coaxial
    The most popular cabling for CCTV systems is coaxial. This is the type of cable that connects television equipment such as DVD players in the majority of homes. When you have cameras mounted some distance from your recorder and monitor, check with the supplier to ensure the coaxial cable is suitable and won't impair the quality of the pictures.
  • UTP (unshielded twisted pair)
    If you're concerned that other electrical devices may affect your CCTV system, ask your supplier about UTP cabling.

A lot of computer networks use UTP cables to reduce potential electrical interference. You can also combine UTP and coaxial cables if necessary with a balun connector.

  • Fibre optic
    Fibre optic is the best option for sophisticated CCTV systems because the bandwidth allows one cable to carry a large number of signals. It's also hard for someone to hack into a fibre optic CCTV system by tapping into the wire. This makes fibre optic cable the preferred choice of organisations such as banks.
Wireless CCTV Systems

Wireless CCTV is increasingly popular for the likes of baby monitors and other basic domestic uses but has still some way to go to gain the full confidence of the security industry. The problem is that Bluetooth technology, microwave ovens, mobile phones and other wireless equipment such as computer routers interrupt the CCTV wireless frequencies. Plus a good quality CCTV camera cannot run on batteries and needs an electrical connection anyway.

You may have a circumstance where a wireless connection is feasible, perhaps because there are few sources of interference in the area and there are electrical connections already in place that you can use for the cameras. In such instances, it's certainly worth asking a supplier with experience of wireless CCTV to conduct a survey.

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