CCTV Articles

Network Switches


When building an IP Security Camera Network it can become very difficult when connecting the cameras with your existing network. If configured wrong it can have detrimental effects on your network. Things you can do to alleviate some of the stress on any network will be to add a Network Switch. Network Switches are devices to increase the amount of IP devices on your network. There are many types of switches that are out on the market that range from Layer 1 (your basic switch) to a Layer 7 that is highly managed. They also have different features that will allow your network to do things like multiple VLANs and POE (Power over Ethernet). Network switches can be a very important part of your network, and when adding Security Cameras will help you control the amount of bandwidth that is passed through the network.

Network Switches have been around since 1990 and were introduced by a company called Kalpana, which was the first Ethernet switch created. Network switches (also called switching hubs or bridging hubs) are networking devices that allow packet switching to be received and then forwarded to the appropriate device. This allows you to connect multiple devices to a network and and all of the packet data be delivered to all additional devices. This is important to security cameras because the more cameras you add the more switches you will need.

The quality of a network switch can be important based on how many cameras you have and how big your main network is. This is something to consider when choosing the appropriate switch. Your basic switch, Layer 1, is designed to be very simple when transferring data. It receives the packet from one device and then it sends the packet to all of the ports until it finds the correct port. This can cause what is called “Chatter” on your network and that can create bandwidth issues when all the ports are talking at once. It can also cause packet collision and packet loss. When dealing with large networks (50+ Devices) you want to avoid these switches to prevent those problems. Depending on how large your main network is this switch is ideal for up to a 32 Camera IP camera system. The next step up is Layer 2 switching for more reliable data transfer. This layer allows the receiving packets coming into the switch to be labeled with the mac address it comes from and which device it wants to be transmitted to. This prevents much of the packet loss that you would normally see in Layer 1 switches. This layer can handle a much higher range of devices and with security cameras you can put as many as 100 cameras per port. You can add multiple layer 1 and/or layer 2 switches per port and still alleviate most if not all of the packet loss so you can achieve the 100 cameras per port. Again this is all based off what quality Layer 2 switch you purchase. The last layer I will talk about is Layer 3 switches which allow you to manage the devices at a hardware level. This layer does everything a Layer 2 does but with much more features that can balance data loads and can manage devices that are connected to it similar to what a router does. This is probably the best switch that you can buy for a security camera network to integrate with your existing network without having any bandwidth issues. If done right, you can achieve what you need out of your network just by deciding which switch you use.

Network Switches have many features that can benefit your security camera network. One of the first features that will benefit your system will be the POE (Power over Ethernet) function. This is not on every switch, but here at we sell a variety of POE switches. One example of a POE Switch is the 16 Port POE Switch. This is a very easy POE Switch to use. This feature allow you to power the camera via Ethernet cable. This is a major benefit when running wires for the security camera system. It allows for you to just run one cable to the camera which will save you time and money. This also helps you troubleshoot a cable problem just in case something is wrong. Most of our cameras support this feature, so this gives you a variety of options when it comes to cameras. The next feature is Load balancing (Layer 2 &3). This is a feature that is supported by our NVRs with 2 Ethernet ports. As long as the Network Switch supports this feature you can create a load balance when you have a lot of cameras and streams going in and out of the NVR. This is extremely important when you have over 64 cameras running at a high resolution and frame rate all being streamed to your NVR. Using this feature will allow you to connect multiple Ethernet cables to the same switch to have a 2x better performance. It will also come in handy when you have multiple clients streaming cameras from the NVR. The last feature I want to discuss is the VLAN function (Layer 2 & 3). This can be very useful when you want to split your main and security network but yet still have them communicate with each other. With VLANs that is possible. You can create multiple networks within the same switch and have them communicate with each other via Trunking. This also allows you to add more devices to your network then what is only normally possible with a layer 1 switch. Having all of these features can give you the upper hand when completing an install of security cameras.

Network Switches have many benefits and can contribute to a lot of advances to a network. With the possibility of managed switches that will give you better bandwidth results and features like POE which will save you time an money with installs. Spending the extra money on getting a better switch could save you in the long run and keep your network strong.

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