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Security Camera Cables – The Different Types

What are the different types of cabling options for security cameras and how are they different?

Here at we offer three different types of security camera cables to connect your surveillance cameras to your security camera system. Finding the correct wiring method for your needs can be a bit tricky because each of these options has their own strengths and weaknesses. The three different cabling options that you can use for your security camera installation are prefabricated plug and play cable, CAT5 cable with baluns and Siamese cable. When you are installing your own security camera system most of the work takes place when you are running the cables from your cameras to where your DVR is located, so it’s nice to know that you have the type of cable that works best for you and the environment of the installation. That way you won’t have to do this work twice. This article will take a closer look at all of these options of security camera cables and help provide you with the information that you need to make this decision.

The first cabling option that we are going to take a look it are the pre-made plug and play cables. These cables are available in 25, 50, 100 and 150 foot lengths. They all have the connectors for both video and power already connected. You can even get them with a third connector at each end that will allow them to transmit audio signal, if you are planning to install microphones near where you are install a security camera. All you have to do is plug them in to the proper places (camera, DVR and power supply) and then they are ready to transmit the video signal to your DVR. This type of cable is the least expensive and the easiest to work with since it is all ready to be installed when you get them.
The down side of the plug and play cables is that they don’t offer the highest quality of video and power transmission. These cables aren’t able to consistently transmit these signals any further than 150 feet, which is why that is the maximum length of them that we sell.


The second type of security camera cables that we offer our customers is CAT5 cable. This type of cable is the same type that is used in most homes so that you can access the Internet. When they are used in a security camera installation with analog cameras they will need to be used in conjunction with small adapters, called baluns, which are connected to each end of the cables. After the baluns are connected to each end of the CAT5 cable, one balun will be connected to the security camera and the balun at the other end of the cable will be connected to the DVR and power supply. These cables transmit video and power signal better then plug and play cables, giving you a higher quality of video and allowing you to have more distance between your DVR and security cameras. The maximum distance that these cables can carry video and power is 300 feet. If you are able to bring power to a security camera from a source near where it is mounted, then these CAT5 cables can carry the video signal up to 1,500 feet. This cabling solution is also fairly inexpensive. This is the type of cable that you must use if you are installing IP cameras. The baluns are not needed with IP cameras because these cables will go directly in the camera at one and into a switch or router at the other end. When you are installing this type of camera it is also possible to run the power and video over a single CAT5 cable with the use of a power supply, if you are connecting the camera to a POE (Power Over Ethernet) switch. If you aren’t using a POE switch with these cameras then you will have to power the cameras in another way, by pulling a second wire from a power supply to the camera.

The downside of using CAT5 cable is that it is more susceptible to interference then some of the other types of cables you can use for your security cameras, but the sources of this interference is known and can be avoided. This interference is caused by running the CAT5 cables near high voltage devices or fluorescent lighting fixtures. If you are running CAT5 from your surveillance camera to your DVR, just make sure to keep the wires as far from these types of devices as possible.


The third type of cable that you can use for your security cameras is called Siamese cable. It is actually two different types of cables that connected, side by side, by a tough outer plastic insulation. One of these cables is called RG59 and the other is referred to as 18/2 wire. The RG59 is a specific type of coaxial cable and it is used to transmit the video signal from the security camera to the DVR. The 18/2 wire is actually two separate 18-gauge wires and they are used to transmit power from a power supply to the surveillance camera. These two combined cables let you bring power and video to your cameras by just pulling one cable. This is the type of cable that is used by most professional surveillance camera installation companies. Siamese cable has the capability to transmit power and video with less inference and voltage drop than the other two types of cables that have been previously discussed in this article. This means that the distance that you can transmit power and video through this cable is slightly higher than you can with CAT5. You can also transmit just the video signal a slightly longer distance than CAT5 if you are able to provide power to the camera from a source closer to where it has been mounted.


Hopefully this article has provided you with enough information to help you to decide which of these options will work best for your security camera system installation. There are many possible variables that can affect this decision. If you are concerned that the circumstances of your install might not have been addressed in this article, please contact our knowledgeable sales department and they will definitely be able to help you make this decision.

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