On The Job
How new devices are helping security network installers get on and off job sites faster
- By Dennis Troxel
- May 01, 2018
The adoption of IP-based video surveillance cameras is
driving the growth of the overall video surveillance market.
More than 98 million IP cameras were sold in 2017,
according to industry analyst IHS Market. These cameras
run on Ethernet networks, which means, in many
cases, scrapping old network cabling and installing new copper or
fiber network cabling. IP network cable distances and jack terminations
are age-old cable installer problems that can make network installations
take longer than anticipated.
These problems are exacerbated by the increasing use of PoE,
which has its own installation and operational rules that need to be
considered by the installer. PoE has had a big impact on security network
installer’s lives by making it much easier and more cost effective
to connect multiple types of remote network devices to the network.
The simplicity to connect and power Wi-Fi access points, security
cameras, biometric readers, and other remotely located devices is a
However, installing these systems presents management challenges
as their inconvenient remote locations make access difficult
and exacerbates common network cabling challenges. Device Management
System (DMS) helps to change this by providing management
of powered devices that are connected to PoE+ switches. DMS
is similar to the universally used SNMP network management standard,
in that it is not vendor proprietary, but does provide unique
management of connected network devices that is complementary to
other management systems.
DMS helps installers solve a different set of network problems,
- Cable length too long for PoE: PoE performance can be impacted
if the total direct current (DC) resistance in the cable is too high
resulting in a significant power drop for cables that are too long,
or where the cable quality is poor.
- Cable breaks/kinks: Cable installation or handling can result in
cable breaks or kinks that can impact Ethernet connectivity and
- Cable jack termination: An unreliable connection in a jack can
disrupt both Ethernet and PoE by reducing the current to insufficient
- Network mapping: Creating the map of the just-installed network,
including documenting the device IP and MAC addresses is a significant,
manual effort that can mandate extra effort and hours.
EVOLUTION OF DEVICE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
DMS may not be well known, but it is not new; it has been a component
of VMS for years. VMS are used in medium to large security and
video surveillance camera installations to manage the video viewing,
access and storage of large numbers of video feeds. DMS was created
to manage the IP-connected cameras. Now, PoE+ switch suppliers are
implementing just the DMS technology in their switches to provide
installation benefits as well as ongoing management benefits for security
The DMS capabilities and diagnostics enable the switches to provide
valuable information for diagnosing problems and resolving
simple issues like resetting power to remote devices. DMS functionality
is built into a PoE switch and is viewed via a web browser. There
are no changes required for the powered devices.
The key features of DMS include:
Configuration and device management. Once installed, the
DMS will automatically discover all IP addressable PDs attached to
a switch and display these devices in either a topology view, a floor
view, or in a geographic view using Google Maps.
Most DMS systems include the ability to configure a device, including
specifying the device type, name, MAC and IP address, and
understanding how much power is being consumed. The installer
can easily log into the device management interface to access device-
specific configuration functions. This enables the installer to
use a single tool to configure a wide range of powered devices. Some
advanced features include setting operating hours, which turns off
the PoE power for equipment that doesn’t need to run during nonbusiness
Troubleshooting. With DMS, the installer can perform a simple
reboot or power-cycle of a camera in the ceiling or other remote location
without the need for a ladder or other equipment. A standard
diagnostic capability includes Auto Power Reset (APR), which enables
the remote rebooting of a non-responsive or malfunctioning
device. Other common troubleshooting features include diagnosing
cable status and device alive or device connectivity status as well as
automated alarms for critical outages. This last feature is critical in
security camera applications because if a camera malfunctions, loses
a connection or is without power, it’s crucial to know where the problem
is located as soon as possible to mitigate safety and security risks.
Traffic monitoring. Traffic monitoring adds value to network
planning and provides another means of spotting abnormal traffic
levels that could indicate a malware infection. For installers, this isn’t
the highest priority, but it does provide value if the installation company
has contracted for ongoing maintenance. Typical traffic monitoring
features include tracking packet counts with analysis that can
be performed by day and week as well as by port and device. Alarms
can also be set to signify abnormal traffic levels.
DMS is a valuable tool for installers, which dramatically simplifies
the network installation process for all PoE-based security networks.
But with DMS features being enabled in an increasing number
of PoE+ switches, this technology is more widely accessible and can
make PD installation significantly easier and more cost effective.
This article originally appeared in the May 2018 issue of Security Today.