Gigabit mmWave essential for today’s HD video security systems
- By Alex Doorduyn
- Oct 06, 2020
Many of today’s video security systems feature
4K HD video to help human operators monitor
and react better, but also to provide the best
possible raw video data for the AI and machine
learning programs that are used to continuously
enhance operations. The transition from analog to IP and
multi-sensor cameras, often mounted on rooftops, light poles and
other “street furniture,” also is driving huge amounts of bandwidth
across these networks.
As fiber cannot connect everything, private companies, municipalities
and other public entities need Gigabit speed mmWave
wireless connectivity to make it work properly. Wireless has long
been used for security network operations, but today’s surveillance
and “interactive” requirements are outstripping the capabilities of
legacy systems, such as those operating in the 5 GHz bands.
Due to massive deployments of Wi-Fi, it is common to encounter
extremely high levels of “RF noise,” which is likely to
cause signal interruptions that result in video packet loss and
Therefore, operators are looking to extend fiber reach by using
the higher bands, such as the 60 GHz V-band and the 70/80 GHz
E-band, where the spectrum is essentially free of interference
(now and for the foreseeable future) and there is plenty of bandwidth
available. These two attributes combined create the perfect
conditions to establish the Gigabit-speed connections to support
these video requirements and illustrate once again how mmWave
and existing fiber plant complement each other very well.
THE FOUR PILLARS
In terms of network requirements, advanced analytics based
on AI is taking over the industry and it rests on four “pillars” in
order to work properly. First, the cameras themselves are moving
beyond pixels, with multi-sensor cameras increasing, and image
processing split between the cloud and “the edge” (where the
cameras are installed). Essentially, they are pushing the amount
of video information beyond what the human eye can see and the
brain can process.
Therefore, with AI-based analytic goals such as 95 percent or
better detection rates and a false positive ratio of only 1 in 25,000,
the three other pillars concern characteristics of the “feeds” or traf-
fic traversing the network. In terms of signal quality, video resolution
must be 1080P or better (as in the migration to 4K currently
underway) and frame rates are at a minimum of 30 FPS and will
soon be 60 FPS. As for transmission, zero packet loss is a must,
and jitter must be tightly controlled. Lastly, reliability or network
availability, must meet the “five 9s” standard at a minimum (which
is defined as “carrier grade”) and the protection from the elements
must meet the IP67 standard for outdoor operation.
Figure 1 shows the connectivity options for video surveillance.
The attributes and comparisons there are self-explanatory, but one
area might require a bit more explanation – the use of mmWave
in mobile 5G, aka “5G NR.” First, the 5G NR mmWave bands
do offer multi-Gig capacity, high-security and other benefits, but
they are not the same spectrum as the V- or E-bands. These bands
are licensed to mobile carriers and hence a security firm seeking
to use this technology has to sign up with the carrier -- and pay
carrier pricing. With data traffic from a single camera reaching
the Terabits per month range, monthly fees could be massive.
THE LICENSE FEE
Contrast this to V-Band where the spectrum is license free in
the United States and most countries. The E-Band is a lightly
licensed frequency in most countries and can be done online. The
license is generated quickly (within 24 hours typically) and the
cost is usually low,for instance, only $75 per link for a 10 year
license in the United States. Further, mmWave networks by their
very nature, such as transmission beams, coupled with advanced
encryption, ensure a secure network.
Network integrator firms who specialize in security, such
as Blue Violet Networks, have recently deployed V- or E-band
systems in settings such as large community colleges – large, for
example, in terms of enrollment (more than 20,000) and size (a
campus of 50 square acres or more). Community colleges do not
have on-campus housing, which means a lot of traffic (automobile,
bicycle, foot) transiting on and off.
Consequently, large parking lots and walking or bike paths to
academic and other buildings occupy a significant portion of the
campus space. This environment therefore presents a challenging
security situation in terms of monitoring those affiliated with the
college and those who are not.
In this case, the college (Irvine Valley College in California)
decided to install multi-sensor cameras on lamp posts in parking
lots and other common areas. The first phase called for 19
cameras, with a minimum connectivity requirement of 50 MBps
for each. Fiber was considered but the administration deemed its
deployment too disruptive and cost-prohibitive.
Other wireless technologies did not have sufficient aggregate
bandwidth and had too much interference in this suburban location.
Blue Violet Networks decided to install a network of 28
V-band radios, which would provide multi-Gigabit capacity. Including
associated power equipment and enclosures and a control
center installed in the “PD HQ,” the cost of this “fixed wireless”
installation generated a savings of more than $500,000, as compared
to a fiber or wireline approach.
The college then used this de facto savings to install 20 more
cameras and more than 40 mmWave radios to create “blanket” coverage
throughout the campus and enough “room” to accommodate
future bandwidth requirements(including public Wi-Fi hotspots).
Furthermore, these additional cameras and wireless
equipment were installed in less than four
weeks, as compared to an estimated four months
and many times the cost of using fiber alone.
This article originally appeared in the October 2020 issue of Security Today.