System administrators often have to look for innovative solutions for managing bandwidth when it comes to establishing IP video networks to accommodate your business video surveillance system. Because digital video can place a high demand on network resources, you have to do some careful planning to maintain expected service delivery standards, especially in larger facilities where you’ve deployed a formidable number of cameras.
Fortunately, there are a number of solutions available that can simplify the bandwidth requirements of remote video monitoring without compromising security or coverage. One of the most promising is moving from a unicast-type IP video network system to a multicast model. You can greatly reduce bandwidth requirements by avoiding direct, concurrent connections between IP cameras and workstations or recording systems requesting video feeds. A multicast IP video surveillance system relies instead on multiple users viewing a streaming copy of a single digital feed. In this type of setup, requiring the use of multicast-enabled routers and switches as well as video sources capable of interacting with this equipment, bandwidth demand remains static no matter how many requests are made to view the same video stream.
Multistreaming takes multicasting a step further by introducing IP video network cameras that can generate more than one video stream, each varying in terms of quality. By integrating with a video management system that’s capable of properly managing this type of business video surveillance system, security administrators can tailor the quality, and hence, the amount of bandwidth consumed by a particular video stream to best match it to the end user who will be viewing it. This can allow the same IP camera to offer a high definition video stream to onsite monitors while at the same time sending a lower resolution, reduced bandwidth stream to someone viewing live at a remote location. The ability to generate flexible quality video streams on the fly is also very useful when managing a tiled, multi-screen monitoring station.
For situations where bandwidth is truly at a premium, IP video network engineers may want to consider systems where storing video surveillance footage locally is used to circumvent taxing a larger corporate network with unnecessary digital video transmissions during peak hours. If you don’t need to monitor the video in real time, i.e., if you’re using video surveillance to manage the security of inventory or track quality processes, then storing the footage on a local network share rather than enabling unicast or multicast transmission in real time could be the way to go. This video can then be retrieved on an as-needed basis so you can search for evidence when you’re investigating a specific issue.