How to upscale a video surveillance system

The growth of a business gives evidence of the quality of product, trust of the clientele and reliability of the company. However, the new opportunities often require larger premises, followed by the need to enhance the internal systems and lines of communications, one of them being the video surveillance.

The upscaling of a video surveillance system implies connecting new cameras. It becomes necessary when the business grows physically: additional offices are being rented, new production and storage facilities appear, new stores or offices are being opened. The specialists of Macroscop recommend to foresee this scenario and prepare accordingly.

“When creating a video surveillance system, we recommend to make provisions for the future enhancement at the design stage. Experience has shown that the minimal planning timeframe is six months, and the maximum one – three years. It will allow to select the appropriate equipment during the first stages of work and avoid any extra expenses in the future”, says Denis Lazarev, Head of the Macroscop Technical Support Department.

In respect to building a CCTV system at a new facility, Macroscop recommends to create a dedicated network. This is due to the fact that the cameras will generate significant traffic that in isolated cases could hamper the operation of other applications using the same network. 

 

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In case new cameras are needed for the existing video surveillance system, it is necessary to check if the base equipment of the system is capable of managing the increased load. 

1.    Power supply of the cameras.

The first thing that requires attention when creating an upscalable video surveillance system is the power supply for the cameras. If the devices are powered by the AC mains, it is required to consider peak loads appearing when the cameras are switched on, especially when they are located far from the power source. At the stage of designing the power supply network, it is advisable to make provisions for the future upscaling, selecting the adequate cable and circuit breaker sizes.

If the cameras use POE, it is imperative to calculate the power budget. When choosing the network equipment with POE technology, it is recommended to pay attention to the total power budget and the number of supported POE ports. For example, there are switches whose ports support 802.3af POE standard with the maximum power capacity of 15.4 W, but, taking into consideration the total power budget for the switch, the power will only be enough for just some of the ports out of the whole quantity of those.

Let us also point out that the maximum power received by a POE consumer is just 12,9 W out of 15.4 W maximum capacity of the POE power source. For POE+ it is 30 W for the source and 25.5 W for the consumer.

  1. 2.     Network transmission capacity 

    When designing the network and calculating the throughput of its elements, it is required to consider the traffic of all the elements of the system, such as cameras, servers, clients and other equipment. This calculation can be made with the help of the Macroscop Calculator

 

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The Macroscop Calculator allows to estimate the server and the client ends’ traffic separately, that is why their traffic must be taken into consideration cumulatively, based on the system topology. It is also worth pointing out that the network traffic is not just the one that goes from the cameras to the server, but the one that goes from the server to the client, too. There is also service traffic between the servers, as well as the traffic from the client to the server; however, it shall only be taken into consideration in case of narrow channels. In other calculations it can be ignored.

Let us point out that when calculating network traffic, the calculator outputs average values that may differ from the real ones. Because of that, Macroscop recommends to consider a margin of around 15 - 30% to the required throughput, plus a provision for the system upscaling in the future.

Already at the stage of launching the system, it is possible to compare the calculated data with the actual one directly in the Macroscop software. When using Enterprise or Ultra licenses, the network card load can be looked up via Macroscop Monitoring. When using other licenses, the network card load can be checked using the standard Windows tools (Task Manager).

It is convenient to use the diagnostics data directly when upscaling the system, when it is possible to precisely calculate the remaining throughput margin. Macroscop also allows to indirectly evaluate the quality of network operation using the in-built diagnostics. 

  1. 3.    Server computing capacity
     
    The server computing capacity requirements grow together with the number of cameras since the computing power is needed for processing additional data. The computing capacity depends on the CPU, RAM and GPU. When designing the system that will be enhanced in the future, it is recommended to install the servers with the corresponding power margin.

 

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For the convenience of upscaling the video surveillance systems, the Macroscop developers have created the floating license technology. It allows to distribute the cameras among the servers in a flexible way in order to disperse the load. At that, the user only needs one protection key. For example, when upscaling the system with some of the servers with a power margin, a required number of channels and modules must be purchased, the license must be updated on the single protection key, and the new channels must be distributed among the selected servers.

The Macroscop software allows to upscale the video surveillance system quite easily even without a floating license: it is possible to add new servers to the existing system configuration. However, in such a case it will be required to buy additional channels and modules for each new server.

If the user plans to add new features and intelligent modules to the video surveillance system, it will be strategically appropriate to equip the server with a video card. The graphics accelerator is required for the operation of neural networks the face recognition, work time logging and other modules are based on. 

  1. 4.    Archive storage 

The archive storage arrangement must also be borne in mind. The storage capacity is calculated on the basis of the required periods of the storage of information. In most systems, the video archive is stored during one month. 
 
The storage capacity can be calculated using the Macroscop Calculator. It estimates not only the volume of storage, but also the total velocity of recording to disk. This parameter must be obligatorily considered when designing local or network storage. It is worth mentioning that this parameter is calculated in megabytes per second, and it must be converted to megabits per second when calculating traffic to the storage.

Moreover, Macroscop recommends leaving 5% of the storage space free. If a drive contains several disks, the free space shall be left on every one of them. It will be required for recording system files. 

5.    Computing power of clients

After upscaling the video surveillance system, the operator will probably want to view the images from a large number of cameras. To achieve this, sometimes it is not enough to install a new display. It is recommended to check the performance of the workstation in advance. To do that, one can use the Macroscop Calculator.

Surely, it is more convenient to control the viewing of the images from the cameras from a single workstation. For this end, Macroscop offers a possibility to arrange a videowall without having to use any additional devices. This solution allows to control various client computers from a single workstation.

 

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Thus, the level of complexity and the cost of upscaling a video surveillance system largely depend on its original configuration. Competent designing and selection of the equipment and the type of Macroscop license with due consideration for the future requirements will help to minimize the corresponding costs. It remains pertinent both when adding more cameras and when enhancing the system’s functionality.