Business owners often look to surveillance cameras as a way to enhance safety, deter theft, optimize operations and improve employee performance.

But before you implement IP cameras, first consider their network implications to ensure optimal quality, security and performance. For some companies, a secondary network, used exclusively for the security system, can make certain that IP video bandwidth and storage requirements don't interfere with other critical systems on the primary network, like point-of-sale (POS).

Outlined below are the two major benefits of a secondary network for security.

Improved Bandwidth and System Performance

Bandwidth directly affects network performance. The more data that moves across the network, the more bandwidth you’ll need. Using too much, without proper network design and management, can cause systems to slow down, perform poorly or stop running altogether.

By isolating specialized and high-bandwidth applications, like your surveillance system, on their own network, you can prevent accidentally compromising critical system performance.

To keep your secondary network running smoothly, determine overall bandwidth needs, and then work backward to set up your infrastructure. Remember to calculate the traffic moving within the local area network (LAN) separately from the wide area network (WAN). These are typically very different, and it is the WAN calculation that will determine the requirements for your secondary Internet connection.

Be sure to plan for system expansion and network overhead too. Your connection should never be sized to match your calculations exactly, as actual connection speeds and network traffic may vary.

Assess desired end-user video quality by defining required:

  • Frame rate.
  • Resolution.
  • Video compression.

Then, use planning tools to view video performance at mock network settings to ensure quality standards and expectations will be met.

Remember, bandwidth usage can vary based on equipment, the degree to which cameras are accessed or recorded via the WAN, and the settings used to meet end-user requirements. Before purchasing equipment or installing anything on your network, speak with your vendor or IT team to evaluate your bandwidth needs against network capabilities.

Improved Network Security

By isolating security systems on their own network, you reduce the potential impact on primary business applications should an attacker breach your video platform. This works in the reverse as well, preventing access to the security systems from the primary network. As more Internet-enabled applications and smart devices are leveraged by your business, the need for this type of separation will only grow.

Although outside the scope of this post, it is important to recognize that a variety of methods exist to create separate networks without separate broadband connections. One example is the use of virtual local area networks (VLANs) that can be used to restrict data flow inside your network while accessing the same Internet connection. Work with your network engineer or managed services provider to develop the most effective plan for your business.

If you have questions about surveillance camera capabilities or network installation, seek professional assistance.

What are your business’ major network concerns? Share with us in the comments below.

Image Source: Steve Johnson