Wireless Camera Systems
All the details you could possibly want about wireless CCTV
One of the biggest barriers to installing CCTV for lambing and calving is having to run cables. Normal CCTV systems require you to run cables from each camera back to a central recorder box. This is both very inconvenient and expensive to do on a farm, where trenches would have to be dug and ducts installed to pull the cables through. You may also have to dig up roads and get around other major obstructions.
Contrary to many CCTV companies opinions’, it is absolutely possible to reliably connect CCTV cameras together wirelessly without any issues. On this page we hope to explain how it works and answer some of the most common questions.
The wireless is used to connect buildings together.
Cables are used within buildings to go between cameras, the transmitter and the power supply.
The transmitters are fully waterproof and can be mounted externally where they can get the best line of sight of each other.
There is no real limit how many transmitters can exist on a system or indeed how many cameras can be connected to a transmitter. The theoretical limit is around 100 cameras per ‘master’ transmitter.
The transmitters are not affected by rain, wind, snow or hail. The picture quality is always perfect – the connection is an ‘all or nothing’ type affair unlike archaic analogue systems.
How far? What if there is something in the way?
The most common question we get asked is ‘how far can the wireless go’. The unhelpful answer to this question is ‘it depends’. The main factor that will influence how far they can go is is whether you have a direct ‘line of sight’ to the transmitter at the other end of the link. If you have a good line of sight the standard transmitters should be able to achieve 2km or more.
If you don’t have a line of sight, the wireless can still work but it will be over a much shorter distance. Typically, we find that under 100 metres it doesn’t really matter what is in the way – the wireless will bounce around and connect anyway. If the distance is between say 100 metres and 500 metres, and there are a couple of shed rooves or similar in the way, there is a high likelihood it will still work but the only real way to prove it is to try it and see what happens. You have got relatively little to lose at this stage.
The line of sight can very often be improved by mounting the transmitters as high as possible on the buildings, or even mounting them on a pole that sticks up from the gable end. On your house the chimney is normally the highest point.
No line of sight
If there is a no chance of a line of sight between the two buildings, it may be possible to dog-leg the signal off another building with an extra transmitter, or use 2 pairs of transmitters and create the link in two separate hops similar to the below diagrams.
In order to learn what is required to do this, please scroll down.
Point to Multipoint (PtMP)
How do multiple transmitters talk to each other?
In order to know how you can connect more than two transmitters together, it is necessary to understand the basic principle behind how the transmitters talk to each other.
- Each transmitter is configured as either a ‘master’ or a ‘slave’. There can only be one ‘master’ per ‘channel’.
- There can be multiple ‘slaves’ per ‘channel’, talking to the same AP.
- It makes no difference which way round the ‘master’ and the ‘slave’ is mounted. The ‘slave’ can be mounted on your house and the ‘master on a shed or vice versa. Once they have connected together, they can both pass data bidirectionally between themselves.
- ‘Masters’ and ‘slaves’ on different ‘channels’ will not talk to each other but can coexist in the same area. For instance you can have two ‘masters’ mounted on the same chimney of a house, pointed in different directions.
- The standard AgriCamera wireless transmitters has a beam angle of around 60 degrees. This means that the transmitter does not have to be directly aligned with another one, and makes it possible for ‘slaves’ to talk to a single ‘master’.
The middle diagram above would be an example of a typical dogleg configuration. The ‘master’ transmitter would be plugged in on it’s own at the middle of the link, talking to the clients on either side.
The right hand diagram above could also be a dogleg configuration, but this time with a pair of transmitters mounted at the middle of the link. This would be used if it was not possible to get a line of sight with just three transmitters.
Our transmitters run in the 2.4Ghz spectrum. The reason for this is that 2.4Ghz is much more effective at penetrating through obstacles compared to higher frequencies. The main advantage of higher frequencies is that they are less susceptible to interference, but in a typical farm environment frequency congestion is rarely an issue.
The transmitters are powered and receive data over the same cable. The transmitters run at the same voltage as our cameras so it is very easy to connect them up with our Weatherproof Power Supplies.
The transmitters run custom software that we have built ourselves. This means that they are super easy to install and configure. Periodically the transmitter will ‘phone home’ and download a settings file to configure itself. We can tweak this settings file if we need to change anything on the transmitter. Even if the transmitter is factory reset, it will automatically set itself up again without any intervention.
The transmitters will automatically adjust their output power in order to get the optimum signal-to-noise ratio.
The transmitters technically have a 60 degree ‘beam angle’ from the front face. However, in reality over short distances (sub 100m) they will talk to each other even if pointed in opposite directions. This can be useful if you need to connect a third transmitter and it is facing to the side or back of the ‘master’ transmitter.
If this all sounds a bit complicated to you, and you would like to discuss your situation with someone on the phone, why not give us a ring?
Alternatively, why not drop the team an email with the form opposite? We will be happy to help!