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UTP and Coaxial


What is Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) wire?

 

Unshielded Twisted Pair wires, as the term implies are two conductors twisted around each other and are usually used for different applications from telephone systems to LANs.

 

Unshielded Twisted Pair wires are typically referred to as UTP.  UTP has the best price per meter/foot performance for CCTV applications up to 6,000 feet (1,830 meters) in length. 


What is coaxial cable?

 

Coaxial cable has a circular cross-section; The Center conductor is usually a solid copper wire, surrounded by an insulator, then a “shield”, then the outer jacket.

 

 


How is UTP different from Coaxial Cable?

 

Since the wire within Coax is not twisted, then it relies on a physical metallic jacket to resist induced noise. If the coax is run across an electrically noisy environment (along power wires, close to Fluorescent fixtures, etc), then the shield may not be effective in quelling the noise. This shows up as an interference pattern on the monitor, and sometimes can disrupt viewing/recording (see below). 

 

 

 Additionally, Coax provides no inherent Ground Loop Protection. If a CCTV system, the Camera end may have a different “Ground differential” compared to the destination. If the differential is large enough, you will typically see distinct dark horizontal noise bars that travel from top to bottom of the monitor.

 

In severe cases, particularly if the destination is a digital device like a Multiplexer/DVR, then it can critically disrupt the signal or recording. This can be particularly undesirable with a DVR, because many optimize their storage by requiring a clean video signal; if it’s not, then file sizes can dramatically increase, greatly reducing the Recording duration! 


When to use twisted pair wires instead of coax for CCTV applications?

 

UTP can be used in replacement of Coaxial cable in nearly every instance. This is desirable for a number of reasons:

 

  • Coax is stiffer and physically more difficult to run; UTP is much easier to run thru walls, pipes.

 

  • Some locations have unused UTP already installed; Many phone systems do not use all pairs. Elevators are good examples where it would be economically unfeasible to retrofit Coax.

 

  • For distances longer than 1,000 feet (305 meters), UTP is typically less expensive and has better signal quality.

 

  • For small camera systems, using CAT5 is inexpensive and convenient. The RJ45 connectors directly interface with the VPD (Video, Power and Data) line of Vigitron products, simplifying installation and increasing reliability.

 

  • For larger camera systems, you can home run all your cameras to a centralized Hub area, and use multi-pair UTP Cable to bring back the video to the Head End. Multi-pair UTP is available in 50 and 100 pair configurations, being far less unwieldy and more practical than running the equivalent number of separate coax cables. Most of the new Casino CCTV systems use exclusively UTP-based solutions.

 

  • Installing CAT5 for your customer is proven way to “future-proof” the installation. Even if the current UTP Baluns & Transceivers are retired, then you can easily upgrade to IP Video Technology. Your cable is already installed, and ready to upgrade. 


Why not use shielded twisted pair wires or untwisted wires?

 

Transmitting the video signal into a twisted pair provides an effective method of canceling extraneous noise and crosstalk.Shielded twisted pair wires have more capacitance but drastically reduce the operating distance for carrying video over UTP wires. Untwisted wires are susceptible to interference that will result in a degradation of the video quality. 


What type of UTP wire works best for twisted pair CCTV transmission?

 

The Vigitron UTP CCTV transmission systems support UTP wire category 2 or better, gauges from 12 AWG to 26 AWG. Vigitron recommends using Cat 5 or better to achieve the best analog signal distance performance and future digital (IP) system transition. 


Surge Protection


Are Vigitron products transient/surge protected?

 

Most Vigitron UTP products provide surge or transient protection. These devices have built-in surge suppression to protect video equipment against voltage spikes. Unlike similar products the Vigitron surge protection circuits will not degrade by occurrence of transients. The only Vigitron product that does not have surge protection is the VB1000 series. 


How should I specify a UTP system to be the most secure in regards to Surge Protection?

 

Firstly, you should specify all UTP devices be compliant with both Differential and Common Mode protection. Secondly, make sure that each UTP device has a connection to earth ground. Note that connection of both ends to earth ground does not increase the chance of a ground loop, since the ground connections are electrically inactive until there’s a power surge. So, video quality will be unaffected. 


Installation


Can the wires be connected in a star configuration?

 

All Vigitron products need to be used with point-to-point connection wires. Any star configuration or extra hanging pair of wires or stubs will cause ghosting effect and severe distortion in video signals. 


Can the wires be spliced or connected through punch-down blocks?

 

Yes. UTP wires can be connected through punch-down boxes, or they can be spliced. Video can be sent through a dozen of these connections without significant degradation. There should not be any stubs or loose wires, and the connection should be separated from surge suppression device (e.g., MOV) and telephone system. 


Can video twisted pair wires coexist in the same cable bundle with other wires?

 

Since Vigitron products provide balanced signals with high noise cancellation and cross talk immunity, it is acceptable to have twisted pair wires in the same bundle. 


Are Vigitron products adjustable for various distances?

 

The Vigitron passive devices or transceivers do not require any adjustment for up to 750 feet. Vigitron active devices are easily adjustable for various distances by using a simple adjustment on the active device(s). There is no need to know the exact lengths of wire or use a look up table to adjust the distance. 


Can the range be extended? Can passive and active devices be combined?

 

For less than 750 feet (230 meters), you can use passive devices on each end. For runs up to 3,000 feet (915 meters), then use a passive transmitter behind the camera with an active receiver. For up to 6,000 feet (1,830 meters), use active devices on both ends. Vigitron does not recommend cascading twisted pair transceivers as repeaters to further extend the distance. 


Can multiple camera signals be combined under the same Cat 5 cable?

 

Yes, since each camera signal uses one pair, then up to four camera signals can be transmitted under the standard Cat 5 UTP cable. 


Can we use the same Cat 5 cable to pass power to the camera, without affecting video quality?

 

Yes. Vigitron provides solutions that use two pairs of the same Cat 5 cable to deliver 24 or 28 VAC to most fixed analog cameras without affect the video picture quality. However, power will be attenuated faster than video signal with distance. 


Can power lines and other signals cause interference?

 

Primary power lines may also coexist as long as they abide by the local electrical code specifications. 


The Vigitron Difference


What is the deal with some companies quoting 750 feet, vs. those who quote 1,000 feet w/ passive devices?

 

Virtually all reputable UTP manufacturers have similar recommendations for the passive-to-passive applications. With a passive ONLY system, UTP can support 1,000 feet as long as the destination is an analog device such as a video monitor or a common matrix switcher.

 

If the destination is a digital device like a DVR or Multiplexer, then the video inputs on those devices are more sensitive to the signal losses and may experience Video loss detection, or intermittent alarming inherited from a runs over 750 feet. 


Is there really any difference in performance between Vigitron and the other brands?

 

Vigitron’s Passive solutions have better or equal visual quality to any of the major brands here in the USA. Some of the video performance advantages are more apparent using test equipment, but can be hard to differentiate with the naked eye. Most reputable USA brands will generally exhibit a good quality image as long as you follow the recommendations of each manufacturer.


All Vigitron products are designed from the ground up to support a broader CCTV application around the world. For those customers using PAL (European) video, our solutions demonstrated extended bandwidth support that provided sharper and higher-resolution video compared to other competing products. 


How are Vigitron Active solutions better in quality?

 

With active solutions, all UTP manufacturers require a manual distance adjustment(s), to calibrate the Transmitter and/or Receiver to the UTP wire distance. All competitors require two adjustments per Active device. Our solutions require a single or no adjustment, making calibration a snap.


Furthermore, the presence of the noise increases the file size of the DVR images storage. Vigitron systems have been thoroughly tested at both rated minimum and maximum distances have found no undue effects to the DVR recording quality. 


How are you able to keep your prices lower than the major competition?

 

All Vigitron solutions are designed in the USA and manufactured both here in the USA and abroad. The modular design and assembly of the components gives Vigitron the flexibility to manufacture our products for you in the most efficient manner.

 

When combining with Vigitron’s focused marketing strategy, Vigitron is able to pass the savings to you, while strengthening customer support and appropriate larger R&D efforts to develop other class-leader solutions.

 

Vigitron products have been sold worldwide over the past decade, providing reliable, high quality CCTV connectivity for a multitude of satisfied customers. We strive to provide a solution more cost-effective than the competition, with performance second to none.

 

These are some of the many compelling reasons to use Vigitron products, and we encourage you to try them out. 


Signal Support


Does Vigitron products provide PTZ (Pan-Tilt-zoom) support over twisted pair?

 

Yes. All Vigitron passive transceivers provide support for “up-the-coax” or other types of PTZ signals, as well as, audio and video signals less than 750 feet (230 meters). Our Active solutions do not pass those signals, however most PTZ’s allow use of a separate data line to provide PTZ control. Our VPD (Video, Power, and Data) line will address these concerns. 


Can the PTZ (RS-422 and RS485) signals be transmitted over UTP?

 

RS-422 or RS-485 signals are hard-wired (2 wires) between the PTZ equipment. Vigitron provides solutions to send data (PTZ) signal within the same Cat 5 bundle as the video signal. 


How do I fix the ground loop interference?

 

A good way to fix or prevent this problem is to use Vigitron’s active receivers or Vi1060 Isolation Transformer. These devices contain electronics designed to prevent the excess of electricity from disrupting the signal. 


Why is the video wavy with a rolling bar when using passive balun and passive receiver?

 

You may have a ground loop issue. Use a Vigitron active receiver (with ground loop immunity built-in) or Vi1060 Isolation Transformer. 


What is Automatic Video Compensation (AVC)?

 

Vigitron’s 6300 and 6200 series automatically adjust picture quality without the need for manual DIP switches or rotary potentiometers. Within the supported distance, Vi6300/6200 measures the incoming video signal and automatically compensates factors such as high/low frequencies and cable attenuation to optimize the video signal quality to the DVR or multiplexer.