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Security Camera Blog

security camera installation cable Utah

Security Camera Cable

I once had an experience that was so crazy that I fired a customer over it. It was a combination of stupidity and lack of loyalty to such a level, that I couldn’t handle working with the organization any longer.

When the SDI Technology was brand new, I sold an SDI system for a guard shack to a gated community. By putting some VF 1080P cameras on the building, I was able to get the client great license plate pictures of every vehicle that entered and left the facility. They were very happy with the product, and I didn’t hear from them for almost a year. Finally, I got a call complaining about the video quality. The security guard complained that he used to be able to read license plates and now he was not able to.

 I drove over to check out the situation and found that the entire system I had installed had been removed. Someone had come through in the last month and convinced the owners that IP cameras were better and that the cameras I had installed were old analog cameras based on the coax wiring that was used. They sold them on installing their new “better” cameras. Unfortunately for my ex-clients, they downgraded by purchasing 720P IP cameras to replace 1080P Digital SDI HD cameras. The salesman that told them their cameras were old and cheap didn’t know that an HD signal could be transmitted over RG59. This client paid a heavy price believing him. 

I’ve said before that I don’t believe there is a BEST security camera system. I believe the same is true of cable. If you already have cable installed on a large building however, and it can work, then using it would save time and money when getting a security system. The following types of cable are common for security cameras and I will list their advantages and disadvantages. 

RG59 Combo Cable

This is a Coax Cable that is just a hair smaller than RG6 used by the major cable companies to bring your cable signal to your home. RG59 Combo has the Coax line for the video signal and a pair of 18/2 wires in a separate sheath that goes with it for the camera power. This type of cable has been around a long time and is very sturdy. 

Advantages of RG59 Combo – Easy to pull for installation, sturdy, might already exist in building, easy connectors, easily distinguishable as camera cable. 

Cat 5e

This is the other common standard cable used to install security cameras. Also referred to as ethernet cable, it is the cable used to hook up your computer to the router, voice over IP phones to the switches, etc. It is the cable used on IP cameras most of the time. 

Advantages of Cat 5e – About 1⁄2 the price of RG59 combo, fits into less space and is much lighter, can be used to run data as well, comes in more colors than just black and white. Necessary for IP cameras and can be used with special adapters, (video baluns), for the other types of cameras.

Cat 6 

This cable is a little more expensive and faster than Cat 5e. It is not necessary for cameras, but some companies bid Cat 6 on jobs to make people believe they are selling them a better security system. The only time it might make a difference would be linking two larger switches together that would be carrying a large load of data. Larger networks with a lot of data however, switch to fiber instead, so the need for Cat 6 really doesn’t exist much. 

Pre-fab cable

Pre-fab cable or ready-made cable is manufactured for camera kits because it already has the connectors included. This cable should be avoided whenever possible. It is not the best quality and can easily be damaged or even broken. Try replacing it with RG59.