A Little Point-to-Point Bridge Saves The Day

Last weekend I was trying to finish up an IP CCTV project at one of my favorite customer sites. Here, an electrician was supposed to run the UTP and I would terminate and test it before I connected cameras. It should have been a straight-forward endeavor, but it got weird. I blame my own lack of attention to detail in telling the electrician EXACTLY where one wire needed to go. Because I didn’t, he put it someplace that was easy for him, but impractical for the application. The camera would somehow have to see around a substantial corner if I mounted it where the wire landed.

Allow me to leverage my Enormous iPad Pro and $700 pencil to make a simple site drawing:

Do you see the problem? There was really no practical way to get the UTP extended to where it needed to be, which would be right about where the outlet is drawn (about 10 meters away). Hmm. I had a good station cable that happened to be in the wrong place, and I had an electrical outlet under an overhang where I needed the camera to go. My wheels started to turn…

Are you starting to smell what’s cooking here? Let’s add a couple of things to that world-class drawing.image

By golly- that just might work.

Being a well-connected Man of Action, I happened to have a couple of 5 GHz Cambium ePMP 1000 in my bag of tricks. Sure, some might say the bridge link I was about to build– spanning all of around 30 feet– borders on overkill for this application. But you do what you gotta do, and I don’t really like wireless cameras. But I do like good point-to-point links for wired cameras.

The Cambiums are an elegant, cost-effective way to do links this short as well as miles longer if things line up right for you.  I updated the firmware on the bridges, gave them the simple config they needed to take their place on my network, and made sure the channel in use wouldn’t conflict with the business WLAN in place.

After a quick trip to Lowes, I was fairly pleased with my solution.

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That 8″ square electrical box houses the power injectors for both the camera and the bridge, It will probably get painted along with the box the camera is mounted on to better blend in with the white of the overhang, and the owner blessed this unconventional setup as the camera is really important to them.

So how does it work? Though there is still a bit of camera alignment to be done, it’s a pretty good view from the camera.  This particular view is from a remote viewing app, but at the DVR the image is crystal clear and never stutters or drops. After a few days of testing, this link performs as well as a patch cable.

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Like I said… sometimes you do what you have to do.

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