One of the trickiest aspects of transitioning from analogue to IP security networks is deciding on just how to manage the changeover and upgrade process. While many CCTV systems have moved to IP, there are a number of access control, intrusion and detection systems which still need to be kept in the analogue domain. Where to start, then, when you have important security and non-security systems which need to work in conjunction with IP video and data networks? While a challenge like this may seem complex and headache-inducing, networking and transmission specialist AMG Systems says using a multi-service Ethernet switch can make the legacy upgrade process relatively seamless, and combining networks together can significantly reduce infrastructure and equipment costs.
Ian Creary, AMG’s Sales and Technical Support Manager, explains that a multi-service Ethernet switch (MSES) is a hybrid technology that combines layer 2 managed Ethernet switch functionality with fully integrated data and contacts communication. “Multi-service Ethernet switches allow for a variety of networking technologies to be integrated into the same environment, in the one box,” he says. “As well as Layer 2 Managed Ethernet functionality, AMG’s MSES supports the integration of low-speed and high-speed inputs and outputs, allowing serial ports and alarm contacts to be directly connected to the switch.
“What this means in practice is that non-IP devices can be easily connected directly to an IP network, without the requirement for expensive and inconvenient additional hardware, converters, and power supplies. It takes the complexity out of the upgrade process and allows existing equipment to be used in conjunction with the latest IP CCTV and data systems.” Optimised for security applications, AMG’s MSES supports low and high-speed data, RS232 and RS485, FTT-10, I/O, alarm contacts, and audio. Serial ports and alarm I/O can be configured as either point-to-point and point-to-multipoint circuits, or as virtual circuits when interfaced with management systems. Multicast traffic is common on IP CCTV network deployments, and to ensure the switch can deal with this volume it is equipped with IGMP functionality and ring healing protocols.
The MSES box provides up to four serial data channels and up to 16 contact channels, allowing users to transmit data from access control systems, intruder alarm panels or telemetry systems to the control room easily and cost effectively via the Ethernet network.
Ian Creary says that the added benefit of AMG’s multi-service Ethernet switch is its design, ruggedised for use in extremely challenging environments, allowing it to operate in temperatures from as low as -40 deg C to as high as a blistering 75 deg C. “The MSES boxes have been designed to meet the high reliability requirements demanded by rugged outdoor and harsh industrial environments,” he says. “It offers peace of mind for users in conditions which would often demand much more complicated solutions.”