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4K Security Systems

4K video is the latest in surveillance technology, delivering exceptional image quality and resolution. With four times the resolution as 1080p HD, 4K video blows high-definition video and older standard video formats out of the water. But, without careful planning, its effectiveness can go down the drain.

Switching to 4K video, or even HD cameras, is not as easy as simply buying the new cameras. While HD cameras require four times the storage and bandwidth as a legacy 480TVL camera, 4K cameras require four times the storage and bandwidth as an HD camera. Without the proper equipment to support such requirements, your new 4K system may not live up to your expectations.

Here are a few things to consider when you decide to adopt the new 4K technology.

Data Switches
Simply adding 4K cameras to your current system can quickly overwhelm it. On a normal data network, legacy 100Mbps is standard and is designed for computing data, not video streaming. Normal user data is considered “bursty” because user data is sent in bursts and remains low until the next burst. Memory buffers are built in so that if more data is received than can be processed, the data is stored until it can catch up.

Unfortunately, video streaming does not work like that. Video is sent in a steady stream, and if more data comes in than can be handled, the switch does not have a chance to catch up. This overload of data can result in dropped videos, or the switch may even lock up until it is rebooted.

Imagine a system that has 10 20-megapixel cameras sending at 3.5 fps, and requiring about 112Mbps of bandwidth. Hooking these cameras up to a 110Mbps switch will overload it, causing the system to malfunction. In the same vein, if you have two 110Mbps switches that have five 20-megapixel cameras each, they require about 56Mbps each and should work accordingly. However, if these switches connect back to a main switch that cannot handle the workload, you end up with the same problem as the first scenario.

When choosing a switch for your system, there are many things to consider aside from the port speed. Location is important, whether it be a core switch or a field switch. Also, you will want to pay attention to its switching capacity and buffer size, along with different features and support.

When it comes to server-based NVRs, again, if it is not designed to support and record at levels up to par with 4K or even HD cameras, you will come across performance issues. Things like bus speed and read-write speed on hard drives will affect how many devices you will need to support your cameras properly.

Storage Space
When planning for storage, you may want to consult with your IT department or an industry professional for guidance and advice. You must consider the number and type of cameras you need to support and how long you need the video to be retained. Proper storage abilities can make or break a quality surveillance system.

Power & Cooling
While often overlooked, power and cooling systems play a crucial role. Large scale video systems require a lot of equipment which need power for functioning, air conditioning to prevent overheating, and a UPS to safeguard from power outages or surges. Without these things, the best security systems would not be able to function properly.

Before you decide to upgrade to 4K security cameras, it is best to get a grasp on your system as a whole. Are you considering, or have you already, upgraded to a 4K surveillance system? Share your thoughts and advice with your peers and us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.

If you have any questions regarding security cameras, surveillance equipment, or are interested in our installation services, please call 1-888-203-6294 and we will be happy to assist you. You may also browse our inventory by visiting us online at

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