Coaxial cable be gone

Steve Feinberg does not have to use coaxial cable when installing video security systems anymore. For the last few months, the co-owner of Orbit Systems (Windham, NH), an installation company that specializes in video security systems, has been using VideoEase--a compact, screw-terminal balun that connects closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras to structured cabling systems manufactured by NHC Communications Inc. (Montreal, QC, Canada).

Oct 1st, 1999

Mark A. DeSorbo

Steve Feinberg does not have to use coaxial cable when installing video security systems anymore. For the last few months, the co-owner of Orbit Systems (Windham, NH), an installation company that specializes in video security systems, has been using VideoEase--a compact, screw-terminal balun that connects closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras to structured cabling systems manufactured by NHC Communications Inc. (Montreal, QC, Canada).

Yes, that`s right: balun. What once bridged coaxial and twisted-pair cable can now provide a detour around the bulkiness. "The size, cost, and fact that it can handle connections up to 2500 feet away are the selling points," Feinberg says.

Jeffrey Herman, project manager for NHC, says the VideoEase balun eliminated the need for coaxial cable by converting a CCTV baseband video signal from RG-75 to unshielded twisted-pair (UTP). The balun, he says, supports connections up to 2500 feet by using Category 5 cable with color or black-and-white video and can be interfaced with CCTV cameras, monitors, switches, sequencers, and multiplexers. The width of a BNC connector and just over two inches long, VideoEase sells for a suggested price of about $35. NHC claims VideoEase is the world`s smallest balun and can fit side-by-side on the back of CCTV multiplexers, switches, and sequencers where real estate for BNCs is often limited.

VideoEase baluns, Herman says, are live-tested in a video environment and epoxy-sealed to prevent contamination from moisture and dust. NHC, he adds, makes other types of baluns as well. One transmits stereo audio and video signals over Category 5 cable, while another transmits mono signals for such applications as classroom video distribution over UTP.

"These devices are addressing a market that does not always have the tools to connectorize UTP," Herman says. "The benefits to the user are significant. Usually a single coaxial cable is used for one camera, but a single UTP cable can handle four cameras. There`s a space savings, and Category 5 cable costs less than coaxial cable. The net savings rises to almost 80% per camera."

Feinberg discovered VideoEase baluns while evaluating many types of devices being considered for a video security system project that Orbit was contracted to install in a hospital owned and operated by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. "It was a very large project. NHC came down to visit us, and we decided to give its product a try," he says. "What really sold us was the size of the unit. It`s the smallest and has the best range capacity without needing external power. We`ve pretty much converted to these baluns from coaxial."

At the time of this report, Feinberg has used NHC`s VideoEase baluns in four installations, including the Massachusetts hospital. "In all four of those installations, we had connections that ran over 1300 feet, and we saw no degradation in video quality. We have used more than 100 baluns, and we`ve had a zero defect rate," he adds. "We`ve slated to use them in 15 to 20 more installations. We`re now able to wire the system like it`s a telephone or data network, and that capability has its own inherent benefits."

Mark A. DeSorbo, formerly associate editor at Cabling Installation & Maintenance, now associate editor at CleanRooms, another PennWell publication.

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