Why would you want to test your CCTV System?
Most of the systems nowadays are digital and are connected via an ethernet cable, which has multiple advantages over the analogue/coaxial system used prior. However, it also brings a disadvantage – the quality of CCTV recordings is heavily dependent on the performance of the network and its stability. The low quality is influenced by several factors, such as networks’ congestion, if CCTV system runs on the same network as other operations, or bandwidth limitations above others. In this industry quality equals security, and to ensure that, it is advised to maintain and test the CCTV system on an ongoing basis.
CCTV System Problems
If the network connection used to run the CCTV system is not stable and optimized, it might lead to low quality monitoring. Common problems with the footage include reduced video frame rates, also called frames per second (FPS), which might lead to disperse imagery. Low performance network also increases the video compression, that results in lower image clarity and high pixilation, which lowers the overall security properties of the system. Another issue caused by untested, poorly maintained network, is the buffering, where network stalls and restarts on an ongoing basis, missing a lot of valuable footage whilst offline creating gaps in monitoring.
Types of CCTV System Testers
There are various tests that must be done, in order to optimize the performance of a CCTV system, therefore it is important to know the equipment to improve the quality.
Multifunctional PAL and NTSN (Hunt Signal) Tester
This tester is used to test the CCTV Systems that are based on either of the analogue networks PAL (Phase Alternating Line) or NTSC (National Television System Committee). PAL and NTSC analogue television encoding systems are used throughout the world – NTSC is used in North America and part of South America, whilst PAL has gained popularity in Europe, Asia and Australia. With this tester will be able to test CCTV System, which is based on either of these analogue networks, and monitor the frame rates, image resolution and audio modulation.
Multifunctional Signal Transmission (Lt Wt) Tester
With this device it will be possible to inspect and test the networking cable, and hence identify the problems and schedule maintenance to ensure the quality of the CCTV monitoring. Moreover, other functions of this tester include wiring tracing and cable order verifying, allowing the users to isolate cables from the bundle and visualize the characteristics of the network – particularly useful when working with large and comprehensive CCTV networks. This type of tester identifies the mis-wiring, low voltage and shortage areas within the network.
IP Camera Tester
This tester is used to monitor various IP and analogue cameras, TVI, CVI AHD and SDI cameras. This tester is used to detect the properties of the camera and imagery that is being shot – it is easier to monitor the focus and the quality of the monitoring done by the camera, the field of view. The reports also demonstrate the image quality at different lightings, as well as the resolution of the imagery and stream through time, frames per second (FPS) and bandwidths performance. The reports will allow to identify issues and adjust or configure the settings to optimize the performance of the CCTV monitoring.
HD Combine Tester
This tester does various tests such as RS485 PTZ control testing, IP camera testing, ethernet connection testing, TDR cable testing and video quality testing. By combining the wide variety of different functions and tests into one device, the engineers will be able to work more efficiently and reduce the cost of ongoing monitoring and maintenance.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an CCTV System Tester
- Type of Network
There are several types of network that an CCTV system can be based on, such as analogue, SD, HD-TVI, AHD, HD IPC above others. In order to facilitate the best quality of the measurements and gain the most valuable insights into the performance of the network and CCTV system, it is important to study the network and use the right equipment.
- Size of Network
Each testing equipment has a limited range of what can be measured in one take. To ensure the quality and uninterrupted testing, the range of test must be chosen according to the capabilities of the tester.
- Supported Protocol
When performing an IP test, it is required to use a tester that supports the right protocols. There are several – ONVIF 2.4.1., RTSP, RTP above other. To ensure the quality of the tester, right tester must be used.
- IP Configuration
Like the Supported Protocol, it is important to study the CCTV networks IP Configuration, such as if the network has a static IP, DHCP client or DHCP client configuration, prior to the test to use the right equipment.
- SD Signal Format
Important when testing the analogue networks, due to the differences in SD Signal Format in different parts of the world. There are various encoding methods used such as PAL (Phase Alternating Line) that is supported in Europe, part of South America, Asia and Australia, NTSC (National Television System Committee) that is used in North America and other parts of South America and SECAM encoding that is used in France, Russia and some parts of Africa.
To ensure a precise test, it is important to study the CCTV system prior to conducting a test, have tools to measure the performance of several indicators. It is also essential to clean, pre-test and calibrate the CCTV testers on an ongoing basis.