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CCTV and Video Surveillance Basics

How does it work and what are the performance requirements?

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Written by Team Celona
Updated over a week ago

From fixed cameras to vehicle-based systems and bodycams, video is the medium of choice for rapid information gathering in security operations.

What are Celona’s strengths in this application of IP Video?

  • Extended range indoors and outdoors

  • Traffic forwarding and SLA-based QoS with MicroSlicing

  • Interference free spectrum with CBRS

  • Ease of deployment and automated network operations

Firstly, we will examine how we are connecting IP video over wireless connections today. Then, we will learn how Celona's platform can be leveraged to deliver these video applications.

So let’s examine the two main deployment requirements, fixed camera positions, and mobile video, and how they are commonly deployed today using wireless networks.

Fixed Camera Positions

Mounted on buildings and other fixed assets, these camera positions utilize fixed and PTZ cameras to monitor a specific physical area. Where data cabling is unavailable a number of wireless connectivity options are available.

  • Public Cellular

  • Point to Point Link

  • Point to Multipoint Coverage Area

Public Cellular Connections

A ubiquitously available, but costly option, for connecting a remote camera to your network. Using this calculator we can deduce that 24 hours of video from a camera set to 1080p, 10fps, and MBR would use approximately 20.3Gb of data. That would trigger most data caps on public cellular service.

What about intelligent-edge video cameras like Verkada? These types of systems record and analyze video locally, minimizing the need for constant upload of video data.

Analyzing my own deployment of a Verkada camera at JR’s lab shows that, over a 7 day period, 768Mb was sent to the cloud. I have very few alerts set, and rarely view the camera’s live feed, so this should be considered a minimum usage profile.

Undoubtedly, intelligent-edge video will become the dominant bandwidth profile over time but that transition is only just starting. For now, commercial cellular is only suitable for intermittent video transmission.

Cost metrics

There are a number of costs here:

  • an LTE to Ethernet bridge or router of some kind in the range of $200 to $500,

  • Monthly subscription of $50 to $100 with data usually capped after 20Gb,

  • A high capacity VPN concentrator along with all the necessary hardware/software and cloud services required to create encrypted connections between your remote assets and the Enterprise network, with significant investment.

The good

Ubiquitous availability.

The not so good

No control over the network, no visibility of network performance until it degrades. Requires supporting complex VPN architectures. Not suitable for ‘always on’, centralized video monitoring and recording. Ongoing connectivity costs are significant.

Point to Point Unlicensed Connections

If you have a good Line of Sight (LOS) between your camera position and a network breakout location, microwave point to point is a solid option.

A number of unlicensed frequencies are available for enterprise use. This list of unlicensed PTP equipment from ISP Supplies gives a good overview of what systems are available. The chart below shows each unlicensed frequency and the maximum range achievable at peak throughput.

Cost metrics

The range starts at a few hundred dollars for Mikrotik and Ubiquiti’s 60GHz devices, increasing to $3000 for Ubiquiti’s 24GHz AirFiber product.

The good

Great if you only have a few remote sites to connect. High throughput supports high-quality video and multiple cameras simultaneously. Innately secure, as links can be encrypted and devices can be locked to each other’s unique ID. All data stays ‘on-net’.

The not so good

It does not scale. High throughput is achieved using a directional antenna with minimal beamwidth that targets a very narrow coverage area (point-to-point). You must have a clear Line of Sight between your network and the remote location. It is unlicensed, therefore susceptible to issues caused by interference.

Point to Multipoint Unlicensed Connections

This has been the method of choice for connecting always-on IP video sources over a wide area for over 15 years.

The photo above was taken at Las Vegas Festival Showgrounds during the build for AWS Replay. You can see the Ubiquiti subscriber unit which is providing backhaul for PTZ camera. The CCTV provider in Las Vegas, uses PTMP equipment in the 5GHz range across the city to connect these cameras. When a large event is due to take place, they work with everyone involved in security to deploy additional cameras, relying on the PTMP wireless network to connect everything back to centralized monitoring and recording locations.

Is the network susceptible to interference issues? Yes - and with zero mitigation because the frequency is available for public use meaning the noise floor is often intolerable. Not ideal, but it has been the best answer available .. until now.

Cost metrics

Very reasonable: cost per sector including the antenna is sub $300. CPEs on the other end of the connection starts at under $100 each.

The good

Mature technology with a wide range of hardware and management systems available. High throughput supports high-quality video and multiple cameras simultaneously. Innately secure, as links can be encrypted and devices can be locked to each other’s unique ID. All data stays ‘on-net’.

The not so good

Available public spectrum is heavily congested in urban and metro areas which reduces the reliability of all networks. No QoS mechanisms and line of sight between the radios and the CPE devices is essential. A base station can quickly become overwhelmed with multiple upstream IP video links.

Mobile Video

Between vehicle-based and body-worn cameras, the demand for mobile video has exploded in recent years.

Vehicle-based systems often use multiple fixed view cameras that record to a local NVR and support on-demand video via public cellular connections. BodyCams have on board recording and can be tethered to mobile handsets in order to acquire real time video which, again, is handled by public cellular networks.

In both cases, the locally stored video will be uploaded upon return to base.

Vehicle Based Video

It is helpful to think of these vehicles as a ‘mobile branch’ of the main network. Router/Gateway, switch, local Wi-Fi, with various devices connected from Laptops to IP Cameras and video recorders.

Public Cellular is really the only option for most users of mobile video applications. The issues for supporting mobile video on public cellular networks are the same as fixed cameras, the bandwidth costs are prohibitive, especially for multi-camera situations like passenger transit or patrol cars.

Personal Video (BodyCams)

Body cams are high profile due to their use by LEO in the field. Obviously, there are many other users from private security to healthcare. Vendors include:

Very few have LTE connectivity options, none that support CBRS currently. The higher-end models can be paired with a smart device over wifi or Bluetooth in order to deliver real-time situational video when required.

Cost metrics

There are a number of costs here:

  • Vehicles require an LTE to Ethernet bridge or router of some kind, in the range of $300 to $3000.

  • Monthly subscription, "unlimited" data plan that's usually capped after 20Gb typically, $50 to $100 per month.

  • A high capacity VPN concentrator along with all the necessary hardware/software and cloud services required to create encrypted connections between your remote assets and the Enterprise network, requiring significant investment.

The good

Ubiquitous availability, supports on-demand situational video.

The not so good

Recurring subscription cost and possible overage charges, no control over network availability or architecture, complex support requirements.

Celona Private Mobile Network for CCTV

Now that we've reviewed the current options for connecting security video sources, it's clear that it would be great to have another wireless 'tool' in the box.

Fixed Camera Positions

Mobile Video

The tables above compare key criteria across the different connectivity options for both Fixed Camera and Mobile Video applications.


While we are using LTE on CBRS we are limited to max upstream capacity of 26Mbps. However, by utilizing the features built into the LTE specification we can increase this capacity through AP densification. That is not possible with traditional wireless networks because adding more APs increases interference issues.


The range and non-line-of-sight capabilities inherent to cellular networks are well known, so deploying a Celona private mobile network means fewer compromises on camera location. Significantly, Celona Outdoor APs can transmit at up to 50 watts, while a 5GHz point to multipoint system is restricted to 1 watt. Furthermore, the ability to secure dedicated spectrum for CBRS significantly reduces the risks associated with interference from other networks.


Public cellular networks are highly inflexible because you have to fit your application to their network architecture and coverage. A Celona private mobile network provides all of the cellular benefits, with none of the restrictions.


Private infrastructure is always preferred over a public option so Celona, PTP and PTMP networks score well here. Celona has some additional advantages, encryption is built into the LTE specification, SIM based authentication removes the needs for maintaining security keys and passwords, and data is encrypted from the moment it leaves the device to it's egress onto your trusted enterprise network.

Ease of Use

One of our core principles is to make the Celona network the easiest part of your network to manage. Check out one of our regular demos and see for yourself.

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