(Doha, 24 March 2016) Public safety and security is gaining attention and focus worldwide, including the Middle East.
Video surveillance using closed-circuit television (CCTV) is widely-deployed both indoors and outdoors throughout major cities in the Middle East. Video surveillance is a primary objective of public safety institutes, and has become a mandatory regulation in several parts of the Middle East.
Background and Challenge
CCTV relies on the strategic placement of cameras and the observation of its output at a central monitoring location. High quality and timely video streaming from CCTV cameras are essential for successful security monitoring. Accordingly, high-capacity data connections with well-defined quality of service (QoS) capabilities are required to backhaul video streams from CCTV cameras to the monitoring centre.
While wired network connections are easily deployed inside buildings, network connections for outdoor CCTV cameras face several challenges and obstacles. The challenges are so significant that demand for high-capacity wireless networks which can support the required QoS, while meeting critical security requirements of public safety institutes, has increased.
Telecom operators’ mobile broadband networks, whether 3G or 4G, are generally not suitable for backhauling the public safety institutes’ CCTV cameras for two main reasons. Firstly, these networks are not cost-effective for handling continuous 24-hour streaming of high-bandwidth video content throughout the year. Secondly, public safety institutes often prefer to establish independent and private communication networks but networks of this kind are costly.
In 2015, Waseela was tasked to solve the problem discussed above in Qatar for newly-developed streets in Doha. Outdoor CCTV cameras were required to be deployed across the new streets within a short timeframe in areas where wired networks were not available.
The usual solution for this growing demand is to deploy point-to-point (PtP) microwave links to backhaul video signals from all outdoor CCTV cameras. While this solution satisfies the capacity and security requirements, it is costly and its feasibility decreases as the number of outdoor cameras within small geographical areas increase. The high costs are due to a lack of non-overlapping frequency channels resulting in the utilization of more spectrum for line-of-sight (LOS) connections, and the lack of available mounting space on telecom towers needed for microwave dish antennas.
Waseela, along with its technology partner, Redline Communications, has been promoting a cost-effective and scalable video surveillance solution in the Middle East. The Redline solution is an OFDM-based point-to-multipoint (PtMP) broadband wireless system.
Mr. Ahmad Zaidan, head of systems engineering department at Waseela, clarified that Waseela has many years of experience deploying different types of wireless technologies including both PtP and PtMP wireless systems in several countries across the Middle East. He suggested that to connect large numbers of CCTV cameras in a relatively small geographical area, a PtMP broadband wireless system is the only technically-feasible and economically-viable solution.
Mr. Zaidan added the solution’s success is conditional on a careful and accurate frequency plan and wireless network design. This approach ensures that the whole system of concurrent links can operate at high level of QoS, and low latency in the order of 10ms. This specification is necessary to enable concurrent transmission of live video content from all the CCTV cameras, when required.
Mr. Jimmy Bakakis, Redline Vice President of International Sales, stated that “Although our PtMP technology has been available for several years, recent optimizations in costs, capacity enhancements and new features are making this technology a very effective solution for backhauling CCTV cameras.”
With careful RF planning and design, Waseela successfully deployed the Redline RDL-3000 PtPM broadband wireless system to connect outdoor CCTV cameras in Doha in less than two weeks.
Benefits and Conclusion
Redline’s technology allows a radio base station (the master unit) to connect simultaneously with dozens of subscriber stations which can be located up to 30 Km away. Each connection can carry tens of Mbps of video traffic and operates at a high QoS. More importantly, each connection is secured with unparalleled over-the-air encryption (FIPS 140-2 compliant), so stringent that it is the only solution of its category approved by the U.S. Department of Defence.
One base station has a total capacity of 300 Mbps, this is enough to connect dozens of high-quality CCTV cameras. Additionally, the average cost per link using Redline’s technology is approximately 50% lower than the average cost per a link of the traditional PtP system.
What makes the deployment of the Redline system simpler is the OFDM technology that mitigates the challenges of multipath fading and obstructions in the wireless environment, and inherently enables reliable Near LOS (NLOS) operation.
Redline Communications has extended its powerful, ruggedized, secure and high-capacity PtMP technology to support portable objects through its RAS platform. RAS devices extend the connectivity to CCTV cameras on board boats, transport vehicles and other portable structures, thus making the PtMP technology the best in the market.