IPIQ: The Connected Home
With advancements made in Megapixel technology, IP Cameras have increasingly become part of the residential and commercial security environment. These Megapixel IP Cameras deliver significant enhancements over traditional analog cameras.
At the same time, they require considerable network bandwidth and power—which, when attached as part of the wired network, is typically a non-issue. But what about those occasions where a Megapixel IP Camera is needed in a remote location with limited network access? It used to be that there were only two viable options for reliably delivering sufficient bandwidth: 1) Run outdoor-rated Ethernet cable, which is limited to a distance of 328 feet; or 2) Run outdoor-rated fiber, which works at distances greater than 328 feet, but is fragile and expensive. Today, there is a third alternative that is much friendlier to the installer and to the wallet—Wireless Bridging.
What is a Wireless Bridge?
Simply think of a wireless bridge as an Ethernet cable that runs over the air. It is a way of using two or more wireless access points (APs) to broadcast data from one point to another. A wireless bridge can be implemented as “point-to-point,” with one root AP and one client AP (see Image 1); or as “point-to-multipoint,” with one root AP and multiple client APs. Once a connection is made between the APs, the client AP can then be connected via a standard Ethernet cable to a switch and/or other devices for delivering network connectivity to the remote location.
What are the Benefits of Wireless Bridging?
Wireless bridging has been around roughly as long as we have had wireless networking. However, the offerings for use in home and small business have historically been limited, not to mention expensive and difficult to install. As wireless networking has become more a part of the home and business landscape, the offerings have grown exponentially. Now it is possible to run a wireless bridge with good bandwidth at distances of a mile or more with the right equipment and environment. This opens a whole new world of possibilities that we did not have just a few years ago. For instance, we can now run a connection from a residence to an entrance gate without disturbing the landscaping, structures or even requiring another power source. We simply install two access points (AP’s) running in bridge mode to pass data as if it were a length of Ethernet—removing the need for expensive cabling and trenching.