BLOG: How to Choose the Right Switch for Video Security Applications

There are pros and cons to each type of switch configuration and the perfect fit really just depends on the needs of your company's network. For applications involving more than just a few cameras, you need a network to connect the digital cameras to the servers that store and analyze video data. A switch enables multiple devices to be connected onto the same network, and to control or restrict how those devices communicate, you must have the ability to configure the switch. The amount of control you have depends on the type of switch: managed, unmanaged, or somewhere in between. Examining the benefits of each switch type lets you make the right decision for your specific application.

 managed vs unmanaged

A word about cost…

Networks last a long time and require monitoring and maintenance for best results, so in planning your budget, it’s crucial to consider both the purchase price and ongoing operating costs.

Purchase Price
Unmanaged switches are generally cheaper than managed switches because they are much simpler devices. However, this simplicity means they are unable to adapt to changes, so their useful lifespan may be shorter than a managed switch.

Operating Cost
Unmanaged switches must be physically touched to reboot them or change their configuration, which requires skilled engineers onsite. Travel costs, time and business disruption can be unwanted side effects of waiting for fixes. In contrast, managed switches can be remotely controlled, so changes can be made quickly with minimal cost and disruption.

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
Combines purchase price and operating cost over the long term, and can be lower with a managed switch, particularly if the switch is in a remote or hard-to-access location. Additionally, managed switches improve business agility because they can adapt to new requirements and take advantage of new opportunities.

So, how do you choose the right switch for your application?

The table below is a quick guide to the best switches to consider for different applications. An Allied Telesis WebSmart switch has some management ability, and can be a good compromise where a fully-managed switch is not ideal.

switch options

Why use Allied Telesis managed switches in your video surveillance network

Allied Telesis Autonomous Management Framework ™
AMF is an intelligent automation tool that simplifies remote network management and lowers operating costs. It’s ideal for distributed applications such as video surveillance because no skilled resources are required at the edge of the network, where the bulk of time and operating costs are spent.

Virtual Chassis Stacking™ (VCStack)
Surveillance networks must have a steady stream of high-quality video, which increases demands for high performance and reliability. VCStack ensures your network core performance, even if power outages or link failures threaten network disruption.

Advanced Security Features
Security is a paramount concern for networks that exist outside secured buildings. Our managed switches can detect and defeat attackers before they can disrupt operations, by scanning for threats and continuously blocking unauthorized access attempts.

Power over Ethernet (PoE)
For easier management and simplified installation, security cameras are usually powered from the network switch using PoE. Managed switches allow the user to control the flow of power to the camera, which is useful if a reset is required because it can be done remotely without the need for a truck roll.

Continuous PoE (CPoE)
Allied Telesis innovative CPoE allows power to be supplied to the camera while the switch reboots—usually a reboot causes the power to stop. This is ideal for 24/7 surveillance operations where software updates can cause major disruption. With CPoE, the camera does not lose power and can store video locally during switch reboot, so nothing is lost.

Loop Detection
In any network, loops must be avoided because they can create uncontrollable “storms” of traffic that block all other traffic. Loop Detection rapidly detects and shuts down any loops. A common feature in managed switches, this is also included in Allied Telesis unmanaged switches, because loops are easy to accidentally create and can be devastating to an unmanaged network.

Graham Walker