I have a fairly large (for me) security camera system to install and the cost of cabling is keeping this project cost prohibitive. I'll outline what I'd like to do, and welcome comments on the feasibility.

I have 13 apartment buildings that need to have cameras mounted on the outside of them. Some buildings have 4 cameras, some have 3 and some 2. The office is about 700' from the furthest camera, and quite a few are over 500'. There are 31 cameras total, with more than 18 of them over 500' from the office. Running a single analog video/power cable to each camera requires a LOT of cable.

Here is what I'm looking at doing instead:

On each building, use IP based cameras, attach them to a small PoE network switch (with power applied at each switch for it's cameras), and then run a single CAT5 cable to the next building into that building switch's uplink port. The most switches on a single chain would be 4 with a total of 55 megabits of video data. Some chains would be shorter with fewer cameras and switches. There would be LESS than 250' between each switch. The end of each chain would terminate to a video surveillance NVR.

Is this possible, chaining the switches like this?

Thanks for any input.

  • Ensure you get good switches with large bandwidth backplanes. Each switch should be able to carry the traffic of the cameras on it and all the cameras daisy chained to it. Each port that connects the switches will also need to handle the full bandwidth load of everything before it. Generally, this setup leads to major performance problems. Furthermore, a switch failure can take down EVERY camera instead of just a few. The cost of running cables is usually worth it in the long run. – MaQleod Aug 2 '14 at 4:57
  • With 250' (minutes) you mean 250'' (inch)? – Max Ried Aug 2 '14 at 11:45
  • Nope, I meant 250' (250 feet). – bill Aug 2 '14 at 19:08
  • The biggest problem I see with this is nightvision (separate light source for nightvision) for the cameras and heaters for the cameras. Heaters for the cameras if in bad weather location. All of which puts the poe at a disadvantage. Even POE+ is a little short on power for heaters and night vision. Some of the cameras I have seen take more than POE+ can give. – user411234 Jan 22 '15 at 16:02

As long as each switch has its own independent power source for the cameras plugged into it, this should work as long as your NVR can handle that much incoming video. The links between switches should be for data only.

While you're running the wire, you might as well run CAT5e so you can easily upgrade to gigabit PoE switches and higher-res cameras in the future if desired. It wouldn't be a bad idea to use gigabit switches from the start.


Wifi security cameras are also available. That might reduce or even eliminate the amount of remote cabling you have to run. You could link the Wifi cameras to one or more wifi routers, then run a single cable to the router rather than a whole bunch of cables to all of the cameras.

  • 2
    Well, wireless was the first method the complex was asking about. After looking at the distances as well as the fact that quite a few of the residents will have WiFi in their apartments thus causing quite a bit of RF noise, we believe the signal would be greatly degraded. I looked into a mesh network, as well as 900MHz links, but those options bring the cost back up. – bill Aug 2 '14 at 17:39

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