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5 Things You Should Know Before Buying a Video Surveillance Management Platform

Municipalities, law enforcement agencies, large enterprises and educational institutions are continuing to invest in video surveillance and monitoring to ensure public safety. The roll-out of IP-based cameras and reasonably-priced reliable wireless networks, has led to a revolution in networked cameras and city-wide coordination of these cameras.  In order to manage and make sense of the raw footage that these camera create, a strong video management system (VMS) must exist.

Video management is the most important tool and can make or break the success of your video surveillance deployment. And what we’ve seen in our practice is that it’s such a new technology to the person responsible for implementation, that they are often challenged to find a solution when they don’t quite understand all of the intricacies involved in choosing a platforms.

This is why we’ve created a list of the top five things you should look for when investing in a video surveillance management platform.

1. Ease of use—from the system management perspective. The key functions of a VMS is to manage the behavior of the surveillance cameras—which camera’s work together, where they should point to when an event happens and who can see the data from which groups of cameras. Look for a VMS that enables camera grouping, user rights grouping (who can look at which cameras and which footage from those cameras), system-wide monitoring from “every pane of glass”, and a robust rules engine that allows you to customizes your data and access rules as needed. The right platform will save you hundreds of hours of work over less expensive and robust systems.

2. Ease of use—from the end user perspective. Once you’ve deployed your VMS and done that well, the success of city or department-wide adoption of the platform will largely depend on the ease of use for the end-user, both in the operations center and out in the field. Here are some things you should consider. Is it a clean interface without distractions? Users of the VMS need to be focusing on the images coming through, not on distractions delivered by the VMS. How much system resources does the VMS use on end user devices? You’ll want a fast and light interface that uses low system resources on portable devices such as laptops, tablets or cameras with very little memory or hard disk space. Your VMS needs to have flexible camera viewing so that your end users can get the best possible angles and it should have multiscreen support. Finally a great VMS will have an intelligent, optimized workflow built in, optimized workflow that makes it easy to find, retrieve, export and hand off video when needed.

3. Security. The end-goal of most video surveillance footage is to use that footage for prosecutor purposes. Because of complex “chain-of-evidence” laws, the gathering and distribution of video footage must adhere to strict guidelines. In order to protect theses chain of evidence guidelines, your VMS should come with a few key security features. First you should be able to encrypt exported video and then digitally sign the exported video for tracking purposes. Finally, you should be able to export your video in to a priority format with an embedded player and lock down the original video once it’s been exported. Granular user rights, proprietary formatting and “lock downs” help to keep video pure and out of the reach of others to reduces mass distribution (i.e. YouTube) of crucial evidence.

4. Open Platform.  After several years, VMS solutions are now becoming commonplace. Most people understand them and there are some true market leaders. What people are finally understanding is that video camera networks combined with VMS can bring to the table so many more things that simply recording video and spending hours culling though all of that content.  In the last two years there has been an enormous upswing in add-on application that move these systems from a complex, reactive tool  to an easy to use, pro-active crime fighting solutions. Integration with numerous camera manufacturers, device manufacturers, and 3rd party applications such as Hawkeye, Briefcam, Agent VI  have made things like gun-fire detection, license plate recognition and culing though hours of video in less than 10 minutes a possibility.  However, in order for these applications to be useful, your VMS must be an open platform with open APIs. If your VMS cannot easily integrate with other solutions, your surveillance network applications will be limited.

5. Migration Path. Finally, question the migration path of your VMS. Most initial deployments of a video surveillance network are small and limited in scope.  Because of this, you may only want to pay for an entry-level VMS solution. Which is fine, initially.  But as the number of networked devices expand, the number applications grow and the number of users increase, you’ll need to upgrade your VMS.  Make sure that what you are buying today can grow with your network to avoid forklift upgrades and retaining of staff.

There are a number of VMS solutions available on the market today. WLANmall has helped many cities, schools, local law enforcement agencies and large agencies create surveillance clouds as well as more complex distributed deployments using the Milestone XProtect software. We’re here to help if you have questions during your evaluation.

5 Things you Should Know Before Buying a Network Switch for Video Applications

Network switches manage the flow of data across a network by transmitting a received message only to the one or more devices for which the message was intended. Each networked device connected to a switch can be identified using a MAC address that allows the switch to regulate the flow of traffic. This maximizes the security and efficiency of the network.

For your video surveillance networks, network switches become critical because video traffic is so sensitive to delays and network conditions. Without adequate management of video traffic, most video can be unreadable when received by those who need to view and store the images. Since network switches are critical to your video surveillance network, we’ve created a list of the top five criteria you should evaluate before making your purchase decision. Continue reading

5 Things You Need to Know When Selecting a Video Storage Solution

The surveillance industry is transitioning from analog to digital at rapid pace. CCTVs are becoming “old school” and most city-wide and municipal deployments have moved to high-resolution IP video camera networks.  But the transition from analog to digital is not only taking place in cameras, it’s taking place where few people think to look—it’s how and where these new, high resolution and higher definition images are stored. Analog-based recording solutions — like VHS tapes and film — are being replaced by digital storage on hard drives. As hard drive capacity doubles and cost per unit shrinks by 50% approximately every two years, video surveillance storage technologies are rapidly becoming less expensive, more efficient and progressively more powerful.

As you evaluate which video storage solution is best for your deployment, here are five (5) suggested criteria to evaluate so you can make the right choice for your network and staff.

Continue reading

WLANmall Helps K-12 Schools Simplify E-Rate Category 2 Acquisition

Erate 1WLANmall recently launched a program to help simply the decision-making, application and acquisition process for E-rate funded Category 2 technology.  The universal service Schools and Libraries Program, commonly known as “E-rate,” provides discounts of up to 90 percent to help eligible schools and libraries in the United States obtain affordable telecommunications and internet access. In 2015 alone, E-Rate will be responsible for providing over 10 million students access to the Internet for education campuses.

WLANmall, a leading reseller and integrator of end-to-end wireless solutions, has bundled the best products from leading vendors to create cost-effective, easy-to-manage Wi-Fi networks for schools and school districts. To ease the burden of designing the networks, WLANmall has created suggested product bundles that include Wi-Fi access points, wireless network switches and the ever-important security devices and firewalls needed for intrusion detection and access management. Our suggested vendors include Ruckus wireless, Brocade, Sophos, and Cambium Networks. Continue reading

A Major Milestone in License Plate Recognition

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Here at WLANmall, we’re excited about Milestone Systems new license plate recognition software XProtect LPR 2015, now available for the their Milestone XProtect® video management software suite and Milestone Husky™ NVR range. This software reads license plate information from vehicles and links the information to the corresponding surveillance video.

The 2015 edition is easier to deploy, offers more extensive geographical coverage and enables greater customization. Here are some of the new features that help both integrators and end users use this exciting technology: Continue reading

New Axis corner camera is ideal for correction facilities and psychiatric wards

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Axis Communications recently announced its first corner-mount fixed network camera. The new AXIS Q8414-LVS features a stainless steel anti-grip casing and is extremely impact resistant. Specifically developed for correctional facilities as well as in psychiatric wards, the Q8414 was designed to prevent self-harm and avoid internal conflicts. The sleek corner design lacks ligature points and the anti-grip surface prevents gripping on to the camera during conflicts.

Example of applications would include video surveillance of small rooms in premises like correctional facilities, interview rooms, psychiatric wards, and medical observation rooms as well as elevators and stairwells. Axis designed AXIS Q8414-LVS to feature as few cavities and holes as possible so prisoners and patients cannot stuff anything inside them and eases to cleaning.

The Q8414 has a 1.3 Megapixel or HDTV 720p video stream with P-Iris control and a horizontal angle of view up to 105° covers the entire room without blind spots. With to a built-in microphone and the ability to integrate a networked alarm system via its I/O port, it easily becomes part of the overall surveillance solution

We’ve seen a lot of initial interest in this camera for our municipal correctional facilities.  The Q8414 is just more tool in WLANmalls arsenal that help city and county jailers cope with their daily challenges. To find out more about the Axis Q8414, click here.

Cambium releases software upgrades to improve performance of the PMP 450 and PMP 650 product lines

In January, Cambium Networks released v 13.3 of PMP 450 / PTP 450 and PMP 430 / PTP 230 which continues to improve the PMP 450 platform. New features include:

  • Throughput Optimization mode (5 ms frame size)
  • 7MHz Channel Bandwidth for 3.5 and 3.65 radios
  • Import/Export of Configuration Files
  • Zero Touch Configuration
  • SNMPv3, HTTPS, Ability to disable Telnet, FTP and TFTP
  • Read-Only Accounts for Admin, Install, and Tech
  • Sector Spectrum Analyzer
  • Export of Sessions Status Page

Current owners of Cambium PMP / PTP 450 and 430 can download R13.3 here and the  13.3 Release Notes are located here.

With the recently released 01-40 software for PTP 650, network operators have more performance and flexibility in running their networks. Some of the key features include:

  • Determine which channels are available for expanding your network. Wide-band, always-on spectrum analyzer provides real-time analysis of all channels between 4.9 GHz to 6.05 GHz. Results are displayed graphically in the GUI or available for offline analytics.
  • Tailor the uplink/downlink capacity of PTP links to the payload/application. New TDD ratios enable adjustment from 50% to 83% Tx/Rx cycles.
  • Add an additional camera or AP to a PTP link without adding a switch. Activate multiple physical ports on the PTP 650 and send data in a parallel virtual path without overhead of adding a switch.
  • Many additional enhancements to performance and management.

Download v 01-40 now from the Cambium Support webpage. You can watch a video on this release and PTP 650 in general by clicking here.

Does this Poodle have Teeth?

untitled (9)A few weeks ago, 3 researchers from Google announced that they have a major security breech on one of the most ubiquitous encryption technologies.

POODLE, which stands for Padding Oracle On Downloaded Legacy Encryption, was found in SSL 3.0(Secure Sockets Layer), is the technology that encrypts a user’s browsing session, making it difficult for anyone using a public Wi-Fi network (Starbucks, McDonalds, etc) to eavesdropped on.

According to Google, an attacker that controls the network between the computer and server could interfere with the handshake process used to verify which cryptography protocol the server can accept using a “protocol downgrade dance”.

This will force computers to use the older SSL 3.0 protocol to protect data that is being sent. Attackers can then exploit the bug by carrying out a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack to decrypt secure HTTP cookie and enable them to hijack someone’s browsing session and do things like take over their email, online banking, or social networking account. To pull off an a Poodle attack the victim has to be actively online and physically close to the attacker — say, using the same public Wi-Fi.

In order to end users to protect your browsing, here are some suggested changes for the most common types of browsers:
• Google Chrome
• Microsoft Internet Explorer

For business managing their own servers, Security software firm Symantec recommends the following:
1. Check to see if your webservers are vulnerable using their free SSL Toolbox.
2. Use tools that support TLS_FALLBACK_SCSV, a mechanism that prevents attackers from forcing Web browsers to use SSL 3.0.
3. Disable SSL 3.0 altogether, or disable SSL 3.0 CBC-mode ciphers
4. Use a cloud-based Web Application Firewall can help protect against this kind of vulnerability

If you have any questions about POODLE, please feel free to email us at info@wlanmal.com.

Siklu’s ExtendMM solution delivers Gigabit throughput with weather-proof availability up to 3.5 miles

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Winter is soon upon us.  Boston has had its first Noreaster of the season and Chicago has already been hit with gale-force winds. So how do deliver highly available Gigabit throughput for distances of 3.5 miles in this inclement weather?

Siklu has created an extended range solution that creates an always-on, all-weather, extended range connection by combining any Siklu EtherHaul-1200 millimeter wave radio (1ft. antenna) with any previously-deployed sub-6 GHz radio.

Siklu’s ExtendMM™ is an extended range solution for all our wireless service providers operating over longer distances. With a single click you turn the two radios into a single high-performance long-distance link that delivers the capacity you need over the distance you require. For inclement weather, when a significant rain event happens, the ExtendMM™ solution automatically switches the high priority traffic, without dropping sessions, from the primary EtherHaul path to the sub-6 GHz path. As the rain cell passes, the link immediately returns to Gigabit speed. No additional networking equipment is needed and you can ensure guaranteed bandwidth and uptime to your customers during these inclement winter months.

If you have one of the following sub 6 GHz radios installed, ExtendMM creates a seamless solution using your installed equipment.

  • Ubiquity
    • Bullet; NanoStation; NanoBridge
  • MikroTik
    • SXT 5HPnD; GrooveA 52HPn; Metal 5SHPn; QRT 5
  • TP Link
    • TL-WA7510N
  • Radwin
    • Radwin 2000
  • Cambium Networks
    • PTP series

To find out more on Siklu’s innovative products, go here.

Ruckus explains the difference between Adaptive Antennas and Transmit Beamforming

Ruckus Wireless does a great job of discussing how their Adaptive Antenna technology has stood the test of time.  With the introduction of 802.11 ac, the notion that transmit beamforming (TxBF) with 11ac replaces the need for Smart Wi-Fi. This common misconception that smart, adaptive antennas—as proprietary Ruckus BeamFlex technology—and transmit beamforming—as a standards-based technology—are one-and-the-same. In this geeky, technical blog, Ruckus explains the differences in the two technologies. You can go to the Ruckus Blog to read more or watch the video on YouTube.