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NVT PASSIVE AND ACTIVE UTP TRANSCEIVERS

 

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WHAT OUR EXPERTS SAY...

Coaxial cable, where would we be without it?  CCTV has become so dependent on coax, as a means of moving video signals from point A to point B, that the alternatives can sometimes be overlooked. Coaxial is generally very reliable, moderately robust, it's easy to handle, relatively cheap and 95% of video devices are designed to use it, in fact it does a lot of things reasonably well, which tends to overshadow one quite fundamental shortcoming, it's not very good for long cable runs, at least not without help from electronic devices, that introduce unwelcome complications and expense.

 

One of those alternatives to coax mentioned a moment ago is the humble twisted pair, a transmission system so simple, elegant and efficient particularly in its immunity to interference --- that sometimes makes you wonder how we have become so dependent on coax? Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) devices for video applications have actually been around for more than two decades but the principle advantage the ability to send and receive complex signals over long distances, without any significant degradation in the quality or increase in noise  -- has tended to be either unfulfilled, or achieved at the same or greater expense as other systems, such as fibre optics, RF or microwave.

 

UTP cables are significantly cheaper than coaxial and from the installers point of view they are also easier to lay having considerably less bulk than coax --- UTP cable can be up to 1/10 the size of coax moreover terminations, connections and joins or junctions are a lot simpler to manage, compared with coaxial and fibre optics. It can be laid in high noise environments and alongside wire bundles carrying telecom, video, data and low voltage power. This could be significant in new buildings or large scale installations, making lower demands on conduit space, fitting in more easily with existing cable runs and taking advantage of data network topologies.

 

Network Video Technologies (NVT) claims to have solved most of the major problems of transmitting video long distances over a twisted pair with its range of passive and active UTP transmitters, receivers and transceivers, four of which we've been looking at for this Bench Test. The passive devices are the NV-213A and NV-213A-M transceivers; in fact they are virtually identical except that the 213A-M is fitted with a male BNC connector so it can be attached directly to the video output socket on the backs of cameras and video devices. The other two products are the NV-653T and NV-652R active video transmitter and receiver modules, which have built in amplifiers for extended range.

 

The four devices can be used in a variety of configurations. A pair of NV-213A/M's will provide a clean link for cable runs up to 300-metres (1000ft). With an NV-213 connected to a camera and a NV-652R active receiver attached to the monitor or switching device cable lengths of up to 1km (3,000 ft) are achievable and depending on the category of cable used a NV-653T and NV-652R receiver and transmitter combination permits cable runs of between 1.6 and 2.4km  (Cat 2/3 and Cat 5).  In addition to standard video signals all of the modules can carry telemetry data for controlling PTZ mechanisms and camera functions. Incidentally, the range also includes short-range passive transceivers (up to 150 metres) plus active and passive rack-mountable transceiver and receiver hubs.

 

All of the devices share a common housing, which is a small black ABS plastic box measuring just 58 x 38 x 25mm. The case is sealed and has mounting plates moulded into either end of the case. The NV-213A/M is a very simple design having just a single BNC connector for the video input, a pair of screw terminals, labelled '+' and '-' for the twisted pair connection and a local earth connection. There's a bit more to on the NV-652R active receiver, in addition to the BNC connector it has a pair of rotary trimmers for adjusting optimum brightness and contrast, according to cable length, two LED indicators showing power on and video status, and a set of screw terminals for 24 volt AC/DC power supply and the twisted pair connection. The NV-653T active transmitter shares the same connections, BNC and LED indicators as the NV-652 but instead of the preset adjustments it has a three-position slide switch for selecting cable length and category.

 

SETUP AND OPERATION

Clearly there is very little here to trouble the installer beyond mounting the units, connecting a short BNC-to-BNC cable from the camera (or mounting it directly on the camera in the case of the NV-213A-M), plus, where necessary, power supply connections for the active modules. Connecting UTP cables is a rare treat for those accustomed to coax and built-in transient protection and single point grounding should make installations more reliable and less prone to hum loops.

 

PERFORMANCE

The claim on the front of the NVT brochure is simple, 'Quality video over ordinary telephone wire'. We tried several combinations of NVT modules in side-by-side comparisons with equivalent lengths of coaxial cable video. In all cases the passive and active units performed very well indeed with no significant increase in noise and no loss of stability on 100 and 250 metre runs. The coaxial setup was showing the strain after just 120 metres with a marked increase in noise and a noticeable drop in image brightness.   

 

OVERALL ASSESSMENT

The modules are very well built, easy to install and setup and the lifetime warranties suggests NVT are reasonably confident about such things as service life. Our basic checks suggest that the NVT modules should perform well in the real world and the cost benefits of the NV-213A/M transceivers should kick very quickly indeed, possibly on runs as short as 200 metres.

 

 

PRODUCT ASSESSMENT

Design and design features                      *****

Circuitry and components                ****

Ease of installation and wiring            *****

Range and variety of functions            ***

Accompanying instructions              ****              

Technical advice and backup            ??    

Value for money                         ****                           

 

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R. Maybury 2001 1405

 


 

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