Can industrial wireless networks successfully handle video transmissions? The short answer is yes, but if you say “video,” most people automatically think YouTube or Netflix.

Video, however, plays a crucial role in many industrial applications, enhancing security measures, deterring vandalism, increasing safety and monitoring remote locations or operations.

One of the most interesting uses of video that we’ve seen was a preventive maintenance application at a coal mine. Before starting the mine’s conveyor belts each day, operators needed to check whether the belts carried any leftover material, which would need to be removed before start-up to prevent damage and unnecessary downtime. Selectively placed cameras allowed operators to quickly review all the belts with minimal effort.

Since cameras like ESTeem’s Remote Video Link practically function as stand-alone computers, video also plays a useful role in troubleshooting problems. Thanks to advanced programming, today’s intelligent cameras can be set to begin transmitting video when a change in pixels occurs. Depending on the application, that change could be the approach of a car or an equipment malfunction. Best of all, intelligent cameras can include up to two minutes of recording before the incident occurs, which can provide critical information to help prevent future problems.

Regardless of the application, all video faces the same challenge: adequate bandwidth. Most of today’s industrial video applications use a digitally encoded video stream that turns the video image into digital data that is transported via Ethernet.  Most of the cameras themselves have a built-in video encoder that can be accessed through a computer program or web interface. 

That digital data is dense and requires a large amount of bandwidth.  How much through-put is required is based upon the efficacy of the encoder, size of video image, frames per second and quality of the image. 

Other challenges occur when the video needs to be transmitted over very long distances (miles) or originates in areas (such as across a roadway or waterway) that are inaccessible or too expensive to reach by other means.

Wireless networks, of course, are often the best answer for challenges related to distance and access – and they can be the right answer for video transmission, given the right equipment.

As a rule, we try to provide at least 1.5 Mbps for each video stream within the network. That means if there are three cameras all providing video, we would want at least 4.5 Mbps total to handle video on that network.

Taking those parameters into account, our high-speed Horizon series of wireless radios (available in 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz, 4.9 GHz and 5.8 GHz) is an excellent choice for wireless video transmission. These wireless radios not only provide the requisite data through-put but also offer significant advantages for industrial applications.

Like all our radios, the Horizon series is specifically engineered for industrial use and features a NEMA4 case, allowing the camera to be mounted outdoors or in other harsh environments. Additional advantages include:

  • Simple configuration
  • Unsurpassed speed and range
  • Complete and secure connectivity
  • Scalable IndustrialMESH technology that enables redundant, self-healing networks

The take-away here is that you can’t haphazardly add cameras to your industrial wireless network if you expect reliable video transmission. That can only occur if you carefully plan and execute a network capable of delivering the high speed and bandwidth that video demands.

ESTeem has the equipment and the experience to provide that network. Contact us today to learn how our expertise can overcome your most difficult networking problems.