After the publication of my article on what sells in wireless video surveillance, including my suggestion to wireless manufacturers to “stop selling, and start delivering”, John Honovich of IPVideoMarket.info – in his characteristic take-no-prisoners style – commented that Firetide was akin to “the kettle calling the pot black.” Granted, we’ve had our share of “deployments from hell,” but they’ve gotten farther and fewer between, especially since the introduction of our dual-radio product line in 2007.
It still stands true that wireless deployments have a slim margin of error, as I said in the article, and much depends on correct installation and proper selection and placement of antennas.
So why and how do some wireless video deployments fail? Here’s an example: I was copied on an interesting email exchange right before Christmas. As now the tradition, we sent out holiday greetings to our channel partners via email (yes, save the trees). One recipient responded: “These are not happy times. OUR DEPLOYMENT IS NOT WORKING!!!”
I alerted the tech support department and our local sales person. Here’s what the local guy emailed back to the tech support team:
“Just to give you all a short history, this integrator originally tried to install this deployment with omni-directional antennas from the roof of a multi-story hospital building to omni-directional antennas on each of the light poles where they had cameras. The signals were missing each other as the Fresnel zone elevations were out of line.
Per our suggestion they switched over to directional antennas. However, they cheapened out and purchased [non-Firetide approved antennas]. As a courtesy (because I live in the area) I went on site to see why they were still having problems. They had panel antennas at the poles but were trying to use 120 degree sector antennas to pick up multiple poles. I recommended purchasing more wireless mesh nodes but that was rejected. So they only other option was to use splitters to multiple panels which they accepted. But because they did not want to spend the money or take the time to purchase LMR400 cable, they terminated some RG59 cable and it worked.
I’m not too surprised they are now having problems, but they really aren’t Firetide problems. If you cannot resolve the situation remotely, we can send them the contact information for our professional services to fix their system.”
As it turns out, the frantic email was sent out by the office manager (who was not familiar with the history of the deployment), and the GM of the company acknowledged that it was essentially their fault, and they will keep working on the issues.
So that’s  one of the ways how wireless deployments can get the (occasional) black eye.
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/Image via robertlpeters.com; source unknown./