How Fiber Optic Communication Is Used In Network Video?

Fiber-optic has been a source of information transfer in different communication networks for a long time. Telecommunication, analog data transmission, etc are the communication networks that are utilizing fiber optic communication technology currently. However, network video was primarily and conventionally dependent on copper cables. Now with the advancement in fiber optic technology, network video systems have adopted fiber optic communication technology.
This white paper thoroughly gives an overview of the network video system, the use of fiber optics communication technology in network videos, and further installation requirements.

An Overview of Network Video

Network video is a type of communication that utilizes the Internet Protocols (IP) for video signal transmission. This technology is similar to other IP communication technologies like e-mail, web information transfer, computer telephony, etc. However, instead of scripted data, network video technology is used to transfer digital video or audio signals. It is a technology that offers access to open video systems integrated with features like networking, camera intelligence, digital imaging, etc.
It can be wired or wireless, anyway, it transmits audio streams and digital video signals via internet protocol (IP). It is also known as IT-based video surveillance or IP-surveillance technology. The most common uses of this technology are found in surveillance, video production industries, etc. When integrated with fiber-optic communication technology, it is known as a fiber-based network video technology.

Learn About Fiber-optic Communication

The fiber optic cables comprise fibers, which are basically plastic or pure glass strands. The fiber may have a thin or large core, which is clad with a transparent material. This clad jacketed fiber acts as a light tunnel, which facilitates the entry and exit of light. The light properties will not change even if the fiber is twisted or bent. This is because the cladding and core are protected with several other coatings.
The thin core fiber is known as a single-mode fiber, which has a core diameter of 8 micrometers. The single-mode fiber can transmit laser lights of wavelength 1,300 to 1,550 nm. The thin core of these cables means they can support propagation only in one direction. This unidirectional propagation minimizes attenuation and improves their utility for long-distance transmission.
Multimode fibers possess large core diameters ranging from 50 to 100 micrometers or more. They can transmit laser lights in 850 to 1,300 nm. Multimode fibers can support multiple propagations, which creates high attenuation. Owing to this their use is limited to short-distance communication networks. Multimode fibers are also a great choice for high power applications.

An Overview of Fiber Optics in Network Video

Today, fiber optic cables are fast replacing copper cables in video signal transmission. However, there are several networks that still use copper cables. In such networks, IP cameras can be integrated with fiber optics cables using intermediate devices like copper to fiber converters.
In addition to this, the inter-linking components of fiber optics integration to network videos are small form-factor pluggable (SFP) modules, converters, encoders, etc. One or more of these inter-linking components are used to integrate IP cameras with the fiber-optic network. These components enable the connection between the video signal transmitter and the video signal receiver via optical fiber cables.
Discussion over the fundamental and intermediate components of fiber optic communication in the network video system is as follows.

Fundamental Components of Fiber-Optic Communication Network with Network Video System

The network video system with fiber optic integration is made of these three elements:
  • A Source Device: Digital video signals to be transmitted via a network video system is provided by source devices. In the network video system, the source devices are the network cameras. The network cameras perform image capturing in a surveillance or camera system and further transmit video signals.  Here the camera is connected to media converters with an SFP module slot. The modules are inserted into this slot and they convert the data signal received from the source into an optical signal.
  • Fiber Optic Cables: Fiber optic cables are bridging elements or transmission elements that carry forward these digital signals. Based on the operational requirements, the type of fiber optic cables may differ. The operational requirements can be a specific transmission distance, data transmission rate, signal strength, and intermediate device compatibility. The network video system can be supported by simplex, half-duplex or full-duplex, transmission using specific types of fiber optic cables.
  • A Receiver Device: The network video systems consist of receiver panels or system monitoring panels. The receiver panel collects the video data transmitted by fiber optic cables and further monitors or processes it according to the operational requirements. The receiver device is connected to a network switch with an SFP slot for an SFP module. This module connects the signal to the receiver device or devices which may be a monitor and a video recorder or any of these. The SFP module converts optical signals into electrical signals for transmission to the receiver device.
These three fundamental components or elements of the network video system are further interconnected by using intermediate components.
Note: The integration of fiber optics communication into a network video system demands intermediate components to convert electric signals into optical signals and vice versa. The conversion is required because IP cameras transmit captured images and digital video/audio data in the form of an electrical signal. Fiber optics require optical signals, therefore, electrical to optical conversion is essential at the receiving end of fiber optic cable. On the other hand, the fiber optic cable delivers video data in optical format but monitoring panels require an electric form of signals. At this point, the reverse conversion is performed by using intermediate devices like media converters.

Learn About Common Intermediate and Essential Components of Fiber-Optic Communication Network Video System

The following are the intermediate devices used in the network video system while integrating with fiber optics communication technology.
  • SFP Modules: The small form-factor pluggable (SFP) modules are one of the most common types of intermediate devices in fiber-optic networks. The SFP module is a collective unit of transceiver and receiver. The SFP module receives the electrical signal as an input and converts into an optical signal at the source end and it reverses it into an electrical signal at the receivers' end. SFP modules usually feature two ports, of which one is for twisted copper cable and another is for fiber optic cable. In modern IP cameras, the SFP modules are in-built so that it offers easy copper to fiber connectivity.  These SFP modules are manufactured in compliance with multi-source agreement (MSA), therefore are highly trusted types of intermediate components in network video systems with fiber optic cables.
  • Video Encoders: Video encoders are the devices that convert analog signals to digital signals or a digital signal to another format of digital signals. These are popularly used where analog network cameras are utilized and digital signals are required to be transmitted via fiber optic cables. For the network video system utilizes video encoders if it gives output to televisions, digital broadcasting devices, monitoring systems, etc.
  • Media Converters: Media converters are one of the most used intermediate devices in copper-to-fiber video networks. The media converters translate the electronic data into an optical format and vice versa. It has an Ethernet slot or PoE slot for the connection of twisted-pair cable from the network camera and an SFP port for the fiber optic cable connection. In the network video system, media converters can be used in multiple configurations. Daisy Chain Network, Convert Stack Network, etc are common types of configurations in the network video system.
  • Network Switches: Network switches are the devices that direct and trigger the signal transmission to a specific device in the video network system. The network switch collects the data from the source and then enables the transmission to the receiving devices with allotted IP addresses. The network switches are of two types, namely, managed and unmanaged network switches. Managed network switches are used in a network video system for controlled video transmission. Unmanaged network switches can be used for the predetermined path of video transmission.
  • Network Video Recorder (NVR): Network video recorder (NVR) is more like an intermediate technology used to interconnect all the IP cameras under the same network video system. NVR is a specialized video capturing system that operates on an embedded operating system. This system enables software-based video capturing and mass-storage for the network video systems. Often the surveillance networks with IP cameras are supported by an NVR set up to record and stored the video data.
Note: Above listed intermediate components can be used according to the system requirements. It is not mandatory to use all the intermediate components in one network video system with fiber optics. Based on the application requirements, the operator has the discretion to select one or more of the listed intermediate components.

Benefits of Using Fiber Optics in Network Video

Fiber-optic communication network technology has paved its way into several industries. Telecommunication, medical equipment, IT, and many more industries have adopted fiber optics technology as their primary communication technology. In these industries, fiber-optic connections are used for communication over audio and videos. These connections support communication, illumination, and data transmission. With working from home becoming a necessity fiber-optic communication is here to say. What value do fiber optics add to such networks? The following pointers on benefits will help you understand it better.
  • Capable of Long Transmission Distance: Fiber optics cables are recognized for supporting long-distance signal transmission. In the network video system, there may be a requirement for long-distance data transmission from the IP cameras to the surveillance control center. Generally, if copper cable transmission is adopted in network video systems, the signal transmission demands frequent amplification to enable long-distance transmission. On the other hand, in fiber optics, there is minimal attenuation that sustains the signal strength from the receiving end to the delivery end. Therefore, without any need for amplification, the fiber optic cables can transmit video or audio signals up to a distance of 70km. The range of signal transmission distance varies in fiber optic transmission between 10km to 70km depending on the type of fiber optic cable. The maximum transmission rate in fiber optic communication is 10000 Mbit/ sec. Although depending on the type of digital data, either compressed or uncompressed, the transmission rate may differ.
  • Immune to Interferences: Fiber-optic communication networks are immune to environmental changes, electromagnetic signals, radio frequencies, noise, etc. Due to such benefits of fiber optic cables, the network video system can be conveniently used in tactical applications.  Since surveillance cameras are often exposed to harsh outdoor environments, fiber optics offers immunity to the network video system. The use of fiber optics cables in the network video system helps avoid interference in data transmission. Often in copper cable transmission, factors like temperature fluctuations, external noises, moisture, etc, impact the intensity of the video signal. As a result of interference, the video signal loses its strength which further leads to data loss. However, in fiber optics cables, there is no interference therefore there is negligible data loss in a network video system that is integrated with fiber optic communication technology. 
  • Data Security: As a network video system is used for digital video signal transmission from one destination to another, it poses the threat of third party intrusion. It is subjected to problems like data theft, and uninvited operator intrusion. However, fiber optic technology is immune to third-party intrusion too. Therefore if a network video system uses fiber optics cables, there is no access to outside intruders, which offers security against data theft. Therefore, by using fiber optics in network video systems, one can secure sensitive surveillance data from prohibited intruders.

Installation Layout of Fiber Optic Used in Network Video System

Network video systems are integrated with fiber optic communication technology by installing fundamental and intermediate components in a specific installation layout.
The following installation layout is adopted for several industrial applications of network video systems with fiber optics technology.
  • Link all the IP cameras in the network video system to the NVR setup box. The IP cameras are interlinked using an NVR over a software configuration system.
  • Connect NVR output port with SF module/media converter/network switch using a compatible fiber optic cable. Modern IP cameras feature in-built SFP modules, however, if not, then the media converters can be used. Ensure that number of channels supported by the converter are compatible with the number of cameras to be integrated into the network video system.
  • Connect the output port of the media converter or SFP module with the network switches using another fiber optic cable. The network switches are not mandatory, however, if a controlled network video system is to be created, one must use network switches. Managed network switches can be used for complex video networks where monitoring, control, and modification over video transmission are required by the operator. Unmanaged switches can be used for predetermined video transmission systems.
  • Next, connect the receiver panel and the network switch using a cable. The receiver panel may have multiple display devices, video monitoring devices, surveillance live display screens, etc. If there is a need for video display on multiple devices then a video multiplexer can be used between the network switches and receiver panels.
This completes the installation of network video systems with fiber-optic communication Networks.


Owing to the specific benefits of fiber optics, network video systems are embracing fiber optic communication technology instead of traditional copper cables. Network video systems are ideally internet protocol (IP) based video transmission technology. In this white paper, the network video systems with fiber optics are discussed thoroughly. Overview of network video systems, components required for installation of network video with fiber optics, and the installation procedure are discussed in detail. To know more about the products used for the installation of network video with fiber optics, please visit

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