Axis 247S Video Server (Analog to Digital)

I recently installed a pair of Axis 247S video servers with a pair of Topica TP-6360WBC-DN analog cameras attached to a ZoneMinder video server at one of our VSS(1) client sites. For those of you looking for quick information – the Axis 247S works great with ZoneMinder. One can use the Axis presets for their network cameras when setting up the monitors in ZoneMinder.

Now for the details.

The physical install included running LAN backbone cable to the punchdown block near the 8-port Linksys POE(2) switch as well as to jacks near where the cameras were to be installed. Four 3′ patch cables were used, two at the switch <-> punchdown block and one at each jack <-> 247S. The cameras were ordered with 25′ of Video / Power extension cable to connect to the Axis 247S video servers on the analog side. Also a pair of pigtails were ordered to power the cameras using the Axis 247S power connector. This is a sweet solution for powering the cameras as it avoids having to use the wall warts that come with the cameras. Also the whole thing is powered using POE meaning the power is also provided through a battery backup to keep the entire system up during short power outages or brown-out conditions.

Each Axis 247S was connected singly (as they all default to 192.168.0.90) and configured using the Firefox web browser off the VSS while running X with fluxbox on the VSS. Since the camera LAN segment on a 192.168.0.* subnet is separated from the end-user’s other LAN segment on a 10.10.10.* subnet this is the simplest way I know to configure them for use with the ZoneMinder server (especially since I forgot to take my laptop with me). The ZoneMinder server is configured like all our ZoneMinder servers with two gigabit ethernet network connections. One goes to the POE gigabit switch powering the cameras and the other connects to the client’s existing LAN. This keeps the bandwidth needed for the cameras off the client’s LAN. Once each Axis 247S was configured using its’ internal web interface it was added to the ZoneMinder server as a monitor using motion detection (modect). A tweak on each to lengthen the recording sequence so as to avoid the ext3 filesystem problem with 32000 directories (these folks keep 90 days of video and each event gets its’ own directory!) and the system was working great.

For the record, our next ZoneMinder VSS will be using XFS for the filesystem so as to avoid the problem with ext3 and 32000 directories.

(1) VSS – Video Surveillance System|Server

(2) POE – Power Over Ethernet

Gene

ZoneMinder – Video Surveillance

ERACC started offering and installing ZoneMinder based video surveillance systems around 2.5 years ago. To date we have installed four of these systems and still manage one of them (the other three businesses where we had installed are now out of business and their assets were sold). ZoneMinder is an OSS application that typically runs on a Linux based host. ERACC custom builds the system based on customer needs. ERACC also installs the system and offers on-site and off-site management and upgrades (for a fee).

Currently I am working on adding two analog cameras with Axis analog to digital converters attached to the one system we still manage. The four cameras that exist on the system now are all Axis digital cameras. The analog cameras will be used to get close-up views of the transactions at our client site with an eventual analog capture and overlay from the PCs that print the customer tickets. The reason I decided to not go all analog or add-on an analog capture card is the fact that with a digital system running on its’ own LAN subnet the physical server location can be anywhere on or off the client site providing there is a network connection available to each camera. Therefore with the Axis converters we keep the flexibility to move the server without being tied to the limitations of analog.

The server itself at this client site is running Fedora Core 6 with a single-core AMD AM2 CPU and 2GB of RAM with the camera feeds capturing on motion detection at 5 frames per second at this point. This server is getting an upgrade to a dual-core AMD AM2 CPU and 4GB of RAM. The storage drive for the video data is a 750GB SATA drive. ZoneMinder is configured to keep 90 days of video per camera. So far this uses about 50% of the storage drive. I plan to adjust the frames per second down a bit on each camera when I add the two new cameras so as to cut back on the processing overhead and to keep the 90 days per camera storage capability. After reviewing the client’s needs I figure 2 or 3 frames per second is really all that is needed for this site.

If one is considering installing or upgrading a video surveillance system one cannot go wrong using Linux and ZoneMinder in my opinion.

Gene