The Financial Business Case for Modernizing Your Existing and New Physical Security Systems

upgrading physical security

Reduce the Cost and Increase the Benefits of Security System Upgrades and Additions


Many properties are equipped with security or other building systems that are outdated and in need of upgrading or replacement. However, the cost of network infrastructure often renders such projects unaffordable, especially when traditional office LAN technology is used for sizable installations or upgrades, where the network infrastructure cost can exceed the cost of the connected devices. Fortunately, this no longer needs to be the case.

Recent technological advancements present a unique opportunity for medium and large organizations to upgrade or expand their physical security or other building systems while enhancing their facilities’ sustainability. By utilizing modern networking technologies, these organizations can achieve high-performance networking with reduced energy consumption and cable e-waste, all at a deployment project total cost savings of 50% to 80% compared to traditional technology deployments.

This paper primarily focuses on electronic physical security systems and includes examples of improvements and cost savings in other systems. Although some technical information is provided, the main purposes of this paper are to make the business case that Modern LAN technology should be considered for how it could contribute to existing or future system deployments and to provide a document you can share with the appropriate strategic, tactical and operational stakeholders involved in the network design and implementations for your building systems.

What is Different Now?

The current landscape differs from the past due to the emergence of standards-based networking technology developed to meet Industrial IoT needs, including those of building systems. However, business IT network designers, who are familiar with general-purpose office systems, often lack expertise in Modern LAN network technologies designed for purpose-built control systems, communications systems, and their IoT devices.

Two key cost factors are involved. Firstly, Modern LAN technology is designed to reuse existing cabling, such as coax and UTP wiring, used in earlier generations of analog cameras and telephone systems. This reuse is a major factor in making modern office LAN equipment more cost-effective, eliminating the need to rip-and-replace cabling. Secondly, Modern LAN technology can extend Power over Ethernet connections up to 6,000 ft, far exceeding the 328 ft limit of office LAN technology. This extended range significantly reduces the amount of network equipment, power, and air-conditioned wiring closet (IDF room) space required.

Technology Environmental Impacts

Modern LAN technology operates on a fraction of the electrical power required for office LAN technology due to the reduced equipment needs. Reducing electrical energy use and eliminating e-waste, including reusing copper cables, are key sustainability objectives for today’s organizations. An organization’s sustainability profile is increasingly important, influencing annual public financial reports, business financing, investor decisions, partnerships, and customer purchasing decisions.


LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) sustainability standards and certifications are crucial. LEED sustainability categories related to their certifications include, Energy Efficiency, Materials and Resources purchasing, Sustainability Innovation. Similarly, BREEAM categories include Energy, Materials, and Waste. The larger the networking deployment, whether new or upgraded, the greater the impact on LEED or BREEAM certification ratings.

Example Cost and Environmental Impacts

To those unfamiliar with large-scale Modern LAN networking projects, the size of the cost savings and environmental impacts can be quite surprising.

Cruise Line Security Camera Upgrade

A recent cruise line eight-ship upgrade from analog security cameras to IP cameras saved $4 million in network infrastructure costs and prevented 120 tons of rip-and-replace e-waste. They increased the number of IP cameras in all public areas using an adapter that supports up to four IP cameras over a single coax cable run. The installation process took two weeks per ship, as opposed to the original plan to run CAT6a cable throughout that would have taken two months per ship and curtailed the number of cruise trips.

Customs and Border Patrol 10,000 Camera Upgrade

A government agency modernized its outdated analog surveillance system by replacing 10,000 analog cameras with intelligent IP cameras across 360 customs offices and border crossings. Reusing the existing camera cable saved over $3 million, prevented over 60 tons of cable e-waste (electronic waste), and reduced planned deployment time by 80%.

Global Credit Rating Organization

The organization upgraded 1,500 desk phone users to a new IP voice system to access advanced features like call recording, call accounting, mobility, unified communications, and call center capabilities. The original plan involved replacing existing CAT3 cabling with CAT6a cables, and installing PoE switches and new backup power systems all estimated at $1.8 million. An 18-month disruptive deployment plan involved moving sets of employees between workstations. Opting to reuse the existing CAT3 cabling and installing long-range PoE switches at a cost of $300,000 eliminated the need for extensive building remodeling and the associated business disruption.

Leading Global Jewelry Chain

This retailer planned to upgrade low-resolution analog cameras to high-resolution IP cameras across all facilities. By leveraging the existing coax cable, the first 30 locations were recently upgraded at less than half the original cost – $195,000 instead of $500,000. The planned cable e-waste was eliminated.

Multinational Food Company

A large multinational food company with 4,000 analog phone across 47 locations upgraded is analog phone system with an IP voice solution, reusing the existing CAT3 phone system cable, eliminating the originally planned CAT3 replacement with CAT6a cable, preventing over 12 tons or e-waste. No new IDF rooms were needed, and the infrastructure costs were reduced by more than $1.2 million. The upgrade was performed in four months compared to the original 18-month forecast.

Large Power Station

A large power station wanted to upgrade its outdated analog cameras with IP cameras. The power station’s camera coaxial cabling was cemented underground. Ripping and replacing the existing cabling would cause structural damage, significant cost increases, and require months of additional work. Reuse of the existing cabling avoided 300 pounds of cabling e-waste. The significantly reduced infrastructure costs allowed the station to allocate more budget to high-quality cameras.

Ethernet Extenders

Ethernet extender products first emerged several decades ago to address the need for Ethernet connections exceeding the standard 328 ft. limit without the necessity of additional network closets and their associated HVAC and power requirements. Initially designed for a few connections, these extenders catered to slower network speeds at that time.

As network speeds and demand for more connections increased, newer Ethernet extenders evolved to support higher speeds and greater traffic volumes. Some support PoE. However, many early extenders struggled with high-volume traffic and maintaining the quality of service essential for voice or video systems. Most couldn’t provide enterprise-grade networking capabilities, often introducing latency and errors, complicating network troubleshooting due to their lack of network protocol-level functionality and visibility in network monitoring tools. A few vendors make switches supporting PoE over long range Ethernet, but for the most part most such switches lack the enterprise grade switch functionality.

Networks for medium- and large-scale security systems, VOIP phone systems, public address (PA) systems, and other building infrastructures necessitate fully manageable networks. This includes the need for extended Ethernet segments that are manageable and compatible with the connected network layers. To meet these demands, enterprise-grade long-range PoE products are essential, similar to those that facilitated the Modern LAN deployments highlighted on the previous page.

Enterprise Grade Long range Ethernet

There are several reasons why many network designers in large enterprise organizations might not consider long-range Ethernet products for new network designs or expansions:

  • Previous Bad Experiences: Some have had negative experiences with earlier Ethernet extender products.
  • Lack of Awareness of Standards-Based Enterprise-Grade Products: Others may not have evaluated IEEE standards-based products independently certified for performance capabilities required by enterprise networks, leading to a misconception that suitable long-range Ethernet technology does not exist.
  • Manufacturer Limitations: In some cases, manufacturers lacked:
    • Product line that could satisfy all the long range Ethernet requirements.
    • An advanced in-house network testing and compatibility laboratory.
    • Documented results of performance testing and product comparisons.
    • Support personnel with enterprise-grade networking experience.
    • Similar existing customer deployments to reference.
    • Offers cost-free proof of concept deployments.
    • Detailed product documentation on networking capabilities and compatibilities.
    • Commitment to innovation and thought leadership (including helping customers overcome networking challenges and barriers).
    • Professional services capability for design and implementation support.
  • Geographical and Regulatory Constraints:
    • Products were not manufactured in North America.
    • Products lacked approval for use in U.S. government facilities.
  • Misrepresentation: Instances of manufacturers making false claims on their websites.

Consequently, network designers who have had a bad experience or could not find previously acceptable technology are often reluctant to consider newer technologies, dismissing them automatically without further evaluation.

Vendor and Product Evaluation

When evaluating long-range PoE solutions, consider the following key factors:

  1. Company Commitment and Offering: Assess whether Long Range PoE is a core or complementary offering for the provider. Evaluate their range of solutions, from basic unmanaged units to sophisticated managed systems.
  2. Features & Capabilities: Examine the feature set, paying particular attention to the power strategy, including aspects like redundancy and hot-swappable power supplies, which are essential for minimizing downtime. Network
  3. Core Technology: The underlying technology, such as HomePlug, MOCA, VDSL, ADSL, or Straight Ethernet, greatly impacts performance. Consider the bandwidth (symmetrical or asymmetrical) and its suitability for the deployment environment and endpoint requirements.
  4. Technology and Performance:
  • Bandwidth: Assess the implications of duplex (full or half) and bandwidth type (symmetrical vs. asymmetrical) on network performance and reliability.
  • Latency: Evaluate the impact of latency, particularly for real-time applications like voice or video, where low latency is crucial.
  • Noise/Crosstalk: Be mindful of noise production, especially in large deployments, as it can cause interference, device slowdown, and packet loss.

Selecting the appropriate long-range PoE solution requires a thorough evaluation of the provider’s commitment, features and capabilities, core technology, and overall performance, including bandwidth, latency, and noise considerations.

Modern LAN Technology

In the past, the capabilities and value of physical security systems were often constrained by the technological limits of the time. Fortunately, we have moved beyond that era. Today, we are entering an age where our knowledge and design thinking are the primary limitations, thanks to the increasingly rapid pace of technological advancement.

Despite such growth, many physical security system communication infrastructures are still being designed using network models that are 40 years old. Recognizing this, in 2018, the global analyst firm Frost & Sullivan studied the contemporary networking landscape for IoT systems, including building control and physical security systems. They concluded that traditional office LAN network design practices are unsuitable for high device-count systems like security systems, which often require PoE network connections extending up to 2000 feet or more.

In response, Frost & Sullivan developed the Modern LAN design principles. These principles guide deploying new standards-based long-range PoE networking technology, now delivering impressive results across various business sectors. These sectors include education, hospitality, healthcare, government, manufacturing, retail, transportation, building design and construction, and property management.

There is an opportunity for organizations that have previously deployed many IDF rooms, unaware of or without access to long-range PoE technologies, during future network expansions. Consider how long-range PoE technology could enable the repurposing of some existing network equipment. By replacing shorter Ethernet runs with longer ones, existing equipment can be freed up for use in network expansion projects, potentially leading to considerable savings.

For more in-depth information download the eBook titled, “Future-Ready Network Design for Physical Security Systems: How to avoid under-designing and overspending on your physical security system networking.”

Learn more about NVT Phybridge PoE innovations.

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