Thrifty Ways to Extend the Reach of Video Links via Cat5e/6 or Fiber

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The backbone of any dedicated video system, whether deployed for closed circuit television (CCTV) security and surveillance, home automation, classroom video, digital signage, multi-room home theater, guestroom entertainment or boardroom presentations, are the connecting cables. As the complexity of a system increases, cabling costs add up quickly. But there are more economical alternatives.


The traditional way of linking multiple cameras to a monitor or distributing a video source to multiple displays is through coaxial, VGA and RCA cables. The problem is that wiring costs can become prohibitive as multiple cables are need­ed for each AV channel. Also, keeping track of proliferating cables becomes more difficult even as you liberally wrap cable bundles in tape. And the distance between source and display may be severely restricted due to a conventional cable’s signal-range limitations or difficulty in maintaining signal integrity when the cable is crimped around a corner.

A more flexible and less costly alternative is routing the audio and video through Cat5e/6 wiring or fiber optic cables.

Enter MuxLab, a company that since 1984 has been successfully piggy-backing video signals on top of unconventional types of wiring. The designer and manufacturer of connectivity solutions got its start channeling surveillance video over copper twisted-pair cabling, the type of inexpensive wiring found, for instance, in a residential data-grade cabling system. Later, with the proliferation of local area networks, MuxLab took advantage of the increased bandwidth of Ethernet-type (Cat5e/6) cables to pump high-definition video and multiple video channels through these carriers. More recently, as fiber optic cabling proliferated, the company developed even more robust systems for moving video across greater distances and with even greater fidelity.

While closed circuit television (CCTV) applications remain a large part of the MuxLab mix, that’s mainly a result of today’s surveillance society and agencies looking for cost-effective solutions. But MuxLab has branched out to serve a variety of audio/video needs including multimedia presentations in classrooms, guestroom entertainment in hotels and resorts, digital signage in malls, presentation systems in corporate boardrooms and, perhaps the most customized application of all, multi-room video distribution in the home with a focus on home theater installation.

Even after a system is up and running, MuxLab adds value because cameras and/or displays can be added without necessarily poking holes in walls or doing a lot of rewiring. A MuxLab installation is highly extensible without breaking the bank.

The MuxLab HD-SDI Extender Kit (Transmitter/Receiver) enables HD-SDI (high definition serial digital interface) signal transmission using Cat5e/Cat6 cables in point-to-point configuration at all resolutions. The kit allows signals to be transmitted up to 330 feet (100 m) using Cat5e and 400 feet (122 m) with Cat6. It supports uncompressed, unencrypted digital video (optionally including embedded Audio and/or Time Code) within television facilities at speeds of up to 2.97/3.0 Gbps. It features sync and SDI detect LED diagnostics.

For longer distances and more robust signal handling, fiber optic cables are a better choice. The MuxLab 500710 HD-SDI Fiber Extender Kit is designed to extend the transmission of uncompressed, un-encrypted HD-SDI video up to 1000-feet (300 m) via a multi-mode cable or up to 19 miles (30 km) via a single-mode cable. Data rates of up to 2.97/3.0 Gbps can be achieved. The fiber extender kit supports up to 3G-SDI. Applications include video production, broadcasting live events, studio-to-studio post production, medical imaging, mobile video, HD/SD routing, high-def CCTV and medical imaging. The kit comes in a hard plastic carrying case. It includes two modules, two power supplies, a camera power cable and a 2-year warranty.

MuxLab HD-SDI Extender Kit 500700 (Transmitter/Receiver)
Environment SDI Single Link: SD, HD & 3G
Devices Camcorders, video processors, monitors, projectors, scan converters, CCTV cams/DVR and any equipment supporting HD-SDI single link 
Standards SMPTE 259M (270 Mbps), SMPTE 292M & SMPTE 424M
Speed 270 Mbps, 1.485 Gbps & 2.97 Gbps (automatic selection)
Format Tested SD: 525i, 59.94 Hz & 625i, 50 Hz
HD: 1035i, 60 Hz & 1080i, 50 Hz & 1080p, 30 Hz & 1080i, 60 Hz & 1080p
25 Hz & 1080i, 50 Hz & 1080p, 24 Hz & 720p, 60 Hz
3G: 1080p, 4:2:2, 10b, 60 Hz & 1080p, 4:2:2, 10b, 50 Hz &
720p, 4:4:4:4, 10b, 60 Hz & 720p, 4:4:4:4, 10b, 50 Hz &
1080p, 4:4:4:4, 10b, 30 Hz & 720p, 4:4:4:4, 10b, 30 Hz &
1080p, 4:4:4:4, 10b, 25 Hz & 720p, 4:4:4:4, 10b, 25 Hz &
1080p, 4:4:4:4, 10b, 24 Hz & 720p, 4:4:4:4, 10b, 24 Hz &
1080i, 4:4:4:4, 10b, 30 Hz & 1080i, 4:4:4:4, 10b, 25 Hz &
1080p, 4:4:4, 12b, 30 Hz & 1080p, 4:4:4, 12b, 25 Hz &
1080p, 4:4:4, 12b, 24 Hz & 1080i, 4:4:4, 12b, 30 Hz &
1080i, 4:4:4, 12b, 25 Hz & 1080p, 4:2:2, 12b, 30 Hz &
1080p, 4:2:2, 12b, 25 Hz & 1080i, 4:2:2, 12b, 30 Hz &
1080i, 4:2:2, 12b, 25 Hz
Indicators Power on (on both ends)
Signal detect (on rx side)
Synchronization detect (on both ends)
Link between the two units working (on both ends)
Connectors 1 x BNC (75 ohm female)
1 x RJ45S (for Cat 5e/6 unshielded or shielded twisted pair)
1 x power connector (2 mm)
Maximum Distance Cat5e UTP/STP: 330 ft (100 m)
Cat6 UTP/STP: 400 ft (122 m)
Power Supply 2 x 100 - 240 V / 12 V DC (1.25 A) power supplies with interchangeable blades for NA, EU & UK
Power Consumption 4 W (transmitter); 8 W (receiver)
Operating Temperature 32 to 104°F (0 to 40°C)
Storage Temperature  -4 to 185°F (-20 to 85°C)
Humidity Up to 95% (non-condensing)
Compliance Regulatory, FCC, CE, RoHS; Flammability, 94V0 
Enclosure Aluminum
Dimensions 4.5 x 3.0 x 1.25" (11.4 x 7.6 x 3.2 cm)
Weight 2.5 lb (1.1 kg)
HD-SDI Fiber Extender Kit 500710 (Transmitter/Receiver)
Environment SDI Single Link: SD, HD & 3G
Devices Monitors or any equipment supporting SDI single link
Standard Supported SMPTE 259M (270 Mbps), SMPTE 292M & SMPTE 424M; SMPTE 297-2006
Bit Rates 270 Mbps, 1.485 Gbps & 2.97 Gbps (automatic selection)
Indicators Power; Signal Present
Connectors on Each Unit 1 x BNC (75 ohm female)
1 x LC Optical fiber connector
1 x power connector (2 mm)
Maximum Distance Coax: 330 ft (100 m) on RG59
Multimode Fiber: 1000 ft (300 m)
Singlemode Fiber: 3G 6.6 mi (10 km); HD 13.2 mi (21 km); SD 19 mi (30 km)
Optic Link  One multimode or singlemode fiber with LC connector - Class I laser
Camera Power Cable 1 x cable to power the transmitter from a camera with a Hirose connector HR10A-7P-4P(73) and 2 mm locking connector
Included Power Supply 2 x 100 - 240 V / 12 V DC (6 W) power supplies with interchangeable blades for NA, EU & UK
Power Consumption 1.25 W (transmitter); 1.25 W (receiver)
Operating Temperature 32 to 122°F (0 to 50°C)
Storage Temperature  -4 to 185°F (-20 to 85°C)
Humidity Up to 95% (non-condensing)
Module Enclosure Metal (black)
Compliance Regulatory, FCC, CE, RoHS; Flammability, 94V0
Module Dimensions 3.0 x 3.0 x 1.0" (7.6 x 7.6 x 2.5 cm) excluding connectors
Carrying Case Dimensions 10 x 9.0 x 4.0" (25 x 23 x 10 cm)
Weight 3.5 lb (1.5 kg)