As a happily married man it is a rare occurrence when my wife Joan and I have been apart for more than one or two days in a row. At this writing Joan is off on an extended business trip, and I finally have complete and total control of the house, at least until my daughter gets home after school. With the wife gone I can blast Whitesnake as loud as I like, sleep without someone kicking me for snoring, and eat from all of the “bad” food groups. My daughter and I plan to dive into a dinner lineup including pizzas, bacon and eggs, and the world’s finest takeout fried chicken, Harold’s of Chicago (fried in beef fat… oh yeah!).

I also get the opportunity to haul a bunch of equipment out and cover the kitchen table with the latest and greatest technology available to our industry. In this month’s column we tackle the Altronix eBridge100RMT long range Ethernet/PoE transceiver system.

My faithful readers know that I believe there is gold to be found in existing coax cables that have been previously installed for analog CCTV cameras. And there are a number of manufacturers who are presently producing Ethernet/PoE transmission devices and systems. With the ample bandwidth inherent in coax cables, these existing wire runs can be used to provide a path for inexpensively upgrading old analog CCTV systems.

To test the Altronix eBridge connectivity system I first connected two rolls of RG-59 coax and tested the completed cable for distance using the Ideal Industries VDV II Pro tester to determine the overall length.

Altronix literature states that the eBridge transceiver/receiver devices can transmit full 100 Mbps Ethernet over up to 500 meters (1,640 feet) of coax cable. However, existing coaxes that were previously installed for analog CCTV are typically 1,000 feet or less, so testing the devices at roughly 1,000 feet is a “real world” cable length.

After the distance test I connected an Axis 1346 camera to the far end and programmed it to transmit a 2 MP video stream. The PoE power was supplied by a TRENDnet TPE S44 eight-port PoE Ethernet switch. Once the devices were all connected and powered, everything was aces.

So the primary issue of functionality is settled: the Altronix eBridge products perform as advertised.

The next question is why should you use these transceivers instead of those from another vendor? As I see it, there are four primary benefits of using this eBridge technology. First, these devices will deliver full 100 Mbps bandwidth out to the rated distances, provided that the coax is properly terminated. Second, eBridge can transmit both PoE or PoE+, so based on the PoE network switch used, either standard or high-power PoE can be delivered to remote IP devices. The third reason is that the dealer cost of an eBridge coax receiver/transceiver set is substantially less than some other vendors’ products. And the fourth reason is that Altronix products are actually made in the U.S., specifically in Brooklyn, N.Y. Without being jingoistic I try to buy American-made whenever possible, which is becoming increasingly difficult in our industry.

So get yourself an Altronix eBridge-100RMT kit which includes the transceiver/receiver set and start saving thousands of dollars in installation labor and wire costs by exploiting the existing coax cables that our industry has been installing for years. And keep America producing products.