Ethernet over Coax Explained

Veracity's HIGHWIRE Ethernet over Coax (EoC) transmission technology revolutionised the way IP video was installed when it was launched back in 2006, and, thanks to its high performance and straightforward, installer-oriented design, remains the universally dominant EoC technology today.  This article explains more about EoC technology, its applications and how to use it.

Ethernet over Coax technology

IP cameras offer many benefits compared to analog equipment, including megapixel resolution and increased intelligence and controllability.  However, a major hurdle to their adoption for upgrading existing sites is the necessity of new cabling.  The cost of laying new Cat 5e cable for network devices can be significant, plus the cable length limitations of Ethernet can be restrictive.

HIGHWIRE provides a means to overcome this hurdle, by re-using the existing analog cabling to create new network connections.  This is possible because, ironically, the RG-59 or similar "analog" coaxial cable that may already be present on a site is actually a better transmission medium for digital data than the UTP cable that would otherwise have replaced it.  Coaxial cable has a higher bandwidth, with lower noise and signal loss, meaning it can carry more data for greater distances: this is why it costs more than twisted-pair network cable.

To take advantage of this existing infrastructure, Veracity developed their unique HIGHWIRE Ethernet over Coax technology from the ground up to provide a full 100 megabit per second connection in both directions simultaneously, even at maximum range, over a single 75 ohm coaxial cable.

Ethernet over Coax applications

While HIGHWIRE is targeted at IP video surveillance applications, it has been used to provide network connections over a variety of coaxial cable types in different situations, including:
New extended network connections, where it is more cost effective than optical fibre
Cable television (CATV) and satellite cabling, including residential and hotel applications
Upgrading of legacy 10BASE2/10-BASE5 (thinnet/thicknet) networks to 100BASE-TX
Pipe and tunnel inspection, deep-sea exploration, rail, radar systems, and other niche applications

How to upgrade analogue coaxial cable to digital

Fortunately, the advanced technology developed to enable HIGHWIRE's unmatched performance also makes HIGHWIRE very straightforward to use, with no specialist knowledge required.
HIGHWIRE Diagram Small
Upgrading an analogue network cable to digital using two standard HIGHWIRE units.

When two HIGHWIRE units are connected together over a coaxial cable, they establish a connetion automatically.  No DIP switches (for speed, master/slave configuration, etc) needs to be set.  And because HIGHWIRE is a low-power technology, the units can be connected to the low-voltage supplies already installed for the old system.

Network connection is also automatic, and no settings such as IP or MAC address need to be made as the Ethernet-to-coax conversion is completely transparent.  This means that, as far as the IP camera and network switch in the diagram above are concerned, they are connected directly by a single cable.