Wireless switch maker Aruba has added features to manage IP-based CCTV cameras, predicting a boom in wireless public-safety monitoring, which streams digital video direct to staff with mobile devices.

"People are moving to streamed video going to a PDA or a laptop, for on-site response," said Roger Hockaday, director of marketing, EMEA, at Aruba. "Our solution cuts the cost per camera by $500 to $1000, compared to a cabled solution."

Digital video can be sent over any wireless switch, of course, but Aruba has changed the QoS settings to allow a higher priority for video in a version of its firmware due this week, and has partnership agreements with Danish company Milestone Systems, which makes the XProtect video surveillance platform software and Wren Solutions, which integrates enterprise surveillance systems.

The Aruba switch will automatically discover cameras on the network - which can be given a separate SSID and organised on a flat VLAN, with the camera traffic tunnelled to the camera management system, on-site, or off-site over a VPN. The whole package will include storage and search of video, as well as the ability to handle multiple cameras and stream images to mobile staff.

Aruba's AP70 access points have two Ethernet ports, that allow a wired CCTV camera to be placed next to an access point, without any extra cabling, said Hockaday. Wireless cameras can also be placed anywhere outdoors using Aruba's mesh. The video streams are encrypted for security, he said.

“Campus-wide real-time video monitoring for public safety has become a necessity, but until now the cost of deployment has been an impediment to wide scale deployment,” said Aruba customer Charlie Clay, director of voice and data services at Ohio State University. The University has overlaid video on its existing Aruba network.

The move to digital video will boost use of surveillance cameras said Hockaday. "Everyone wants to move to digital, as it has better resolution and imaging capabilities. It can zoom better so fewer cameras are needed, and allows things such as image recognition."

The first markets will be college campuses and transit systems, he said.