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Cabling and Wiring

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This page provides guidelines and recommendations to consider when cabling and wiring USB-based and/or Ethernet-based OptiTrack motion capture system.

Ethernet Camera System

An Ethernet camera system networks via Ethernet cables. Ethernet-based camera models include PrimeX series (PrimeX 13, 13W, 22, 41), SlimX 13, and Prime Color models. Ethernet cables not only offer faster data transfer rates, but they also provide power over Ethernet to each camera while transferring the data to the host PC. This reduces amount of required cables and simplifies the overall setup. Furthermore, Ethernet cables have much longer length capability (up to 100m), allowing the systems to cover large volumes.

Network Setup

Ethernet cameras connect to the host computer through a Gigabit (1000 Mb/second) Ethernet port. Note: the camera network should be segmented from the office or other local area networks to avoid interference and congestion. If the computer used for capture is connected to an existing network, then a second Ethernet port or add-on network card can be used to connect the camera network. When the camera network is not isolated, frame drops may occur.


Note: Turn off your computer's firewall for the particular network in order to connect the camera network to the host PC.

Ethernet Cable Requirements

Cable Type

There are multiple categories for Ethernet cables, and each has different specifications for maximum data transmission rate and cable length. For an Ethernet based system, Cat6 or above Gigabit Ethernet cables should be used. 10 Gigabit Ethernet cables – Cat6a or above — are recommended in conjunction with a 10 Gigabit uplink switch for the connection between the uplink switch and the host PC in order to accommodate for the high data traffic.

Electromagnetic Shielding

Also, please use a cable that has electromagnetic interference shielding on it. If cables without the shielding are used, cables that are close to each other could interfere and cause the camera to stall in Motive.

Cabling and Load Balancing

Ethernet Camera System

Ethernet Camera Models: PrimeX Series and SlimX cameras. Follow the below wiring diagram and connect each of the required system components.

Single PoE Switch Setup

Ethernet system components setup.

  • Connect PoE Switch(s) into the Host PC: Start by connecting a PoE switch into the host PC via an Ethernet cable. Since the camera system takes up a large amount of data bandwidth, the Ethernet camera network traffic must be separated from the office/local area network. If the computer used for capture is connected to an existing network, you will need to use a second Ethernet port or add-on network card for connecting the computer to the camera network. When you do, make sure to turn off your computer's firewall for the particular network under Windows Firewall settings.
  • Connect the Ethernet Cameras to the PoE Switch(s): Ethernet cameras connect to the host PC via PoE/PoE+ switches using Cat 6, or above, Ethernet cables.
  • Power the Switches: The switch must be powered in order to power the cameras. To completely shut down the camera system, the network switch needs to be powered off.
  • Ethernet Cables: Ethernet cable connection is subject to the limitations of the PoE (Power over Ethernet) and Ethernet communications standards, meaning that the distance between camera and switch can go up to about 100 meters when using Cat6 cables (Ethernet cable type Cat5e or below is not supported). For best performance, do not connect devices other than the computer to the camera network. Add-on network cards should be installed if additional Ethernet ports are required to isolate the network.
  • External Sync: If you wish to connect external devices, use the eSync synchronization hub. Connect the eSync into one of the PoE switches using an Ethernet cable.

Multiple PoE Switch Setup for Higher Camera Counts

Ethernet system components setup for high camera counts.
  • Uplink Switch: For systems with higher camera counts that uses multiple PoE switches, use an uplink Ethernet switch to link and connect all of the switches to the Host PC. In the end, the switches must be connected in a star topology with the uplink switch at the central node connecting to the host PC. Never daisy chain multiple PoE switches in series, because doing so can introduce latency to the system.
  • High Camera Counts: For setting up more than 24 PrimeX series cameras, we recommend using a 10 Gigabit uplink switch and connecting it to the host PC via an Ethernet cable that supports 10 Gigabit transfer rate — Cat6a or above. This will provide larger data bandwidth and reduce the data transfer latency. Please refer to the diagram above.

Power Budget for PoE Switches and Power Requirements for PoE and PoE+ Cameras

Power Budget for PoE Switches and Power Requirements for PoE and PoE+ Cameras.
  • PoE switch requirement: The PoE switches must be able to provide 15.4W power to every port simultaneously. PrimeX 22, PrimeX 41, and Prime Color camera models run on a high power mode to achieve longer tracking ranges, and they require 30W of power from each port. If you wish to operate these cameras at standard PoE mode, set the LLDP (PoE+) Detection setting to false under the application settings. For network switches provided by OptiTrack, refer to the label for the number of cameras supported for each switch.

Main Components

  • Host PC with an isolated network
  • Ethernet Cameras
  • Ethernet cables
  • Ethernet PoE/PoE+ Switches
  • Uplink switch (for large camera count setup)
  • The eSync (optional for synchronizations)

Power over Ethernet (PoE/PoE+) Switches

OptiTrack’s Ethernet cameras require PoE or PoE+ Gigabit Ethernet switches, depending on the camera's power requirement. The switch serves two functions: transfer camera data to a host PC, and supply power to each camera over the Ethernet cable (PoE). The switch must provide consistent power to every port simultaneously in order to power each camera. Standard PoE switches must provide a full 15.4 watts to every port simultaneously. PrimeX 41, PrimeX 22, and Prime Color cameras have stronger IR strobes which require higher power for the maximum performance. In this case, these cameras need to be routed through PoE+ switches that provide a full 30 watts of power to each port simultaneously. Note that PoE Midspan devices or power injectors are not suitable for Ethernet camera systems.

Redundant Power Systems for Larger Camera Setups


The following is generally used for large PoE+ camera setups with multiple camera switches. Please refer to the Switch Power Budget and Camera Power Requirements tab above for more information.

Some switches are only allotted a power budget smaller than what is needed depending on which OptiTrack cameras are being used. For larger camera setups this can cause multiple switches that can only use a portion of its available ports. In this case, we recommend an Redundant Power System (RPS) to extend the power budget of your switch. For example, a 24-port switch may have a 370W power budget which only supports 12 PoE+ cameras that require 30W to power. If, however, you have the same 24-port switch with a RPS, you can now power all 24 PoE+ cameras with a 30W power requirement utilizing all 24 of the PoE ports on the switch.

The eSync 2 output and input ports descriptions


The eSync is used to enable synchronization and timecode in Ethernet-based mocap systems. Only one device is needed per system, and it enables you to link the system to almost any signal source. It has multiple synchronization ports which allow integrating external signals from other devices. When an eSync is used, it is considered as the master in the synchronization chain.


With large camera system setups, you should connect the eSync onto the aggregator switch via a standard Ethernet port for more stable camera synchronization. If PoE is not supported on the aggregator switch, the sync hub will need to be powered separately from a power outlet.

Uplink Switch

If the number of cameras included in the system exceeds the number of ports available from the switch, a star topology setup with an uplink switch connecting subsequent switches will be required. In this case, large amounts of data will be transferred through the uplink switch. In order to cope high bandwidth, it is recommended use the 10 Gigabit uplink switch and connect to the host PC with a 10 Gigabit cable – Cat6a or above. Otherwise, system latency can increase and frame drops may occur.

USB Camera System


Notes on USB camera models

USB camera models, including Flex series cameras and V120:Duo/Trio tracking bars, are not supported in Motive 3.x versions. For those systems, please refer to the Motive 2.x documentations.


At this point, all of the connected cameras will be listed on the Devices pane and the 3D viewport when you start up Motive. Check to make sure all of the connected cameras are properly listed in Motive.

Then, open up the Status Log panel and check there are no 2D frame drops. You may see a few frame drops when booting up the system or when switching between Live and Edit modes; however, this should only occur just momentarily. If the system continues to drop 2D frames, it indicates there is a problem with how the system is delivering the camera data. Please refer to the troubleshooting section for more details.

Dropped frame warnings.

Q & A: Cabling and Wiring

General Questions

› Q : Which camera models can be used together in the same system?

A: OptiTrack camera models can be categorized by their connector cable types: USB and Ethernet. Generally, cameras sharing the same cable type and sync mode can operate together within the same system, with the Flex 13 being the only exception.

In Motive 3.0, however, only the Ethernet cameras are compatible with the software. As far as camera to camera compatibility, any PrimeX Series of cameras can be used together along with SlimX 13 and Prime Color cameras. Older Prime models are also compatible with newer PrimeX series cameras.


› Q : [Ethernet Cameras] PrimeX series, or SlimX 13, cameras dropping 2D frames.

A: 2D frame drops are logged under the Log pane and it can also be seen in the Devices pane. It will be indicated with a warning sign (Error.png) next to the corresponding camera. You may see a few frame drops when booting up the system or when switching between Live and Edit modes; however, this should occur only momentarily. If the system continues to drop 2D frames, it means there is a problem with receiving the camera data. In many cases, this occurs due to networking problems.

To narrow down the issue, you would want to disable the real-time reconstruction and check if the frames are still dropping. If it stops, the problem is associated with either software configurations or CPU processing. If it continues to drop, then the problem could be narrowed down to the network configuration, which may be resolved by doing the following:

  • Disable any firewall or anti-virus software on the host PC. Often, these software interferes with the camera network and cause frame drops.
  • Use a dedicated network interface controller (NIC) card for uplinking the camera system to the host PC. Ethernet adapters on common motherboards are not well suited for receiving camera data.
  • Update network cade driver to up-to-date.
  • If you have an eSync in the system, connect it to the aggregator switch. It will provide more stable synchronization between the cameras.

› Q : [Ethernet cameras] Cameras not detected at all.

A: If you have all of the cameras connected as instructed and cameras are still not showing up in Motive. Run ipconfig on command window and check if an IPv4 IP is assigned to the network adapter that connects to the camera switch. If no IP is assigned, check the following:

  • Disable any firewall or anti-virus software and check again to see if it resolves. Often, these software blocks the camera network.
  • Update the network card driver.
  • Make sure nothing is misconfigured on the network switches. Some switches have its own traffic control tools that might interfere with how the camera data and the sync signals are transmitted.
  • If the cameras are still not detected, contact tech support. When doing so, launch Motive and take a note of the behavior of how the back LED lights on the cameras are flashing. This would be helpful when troubleshooting the issue.

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