IP Cameras and their use in CCTV surveillance systems
With the Digital CCTV industry starting to embrace the latest technology, IP Cameras. It's time to ask yourself, are you missing out on the IP revolution?!
It's easy to just say IP Cameras are new, so they are therefore the best option for anyone looking to either add to an existing CCTV installation or starting from scratch, but is this really the case? Here are the areas to consider before making a decision.
Click here to view our CCTV Megapixel Guide
IP Camera overview
IP Cameras (or Network Cameras) are so named because rather than using an analogue video cable to send the video down, you can use a network cable (CAT5/CAT6). This means that IP Cameras can use existing cabling infrastructure, saving you time and money.
NB - Actually, you can do the same with analogue cameras. By using CAT5 Baluns, you can use the CAT5 cable to send video/power and even PTZ telemetry over one CAT5 cable.
AND as you are still effectively sending an analogue signal, you don't need to worry about bandwidth, another consideration when planning an IP Camera installation.
Advantages of IP Cameras
- An IP Camera offers Mega Pixel resolutions meaning the quality of the images is vastly increased. Megapixel Network IP Cameras can produce video resolutions in HD quality.
- Wireless IP Cameras provide an even easier way to install without the need for any time consuming cabling!
- For an IT person who has been given the task of finding a Digital CCTV Solution, IP cameras are familiar technology. The idea of making up a CAT5 cable can be a lot more inviting than crimping a BNC plug on a RG59 cable!
- By utilizing Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology, an IP Camera can be remotely powered making installation far quicker and simpler.
- Recording video from an IP camera is straightforward using a NVR (Network Video Recorder). There are lots on the market and some IP cameras come with their own software. You can also use systems like GeoVision's Hybrid Software which can take both analogue and IP cameras.
Considerations when deciding whether to use IP Cameras
Resolution Vs Frame Rate
The trade off with IP Cameras is video resolution (quality) vs frame rate.
For example, to have Mega Pixel resolution with an IP Camera the frame rate may drop from 25 to 15 FPS.
Another factor is the bandwidth of IP Cameras over a Local Network.
In some installations running IP Cameras over an existing network may not be possible due to constraints on bandwidth. You may need to use a separate network for your IP Camera installation.
The introduction of H.264 IP Cameras will help reduce the bandwidth as the video sent from the network camera is compressed to a smaller size.
Camera Variety and Capabilities
Presently, there are typically more varieties of analogue cameras than IP cameras. e.g. Covert/Hidden cameras