Advantages and Disadvantages of IP based CCTV

IP based CCTV, also called IP cameras or network cameras, provide digital video surveillance by sending and receiving footage over the internet or local area network (LAN). Like their name suggests, IP cameras connect to a network through WiFi or a Power over Ethernet (PoE) cable. They’re often used with network video recorders(NVR) and sometimes digital video recorders(DVR) , making them a common solution for enterprise video surveillance.

Common IP cameras currently on the market

Pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras

Their field of view and angle can be adjusted remotely, allowing users to track events with greater precision. They can cover potentially expansive areas and are frequently used to monitor outdoor public spaces.

Fixed/Static IP cameras

They maintain a stationary position and provide a single view within the camera’s field of view, continuously monitoring subjects within a predetermined frame. Widespread use of fixed cameras both indoors and outdoors, typically in retail stores and offices. Compared to PTZ cameras, their support requires less bandwidth.

PoE and PoE+ IP cameras

PoE IP cameras use an Ethernet cable (typically Cat 5 or 6) to transmit data and electrical power simultaneously. Eliminating the need to run separate cables for power and data, thereby reducing the required quantity of hardware. PoE systems are typically easier to install and less expensive to maintain than traditional systems due to their reduced component count.

PoE and PoE+ differ in the amount of electricity transmitted to power their respective systems. Standard PoE systems transmit up to 15 watts of power to most IP cameras. PoE+ systems transmit up to 30 watts and are typically utilized in cameras with their own heating and cooling mechanisms.

Wireless IP camera

Wireless IP cameras transmit video data by connecting to a WiFi router. The captured footage is uploaded to the cloud or the camera’s local storage. A wired camera system is less susceptible to interference and is recommended for larger areas. Wireless IP cameras can be a good option for small homes, but they’re not ideal for larger areas.

Advantages of IP cameras

Excellent image resolution

If you need crisp, clear images, you’ll need to opt for IP cameras. The image resolution of IP cameras is far superior to that of analogue cameras – up to 20 times better – and, once they’re installed, you can zoom in and focus on any finer details within shot remotely.

Increased security

IP cameras capture encrypted and authenticated video footage, making them more secure than their analogue counterparts.

Accessible from anywhere

Feeds from IP cameras can be viewed from any device with an internet connection, with the right permissions to login to the system, of course. This means you can view live or recorded security footage on any computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone, from anywhere, or even control the system remotely in the same way.

Easy to install

An IP camera connects to a network switch via a single cable, which both powers the camera and transmits data. Analogue cameras need two wires to function. There’s also less equipment involved with IP cameras, as you don’t need an encoder or decoder to convert data into video, and you can add as many IP cameras as you like without having to purchase additional network video recorders.

Convenient data storage

Being connected to the internet, the footage and data captured by IP cameras goes straight into a central information repository on a cloud-based computer server. There’s no need to store dozens of tapes or CDs of footage, or even take up space on your own servers – it’s all stored on the cloud. This also means you’ll still have your footage even if a camera is stolen or damaged.

Disadvantages of IP cameras

Expensive

The longer list of features of IP cameras does mean they come with a higher price tag than analogue cameras. Switching from analogue to IP cameras can also involve a high outlay, but once a system is installed, it’s far easier to scale it up or down as needed.

Demand on bandwidth

Obviously, as IP cameras are connected to the internet, you’ll need a decent internet connection with plenty of bandwidth to support them.

Making the switch from analogue

If you already have an analogue CCTV system and you’re thinking of upgrading to IP cameras, there’s more good news. IP cameras can generally use the same wiring as an analogue solution, so you can replace your cameras as many as you like at a time, starting with the most important ones. Running a hybrid analogue/IP CCTV system in the meantime will help to spread costs.

Before you start swapping out your cameras though, take time to assess your security plan in terms of whether or not it still meets organizational needs. You may have cameras where you don’t need them, or areas of your site that aren’t sufficiently covered. It’s a great opportunity to make sure your new IP cameras will create a CCTV system that reflects your current security requirements, as well as offering scope to scale up in the future.

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