Video surveillance systems equipped with IP cameras providing 24/7 protection for homes and business establishments, and gives their owners the opportunity to check on their properties anytime wherever they are. IP surveillance systems send and receive data from a computer network or broadband connection.
What is an IP Camera
The Internet Protocol (IP) camera is a digital camera commonly referred to as a webcam, but in the security industry, the preferred term Is Netcam or IP Camera, particularly when these are used for surveillance. The IP camera transmits data over an Ethernet link and is much more superior to analog CCTV (closed-circuit television) in its applications.
The shift from analog to the digital technology of IP cameras provides users with benefits that include the following:
- Remote viewing and control of the security system
- Images and video are accessible from any location that has an Internet connection
- Better quality of images
- Digital zoom
- Provides two-way communication
- Can be programmed to send alerts through email and other communication systems when unusual activity is detected
- Capable to play and record simultaneously
- Higher storage capability through compression of content
- Ease of use
IP surveillance cameras are appropriate for busy homeowners and business persons who are away from their homes or offices most of the time. Remote control and two-way communication allow them to access video in real time, search archives, and modify security settings. They can keep abreast of events at home and office without being physically present.
Basic Components of an IP Surveillance System
IP video surveillance systems can be as simple as a few IP cameras, a network video recorder (NVR), PoE switch, and a monitor, or it can be a complex system that includes network switches and various other devices that make security networks a web of cables, cameras, and monitors. However, for home and small business settings, a simple network of IP cameras connected to an NVR works just as well.
If you plan to do your own installation of your home security camera system, you have to ensure that the IP cameras, video management software, and the NVR are compatible in a seamless fashion. Purchasing these devices individually according to your brand and specification requirements may be preferable to you but you run the risk of having a unit that does not match with the rest. You can discuss compatibility issues from your source and if necessary, ask for alternative brands and models that are known to be compatible.
If you want to save on time and cost, you can consider the purchase of an IP video surveillance system package that is available from security providers. The security kits come with everything that you need to install the system, and sometimes, with full instructions to install and operate the system.
- IP cameras come in different types and capabilities, for example, wired and wireless, dome or bullet, indoor and outdoor models, and day vs night vision cameras. The choice of lenses can vary from the fixed lens, varifocal lens with a range of focal lengths, megapixel, and PTZ (pan, tilt, and zoom) cameras. This may look daunting at first glance, but to make the selection process easier, you have to go through the camera features methodically. Create a security plan or diagram for home or establishment since this will give you the number of cameras that you will need, with specific numbers for outdoors and indoors. The location of each camera will help you decide whether a fixed or varifocal camera is more appropriate, where to install night vision cameras for 24/7 monitoring, and on down the line until you are satisfied with your camera choices.
- The Network Video Recorder (NVR) is a crucial component of the video surveillance system for the management of the IP cameras. As long as the NVR is connected to the same local area network (LAN) as the IP cameras, you can install this device virtually anywhere and still capture video streams and images, store the footages on a hard disk, or transmit the images to a remote PC or smartphone for viewing. The network video recorder is the software program has no dedicated video capture hardware. It receives video streams from the IP cameras for storage in a disk drive, SD memory card, or other mass storage devices. The software runs on a dedicated device that has an embedded operating system.
- The PoE (Power over Ethernet) powers the networked IP cameras through a single Ethernet category 5 or category 6 cable. Thus, there is no need to provide power supply outlets for every network device since power is relayed through the Ethernet cable that connects the networked devices. PoE standards carry data to and from the IP security cameras.
- A monitor is required to view the footage from each of the IP cameras. You can use a desktop PC or a laptop to monitor feeds from the IP cameras, or install apps that will allow monitoring of video feeds over an iPhone or a smartphone. A typical monitor functions as a TV screen that provides a high quality of images through higher resolutions. You can view feeds from a single camera, or view feeds from multiple cameras simultaneously.
Types of Networks for IP Security Cameras
When you install IP video surveillance cameras, you have three types of networks to choose from.
- The fastest and most secure way to connect the IP surveillance cameras to the network is through hardwiring using Ethernet cables like cat5 or cat6 that are equipped with RJ45 connectors. Wired network connectivity uses a broadband modem or a router, and has less possibility for interference and signal interception.
- Wireless networks employ a WiFi router for data transmission to and from the network IP cameras. Compared with wired networks, wireless systems transmit data at a slower rate and are vulnerable to unauthorized access. The wireless system also suffers from intermittent interruption from failing or weak signals.
- Cellular networks provide another option for network connectivity of IP cameras, but this type of connection is quite expensive because each camera should be equipped with cellular transmitters. The disadvantage of this system in addition to its high cost is the slow speed of transmission. On the plus side, a LAN is not needed and no installation is required.
IP video surveillance systems are easy to install, provide high quality video streams and recorded footages for 24/7 protection, and more importantly, keep home and business owners connected to their homes or establishments.