CCTV IP network cameras - Get the inside scoop

What is an IP camera?

IP cameras work in the same way as standard CCTV cameras in that they use a lens and an image sensor to capture and process light in order to produce moving images. The main difference between an IP camera and a standard cameras is the way in which the video is transmitted.

With an analogue (or HD-TVI) camera, once the image is captured, it is transmitted in it's raw form to a recorder via voltage transmission (1 volt point to point). The recorder processes the raw footage and then converts it to a compressed video format (such as H.264). The drawback of this is that because the video footage is being transmitted via voltage it can become suseptable to interference from other high voltage equipment anywhere in close proximity to the cable at any point.

IP cameras use on board intelligence to convert the raw video footage to a compressed format before it is transmitted as data to the recorder. This compressed data is not affected by high voltage machinary which eliminates interference from any IP CCTV installation.

Furthermore, because the data is compressed before it is transmitted, IP cameras are able to capture video footage at much higher resolutions than analogue (or HD-TVI) cameras and transmit it without cable bandwidth becoming a concern. Because analogue (and HD-TVI) cameras transmit raw video footage, they are unable to currently capture video at resolutions above 1080p (2MP) due to cable bandwidth issues.

I've seen HD CCTV that uses coaxial cable. What's the difference?

IP cameras are able to capture and transmit images at resolutions exceeding 10MP (megapixels) allowing recorded images to be zoomed into multiple times while keeping high quality. For example, when a 10MP image is shown at 5x zoom, each zoomed in section will still appear as a 1080p image.

At present, cameras at such high resolutions are still price prohibitive but over the coming years, the technology will become cheaper and more accessable to standard security installations. For cost purposes. most IP CCTV installations that take place now are using 2MP cameras but 3MP and 4MP technology is currently becoming much more affordable for standard installations.

If most IP is 2MP at the minute, why should I use it over coaxial HD?

One of the major benefits of using IP CCTV over coaxial based CCTV is the flexibility of cabling options.

IP CCTV is cabled using CAT5E (or CAT6) network cable. This lightweight cable is a lot easier to install than chunky, rigid RG59 (and especially RG59+2 shotgun) cable. Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology is built into most IP CCTV systems and allows the same length of network cable to be used for video and power.

Also, video streams from multiple cameras can be transmitted via a single length of network cable by use of standard network switches. A standard 10/100Mbps network switch will allow the video streams from up to 14 cameras at 1080p (2MP) resolution runing at 25FPS to be transmitted along one single length of network cable. This can drastically reduce installation times and allow more profit in jobs as less cable has to be purchaed and run by the installation engineer.

Advanced features are becoming the standard in a lot of IP cameras. More and more units support advanced image optimization capabilities to ensure that the image is the best it can possibly be as well as number plate recognition, face recognition, missing / foreign object detection and a whole host of other video analytics which add value to a CCTV system.

Finally, the entire industry is predicted to convert ot IP in the next decade with coaxial systems already becoming obsolete due to lack of functionality. A lot of installers are getting in on IP now to ensure they don't get left behind when the industry landscape shifts.

I've heard you need to know about IP address and computers

IP CCTV technology has come a very long way over the last few years and is a lot more intuitive to install and configure that it used to be.

In short, no. you don't need to know anything about IP addresses or computers in order to install an IP CCTV system. While it is true that each camera requires an IP address in order to communicate with the recorder, most systems have functionality that automatically allocates an IP address to each camera and communicates with them in order to get the video source. It really has become plug and play.

That being said, if you are insterested in installing IP CCTV, we fully recommend investing in a Windows laptop computer to take to site with you. This way, if there are any issues or if you would like a live demostration of any features on an IP system, our technical support team here at Traders Warehouse Security Distribution will be able to log in remotely over the Internet and run diagnostics.

Also, it is very important to note that cabling must be terminated in a specific order to ensure that your IP CCTV system works properly. The standard Type A or Type B termination can be used as shown below. Whichever Type is used on one end of the cable must be used on the other end.

Standard network cable termination types