IP cameras are the latest standard in video security which uses ‘Internet Protocol’ (IP) to transmit video as opposed to traditional analog transmission which usually uses RG-59 coaxial cable. IP Cameras can be easily integrated into existing networks whether they are local or remote, public or private without the need for video switchers or digital video recorders. In addition to the encoding of images taking place on camera, other traditional DVR functions are also built into the camera including configuration, alert handling (email, ftp, image transfers…), recording settings (schedules, motion detection, resolution) and even 2 way audio for some models. Nearly all IP cameras include built in web servers for remote viewing. IP cameras become just another network device and can have an IP address manually assigned or via a DHCP server. The data can be routed any way you wish including through Virtual Private Networks.
IP cameras are all about resolution which measured by the number of pixels that an image contains. A pixel is the smallest piece of information in an image. Analog cameras are limited to 388,800 pixels or just under 0.4 megapixels.
- 330×480 – 158,400 pixels <– VHS
- 640×480 – 307,200 pixels <– VGA
- 720×480 – 345,600 <– D1
- 720×540 – 388,800 pixels <– limit of analog security cameras
- 704×576 – 405,504 pixels <– 4CIF
- 800×600 – 480,000 pixels <– SVGA
- 1280×960 – 1,228,800 pixels <– 1.2 megapixel
- 1920×1080 – 2,073,600 pixels
- 2048×1536 – 3,145,728 pixels <– 3.1 megapixel
Analog cameras are limited to 720×540 images or just under 0.4 megapixels when using “high resolution” cameras. Narrow field of views are needed to provide the detail necessary to recognize a target. If you need to monitor a larger, wider area using an analog camera, you will lose the detail needed to clearly identify smaller areas of the image.. Video surveillance systems are not useful If you can’t clearly identify your target.
IP cameras allow for wider fields of view because they capture more detail. Common megapixel cameras offer a resolution of 1,228,800 pixels or an image that is 1280×960 – more than 3 times the resolution compared to the highest resolution analog camera. This means that fewer cameras are needed for most applications because larger areas can be captured with the same or better resolution that analog cameras can provide.
With IP cameras, the process of ‘digitizing’ of images is moved from the DVR to the camera which means that traditional DVRs are no longer required since they are designed to convert and store analog video streams. Instead, the digital image can be stored on camera or optionally sent to a Network Video Recorder (NVR) or other network storage which can be in the form of an appliance, PC or other video management device. The Mobotix brand of IP cameras are an exception which can record up to 16GB on the camera using flash memory and remotely store video on a Windows or NFS share via the network – no NVR is required. This decentralized approach allows customers to easily deploy IP cameras without the need to invest in dedicated network storage devices.
IP cameras are wired using CAT5e or CAT6 Ethernet cable and are powered using “Power over Ethernet” (PoE), also referred to as 802.3af using the same cable. This can greatly simplify the deployment of video security cameras since an existing cabling infrastructure can be used without the need for separate power runs. PoE switches are becoming common for other applications such as VoIP telephony but this does mean that older switches need to be replaced – PoE injectors can be placed inline using standard Ethernet cable for smaller applications that do not warrant PoE compliant switches.
Aside from the dramatic increase in resolution and the transmission media, all other items covered in our security camera page apply. Monitor Your Assets is proud to carry the Mobotix line of IP cameras which are suited for nearly any application. Contact us so that we can help you integrate IP security cameras with your network.