9 Key Questions about IP-Based Camera Systems
The way security systems are installed is changing, especially in regards to closed-circuit television (CCTV). The proliferation of IP-based devices allows installers to simply assign an IP address to a device and plug it into the home network to activate it. In the case of wireless cameras, it’s even easier: no wires necessary.
But what does it mean for installers? CE Pro spoke with Matt Sailor of IC Realtime, makers of digital cameras and recorders for the residential and commercial markets.
What sorts of residential security systems can now be IP-based? (i.e., CCTV, fire detection, burglar alarms, access control, etc.)
Almost all low-voltage residential security systems can be IP-based now. This is rapidly expanding throughout different areas of the industry giving the end user and service representatives the ability to manage and configure their security system remotely in real time.
In terms of CCTV, what are the differences for installing an IP-based camera system vs. analog?
Designing the infrastructure of cabling from analog to IP-based systems can vary enormously. Analog camera systems--from the camera location to the DVR--do not have to take into consideration the bandwidth consumption and limitations of the network infrastructure. Though, they must look at signal loss and voltage drop over each of their cable runs. While, IP-based systems must rely purely on the existing or dedicated newer network to transmit their video IP feeds to the NVR or recording device. The pre-installation of an IP-based camera systems needs to be planned more thoroughly.
Are IP-based devices bigger/smaller than analog cameras? What about recording equipment?
The size of the equipment itself is very comparable. IP- and analog-based cameras and recording devices can come in a variety of housing styles, colors and feature sets.
How does an IP-based system's topology different from analog?
In regards to the equipment itself, there are not many differences overall. The infrastructure of cabling does differ.
What sort of training is necessary for a technician to be able to install IP-based camera systems?
Understanding LAN and WAN networking would be a required knowledge set. When installing IP-based camera systems you must set a unique IP address to each individual camera. Then set the recording device to find and bring that camera feed in so that it may record the video. In an analog system, that only has to done once - from the DVR.
How much quicker is a typical IP-based camera installation?
This differs enormously based on the size of the job and whether the existing infrastructure is being used or an entirely new network is being created to compensate for the bandwidth consumption by the IP cameras themselves. On a smaller one- to four-camera job if you were utilizing the exiting LAN then the install time could be cut in half compared to that of an analog system. Though, on larger scale, the installation time for an IP camera system could be double compared to an analog installation.
What is the transmission medium for IP vs. analog? How does the image quality differ? Does IP offer the same PTZcapabilities?
Transmitting IP cameras is purely through the network, from IP camera to IP recording device. Analog systems transmit over a standard coaxial cable and then to the DVR. The network is not utilized until a user is logged on to the DVR via the LAN or WAN. When speaking in terms of standard IP cameras vs. standard analog cameras, image quality is quite comparable in this current market. Only when you upgrade to an IP-based megapixel camera will you will see a considerable amount of quality improvement. This can be 10 times the resolution and size of a standard IP camera or analog camera system. Though, even more consideration for the bandwidth consumption must be accounted for.
How do IP-based systems open up new markets for selling and installing wireless cameras? (For example, some may say that residential CCTV could explode now)
On an IP-based camera it is easy to add a wireless Wi-Fi access point or wireless bridge to connect the camera to an existing Wi-Fi network. For the residential market this direction will assist in those jobs that cable cannot be run due to an existing house structure or obstacles from lack of attic space or multi level dwellings.
How much less expensive is installing an IP-based system vs. analog, for a 4-camera system?
It depends. If the existing network is being utilized and no additional cable is being run, then it could be 20 percent to 50 percent less. Though, IP cameras still remain higher in price compared to a standard analog camera. If cable has to be run, the install cost would be about the same as an analog system installation.
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