An IP camera, or Internet protocol camera, is a type of digital video camera employed for surveillance. Unlike analog CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) cameras, IP cameras can receive and send data via the internet or a computer network. Although a majority of the cameras that do this are webcams, the phrase “netcam” or “IP camera” is normally applied to those used for surveillance.
There are two types of IP cameras. Centralized IP cameras and decentralized IP cameras. Centralized IP cameras require a central NVR (Network Video Recorder) to handle the video, recording and alarm management while the decentralized IP cameras do not require a central NVR, this is because the cameras have a recording function built-in and thus making it record directly to any storage media such as PC/server, network attached storage or SD cards.
Though IP camera is a new technology which has developed quickly in the recent years and even threatens the market of the analog security camera, many customers hold some kind of suspicion about it. In this article, the author illustrates the advantages and disadvantages of IP cameras so as to grasp a better understanding of IP cameras.
The advantages include:
High Image Quality
Image quality is clearly one of the most important features of any camera. Superior image quality enables the user to closely follow changes and details in images, making way for faster and better decisions to more effectively safeguard people and property. It also ensures greater accuracy for automated analysis and alarm tools.
Flexible and cost-effective
Using standard PC server hardware radically reduce equipment costs, particularly for large systems where servers and storage have a significant portion of the total solution cost. IP-based systems provide a means for network video products and other types of applications to share the same wired or wireless network for communicating data.
IP cameras can be monitored timely from any computer anywhere in the world, and from many mobile devices including iPhone, laptops, etc.
Encryption and authentication
IP cameras offer the transmission of data through authentication and encryption methods such as WPA, WEP, WPA2, AES, and TKIP.
IP cameras post some disadvantages which may include:
- High initial price for high-quality cameras.
- Lack of standards. Various IP cameras can encode video differently or use different programming interface, which may require camera recorder combination.
- Technical barrier. IP camera requires IP address, network settings, and DDNS, for this services one should hire a specialized technician who is familiar IP cameras.
- Network traffic requirement is high. A simple IP video in MJPEG mode requires about 3 Mbit / s.
IP cameras are used in an unlimited number of places; however, most of them fall under the security surveillance or remote monitoring of people, property, places and operations. Some typical place that has applied IP cameras includes retail sectors, schools, industries, banks, government offices, etc.