Your IP Video Surveillance Cheat Sheet

This cheat sheet provides a basic overview of some of the technologies and equipment commonly used in today’s IP video systems.

What Is IP Video? Internet protocol (IP) video uses the computer network infrastructure to transmit security video to recording and viewing stations and dispatch centers. In IP video systems, network cameras output a digitally encoded signal that can be transmitted over the network as data for viewing, storage and integration with other security solutions. Video management systems or software (VMS) allows the user to view the live video, call up recorded video, control the cameras connected to the network and many other functions.

Currently, the majority of video surveillance systems installed in the United States remain analog, with digital video recorders (DVRs) storing video from cameras and providing video playback. This technology has been available for years and is very reliable. That said, many new video surveillance installations are incorporating IP because of its advantages, such as:

1. Functionality: Users can view the video from any location in the world, as long as there is a computer network available.

2. Backward compatibility: Because new technologies like megapixel cameras are not backward compatible with analog systems, in order to take advantage of these new systems, campuses must upgrade to IP.

3. Scalability: Depending on the equipment and system installed, there is no limit to the number of devices that can be placed on the network.

4. Costs: While IP cameras are more expensive to purchase than analog cameras, the operation and installation costs can be lower, especially for facilities that have more than 32 cameras. This results in a reduced overall cost of ownership. Often a campus will already have a network that can support IP video, so installation costs are less. The expense of running coaxial cable (which is used in analog systems) is also avoided by using the network, which runs Category-5e or Cat-6 cable. Solutions allowing power to run over the same network cable (PoE) also save the expense of additional cabling and equipment.

Related Article: Spending Too Much on Video Surveillance?

Many facilities that currently have analog systems are choosing a hybrid approach that uses both analog and IP solutions simultaneously. As the analog cameras reach the end of their life cycles, often they are replaced with IP cameras, thus maximizing the return on investment from both old and new equipment.

For campuses wanting to transition to IP, it is advisable to develop a migration plan. For example, some product lines can use existing analog cameras along with new IP cameras, allowing both to interoperate (communicate with each other and work on the same system). Using a DVR, video server or encoder, analog video can be converted to a digital signal that transmits over the same network as the IP cameras.

For campuses installing video surveillance solutions in new construction or completely replacing a legacy analog system in a pre-existing building, IP might be the wise choice. This is particularly true if the institution has plans to greatly expand its video surveillance program or has a large number of cameras being installed.

The IP Video Surveillance Cheat Sheet will provide a basic overview of some of the technologies and equipment commonly used in today’s IP video systems.

View the IP Video Surveillance Cheat Sheet.

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