Testing IP Surveillance Cameras
It’s important for electronic security installers to put IP video cameras to some real-world tests before installing the devices.
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Bandwidth testing was the featured arena, to see how typical IP-based cameras affect network transmission bandwidth. Performance areas under examination included frame rate, compression/quality, resolution, light level and motion. In your shop, a more practical approach may be to test by simply comparing camera images rather than being burdened with mountains of data and calibrated values. By recording these images and video you can start compiling your own camera performance reference library. You may also find a good foundation for showing prospects real-world applications for the cameras they would be considering purchasing.
Cameras were 1- and 2-megapixel varieties with MPEG4, H.264BASE, H.264HIGH and MJPEG formats. All were set to variable versus fixed bit rate. Following are some test observations. Overall, results showed the higher the frame rate, the higher the bandwidth as would be expected; note that if you halved the frame rate (fps), you halved the bandwidth. Low bandwidth usage was led by the MPEG4 camera with a little less than 5Mbps and the high was H.264BASE at 21-23Mbps. However, the 2-megapixel, H.264HIGH camera did a better job at keeping bandwidth down to 8-10Mbps when transmitting at 20fps. The H.264BASE produced slightly higher bandwidth usage overall than the MJPEG. Of course, the tradeoff was H.264 picture quality was four times better than MJPEG. Testing also demonstrated that H.264 performed best when the picture frame rates are higher.
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Keep in Mind Variable Settings’ Impact
Manufacturers have been criticized for their online bandwidth calculators, which might not always follow practical camera measured performance. In all fairness, it’s been observed that these calculators do not have a selection for degree of scene motion. Additionally, you will want to question a particular manufacturer as to what camera settings were implemented for its bandwidth calculator results.
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