IP Video Is on the Rise, But How Fast?

IP-Based Solutions Offer Key Advantages Over Analog Hardware
Analog security systems have been effective surveillance workhorses for decades … so why all the interest in digital Internet technology? The simple answer is IP network surveillance offers capabilities that analog does not.



Chief among them is the ability to remotely and centrally monitor multiple geographic locations. Analog systems generally require a DVR to be located within 300 feet of the cameras, primarily due to cabling and transmission limitations. IP cameras, on the other hand, can feed video over the Internet to a recording system miles away in virtually any part of the world.

“Having access to video anywhere is attractive for organizations with multiple buildings or multiple locations such as schools, universities, retailers and global companies,” Harris says. “You can even connect emergency first responders like police and fire to your video network so they know where the problems are.” 

Lower-cost and simplified installation is another incentive to go the IP route. “Although IP cameras are priced at a premium compared to analog, you need to take into account overall costs,” Harris says. End users can often leverage existing IT infrastructure and not have to run a cable to each camera. “The savings in terms of wiring and installation can be considerable,” he says. 

That is especially true in cases where analog systems would require trenching through concrete and asphalt to connect adjacent structures, such as parking garages, gas station pumps and remote parking lot surveillance. There are even ways to simplify IP cabling further by using common 802.11g wireless networks or using the existing electrical wiring in a structure to carry video data. Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology can even be used to combine a power and data cable into a single Ethernet cable, greatly simplifying wiring.

IP cameras also have the potential to offer better video resolution. Some specialized IP cameras designed for identifying individual faces in large stadium crowds can provide resolutions exceeding 20 megapixels. More commonly found models usually offer between 1 to 5 megapixels. Explains Harris: “Analog is limited to the standard 540 TV lines. You get a huge advantage in resolution with megapixel cameras.” 

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