Network Based Cameras

Why choose network based security cameras over more traditional coaxial cameras?

Everyone wants security. Its the reason we put locks on doors, have fences around our houses and immobilisers in our cars. Having peace of mind that our stuff is safe makes us all feel good.

So the next step is to record everything that happens around your home or business. CCTV in not a new idea, its been used since the late 1970s, but in the past the only way to view recordings was on the recording unit itself. Now we have the magic of the internet and the world of the internet of things. No long do we need to take up an entire room filled up with TV screens and tape recorders.

The IoT (internet of things) is what gives us smart speakers like Amazon’s Alexa, central heating controllers, door bells that sent alerts to your phone, smart plugs, even smart light bulbs, and of course security cameras. The IoT isn’t perfect. There has been many controversies about how secure devices can be. Such as the fairly recent controversy with Amazon’s Alexa recording a conversation and sending it to a random person on the owners contact list but the benefit of buying from a large well known brand is that they are quick to fix issues with firmware updates very quickly.

So back to the original question, why network cameras? Well the biggest selling point is being able to view the camera in real time from anywhere there is an internet connection, this really solidifies the use of these devices in my mind, and while older coaxial cameras can be retro fitted to have this functionality there other issues that make network based cameras much more appealing. Adding additional cameras is another problem with coaxial based systems, recording units, known as DVRs (digital video recorders), only have a limited number of inputs so to add an extra camera to a full DVR will require a new DVR as well as the cost of a new camera and the larger units can get quite pricey. Network cameras don’t suffer from this issue. More cameras can be added simply by plugging them in to an available port on a router or switch making systems easily expandable. Another reason to use network cameras is most houses are already have Ethernet running through the walls so cables can be much neater, there's no need to have ugly coaxial cables running through the house.

Old, cumbersome, and ugly modern technology really has come a long way since this was the norm

Old, cumbersome, and ugly modern technology really has come a long way since this was the norm

So which network cameras should you choose? Well that depends on a number of factors. The most important factor is your budget, a great low budget solution is Hikvision cameras they are relatively cheap, have a great picture quality, and will run on power over Ethernet (PoE) so only one cable needs to be run to the camera. I’ve installed these at my house and I’m very impressed with them, they were easy to setup, have a great app for your phone and they are discrete and don’t create an eye sore on the front of your house. For a larger budget I recommend Ubiquity’s Unify system, Ubiquity is very well known manufacturer in the networking world they provide products to data centres, public buildings, schools and universities as well as products for home and small businesses. There Unify G3 pro cameras are some of the best on the market, there certainly pricey, but on large scale deployments the ecosystem of other products is worth the extra cost. With routers, switches and Wi-Fi access points you could kit out your hole office out with just ubiquity networking. If you look on amazon you’ll find a number of cameras that are cheap and look quite good however I cant recommend these because a lot of them have some terrible apps that come with the camera that don’t always connect to the camera or can’t find it on the network. I also do not recommend Wi-Fi cameras. Most Wi-Fi networks have to much interference to transmit a fluid video transmission at the high bandwidth required. Also the cameras still require a power cable running to the camera which can be a problem on outdoor cameras making sure everything is waterproof.

The Hikvison DS-2CD2623G0-IZS is a great entry level camera with some advanced features like optical zoom and a massive 50m range infrared night vision mode

The Hikvison DS-2CD2623G0-IZS is a great entry level camera with some advanced features like optical zoom and a massive 50m range infrared night vision mode

Recording the footage can be done a number of ways. The easiest way to record is by installing an SD card in the camera itself. This is the cheapest way to record the footage however it does have some limitations, SD cards have a limited amount of storage space so you can’t keep many days worth of footage. The most common method of recording is with an NVR (network video recorder) this is essentially a low power computer with a custom operating system designed specifically for recording network cameras. They are a great option for small deployments of 8 or less cameras as they have a lot more options to store footage. They can store more footage than an SD card and there more secure as the unit is kept in the house and if a cable is cut there is less chance of having the data corrupted. The most advanced, and most expensive, way to record footage is with a dedicated server. This is the most customisable system you can set up a server running a number of different software packages that have a range of options from clever motion detection algorithms to recognising number plates and storing them in a database. This is of course a lot more expensive with hardware and software costing considerably more than an NVR but this is the way to go with a large deployment. There is also the benefit of being able to use the server for other things as well such as using it for a backup server or a media server.

So in conclusion there are a number of ways to protect your home or business and it can be a bit daunting when you start looking. At The It Specialists we can help you find the right option for you that fits in your budget and suits your needs. If you need any advice or want to get a free quote call Dan Foster on 07713614694 or email us at: dan@theitspecialists.co.uk.

This Hikvision NVR can record up to 4 cameras and can be connected directly to a monitor or TV

This Hikvision NVR can record up to 4 cameras and can be connected directly to a monitor or TV

Dan Foster1 Comment