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Aug 6, 2012

IP Network Cameras

IP Network Cameras
An IP network camera is a digital camera that is generally used for video surveillance purposes. Such cameras are Internet Protocol-enabled (IP-enabled) and, therefore, can be controlled, viewed and managed over the Internet. Security companies use IP cameras routinely to monitor homes and businesses against burglaries and other property crime. IP cameras have been around for only a relatively short time, but have already almost completely replaced traditional closed circuit TV cameras (CCTV).

Different Formats

IP network cameras come in a variety of formats. The most common formats include fixed cameras, fixed-dome cameras, thermal cameras and covert cameras. An IP network camera can be used in standalone fashion, or it can be used as part of a broader network of surveillance cameras. A security company, for instance, might use just a single network camera for residential video surveillance purposes, but a whole collection of similar cameras inside a retail store.

Centralized and Non-Centralized IP Cameras

Some IP cameras use centralized computer servers and storage devices to store and process images. For instance, the network security cameras that are used for retail and commercial security purposes do not have any local storage capabilities. Instead, all images captured by such cameras are transmitted over an IP network to a central computer, where the images are stored for future retrieval and review. Other IP cameras are more decentralized in design and are equipped to record and store images on a local storage device. Cameras used for residential security monitoring purposes, for example, come equipped with a fixed hard disk drive or thumb drive for storing captured images.

Considerations when Choosing an IP Camera

Network cameras have considerable advantages over traditional CCTV systems. They are easier to manage and monitor, and are also capable of capturing and storing far more data than older analog cameras. However, there are several considerations users need to keep in mind when purchasing such systems for residential and commercial security purposes.

  • In choosing a camera, customers must first decide what format they want for their IP camera. A fixed-network camera, for instance, is ideal for deterrence purposes and is usually mounted in a clearly visible location. Dome cameras and covert cameras, on the other hand, are designed for discreet video surveillance purposes.
  • Image quality is another big consideration. Not all applications require costly network cameras with a high image resolution capability. A relatively low-cost, low-resolution fixed camera might be all that is necessary for residential security monitoring or for perimeter monitoring purposes.
  • Network functionality and built-in features, such as motion-triggers and alarm notification capabilities, are also important considerations to keep in mind when shopping around for IP network cameras.

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