Surveillance isn't just for cops and businesses. Development of IP cameras made it easier for home-based or remote monitoring. Since the cameras connect to the internet, they can be used almost anywhere in your home.
Throughout this guide, we'll describe how IP cameras work. Also, we'll give you tips on how to maintain your IP camera properly. This information will help you become a better buyer and make an informed decision when it's time to make a purchase.
Our goal is to educate you on IP cameras and what benefit they can bring to you and your family.
What Is an IP Camera?
An IP camera (Internet Protocol camera) is a type of digital video camera that can send and receive data via a computer network and the internet. IP cameras are often used for surveillance and security purposes and can be used to monitor a variety of locations, such as homes, businesses, and public spaces.
They are typically equipped with a lens, image sensor, and digital processor, and can capture video in high resolution. IP cameras can be connected to a network using an Ethernet cable or wirelessly using Wi-Fi.
One advantage of IP cameras is its independent usage. Unlike a USB camera that needs a computer to be powered and logged on, IP cameras don't need a specific application to work correctly. IP cameras are great for users who want to do video podcasts, meetings, or conversations, and for home surveillance.
IP cameras typically support a range of standard protocols to enable communication and data transfer over a network. While individual cameras may not support all of these specific protocols, some of the most common protocols supported by IP cameras can include:
- TCP (Transmission Control Protocol): A reliable, connection-oriented protocol that is used to transmit data over the internet.
- UDP (User Datagram Protocol): A connectionless protocol that is used to transmit data over the internet. It is less reliable than TCP, but faster and more efficient for certain types of data transmission.
- HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol): A standard protocol for transmitting data on the web. HTTP is used to request and receive web pages and other resources from web servers.
- HTTPS (HTTP Secure): A secure version of HTTP that uses encryption to protect data transmitted over the internet.
- RTSP (Real-Time Streaming Protocol): A protocol used to control the streaming of video and audio data over a network.
- FTP (File Transfer Protocol): A standard protocol for transferring files over a network.
- ONVIF (Open Network Video Interface Forum): An industry standard for video surveillance systems that enables interoperability between different brands of IP cameras and other devices.
IP Camera Vs. CCTV - What is the difference?
An IP camera (Internet Protocol camera) is a digital video camera that is used for surveillance and can send and receive data via a computer network and the internet. IP cameras are often used in IP surveillance systems and can be used for both indoor and outdoor surveillance.
CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) cameras are also used for surveillance, but they transmit a signal to a specific, limited set of monitors rather than being connected to the internet. CCTV cameras are connected to a series of monitors and recording devices through a closed circuit, hence the name "closed circuit television."
One key difference between IP cameras and CCTV cameras is the way they transmit video. IP cameras use the internet to transmit video, which means they can be accessed remotely from any device with internet access. CCTV cameras, on the other hand, transmit video through a closed circuit, which means they can only be accessed from the specific set of monitors and recording devices that are connected to the circuit.
Another difference between the two is that IP cameras are generally more expensive than CCTV cameras due to the added cost of networking equipment and internet access. However, IP cameras are generally easier to install and maintain, and they offer more advanced features such as remote viewing, motion detection, and the ability to send alerts to multiple devices.
Here is a simplistic image demonstrating visually the difference between CCTV and IP Cameras.
We suggest getting an IP camera because of its portability. While a CCTV camera is ideal for simple at home surveillance, you're not able to access the cameras when away from home. With an IP camera you have more flexibility with your home security.
Is an IP Camera less Secure than CCTV?
Both IP cameras and CCTV cameras can be secure, but they have different security risks that should be considered.
IP cameras are connected to the internet, which means they can potentially be accessed remotely by anyone who has the login credentials or who is able to exploit a security vulnerability in the camera. As a result, it is important to ensure that IP cameras are properly secured with strong, unique passwords and that they are regularly updated with the latest security patches.
CCTV cameras, on the other hand, transmit video through a closed circuit, which means they are not directly accessible from the internet. This can make CCTV cameras less vulnerable to remote attacks, but it also means that they are only as secure as the physical security of the closed circuit itself. If the circuit is compromised or the recording devices are accessed, the CCTV system could be compromised.
Overall, both IP cameras and CCTV cameras can be secure if they are properly configured and maintained, but it is important to consider the specific security risks of each type of camera and take steps to mitigate those risks.
Guide to IP Cameras vs. Webcam
IP cameras and webcams are digital cameras that can be used to capture and transmit video and audio, but they have some key differences.
IP cameras are primarily used for surveillance and security purposes, and they are often used in IP surveillance systems. They can be used indoors or outdoors, and they can transmit video and audio over a network or the internet. IP cameras are generally more expensive than webcams and offer more advanced features such as motion detection, night vision and remote viewing.
Webcams, on the other hand, are typically smaller and less expensive than IP cameras, and they are designed for personal use rather than for professional surveillance. Webcams are often built into laptops or desktop computers, and they are used for video conferencing, streaming, and other online activities. Webcams usually have a lower resolution and fewer features than IP cameras, while generally being easier to use and set up.
Other items of interest in our Guide to IP Cameras
In addition to the digital nature of the recording media, the cameras offer practical advantages over the alternative closed circuit security systems.
IP cameras come in a broad range of resolutions to display images in a single area. The resolutions are measured in megapixels or MP. The higher the megapixels, the clearer the image. For instance, a camera of 1.3 MP is four times clearer than analog cameras.
With this increased resolution, license plates are easier to read, faces are easier to see, and more areas are covered. This is one of the many reasons we recommend IP cameras because they give clear footage of your area while you're away.
Considering Total Cost of Ownership and Return on Investment
The total cost of ownership (TCO) of an IP camera can vary depending on a number of factors, including the type of camera, the number of cameras needed, the length of time they will be used, and the cost of maintenance and repairs. It is important to consider all of these key factors when determining the TCO of an IP camera, as they can all contribute to the overall cost of ownership.
Here are some of the key factors that can affect the TCO of an IP camera:
- Purchase price: The initial purchase price of the camera is a major factor in the TCO. IP cameras can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the features and capabilities of the camera.
- Installation costs: Installing an IP camera may require the services of a professional technician, which can add to the overall cost.
- Networking equipment: If the IP camera is not connected directly to the internet, it may require networking equipment such as a router or switch, which can also add to the TCO.
- Maintenance and repairs: IP cameras may require regular maintenance and repairs, which can add to the TCO over time.
- Power costs: IP cameras may require a power source, which can add to the TCO in the form of electricity costs.
The return on investment (ROI) of an IP camera depends on a number of factors, including the initial cost of the camera, the benefits it provides, and the length of time it is used.
To calculate the ROI of an IP camera, you will need to consider the following factors:
- Initial cost: The initial cost of the camera, including the purchase price, installation costs, and any additional networking equipment or software required, will be a key factor in the ROI calculation.
- Benefits: The benefits of the IP camera should be quantified in terms of their financial value. For example, if the camera is being used for security purposes, you may be able to estimate the value of any losses prevented or insurance premiums saved.
- Length of time: The length of time that the camera will be used will also impact the ROI calculation. The longer the camera is in use, the more benefits it will provide and the greater the ROI will be.
To calculate the ROI, you will need to divide the total benefits of the camera by the total cost of the camera and express the result as a percentage. For example, if the total benefits of an IP camera are $400 and the total cost is $200, the ROI would be $400/$200 = 2, or 200%. This means that for every dollar invested in the camera, you would get a return of $2.
It is important to note that the ROI of an IP camera is not fixed and can change over time as the costs and benefits of the camera change.
Guide to IP Cameras - Scalability
One of the main benefits of an IP camera is its easy system configuration. The system can be expanded for multiple cameras or configured for different needs. Cameras are added in increments of one or as much as the user desires.
Since IP cameras are wireless, it's easier to add them to your existing system. Most importantly, you can change the cameras without losing your original network. Get an IP camera if you want something that's easy to implement in your home surveillance system.
Modern IP cameras have improved performance over analog cameras thanks to the development of innovative imaging technologies. IP cameras have high-performance features like wide dynamic range, optical zoom lenses, and on-board analytics to help security leaders efficiently meet their surveillance needs.
Plus, the high-resolution cameras cover a larger area with a few cameras. The images are available in an archived or live format at any time along with your network. This gives you the ability to detect individuals easier and detect and prosecute burglars in the event.
While IP cameras offer a lot of security benefits, you need to know how to keep them secure. Doing so allows you to utilize the cameras while protecting the network from hackers. Here are a few tips to help you keep your working without the risk of getting hacked.
Secure Your Network
If you're using an IP camera at home, the "network" is your Wi-Fi network. There are many ways to secure a network, and the best approach will depend on the specific needs and requirements of the network. Here are some general tips for securing a network:
- Use a firewall: A firewall is a security system that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules. It can help prevent unauthorized access to your network and protect against cyber threats such as malware and hackers.
- Use strong passwords: It is important to use strong, unique passwords for all devices and accounts on the network. Avoid using easily guessable passwords, and consider using a password manager to store and generate secure passwords.
- Enable encryption: Encrypting the data transmitted over the network can help protect it from being accessed by unauthorized parties. There are various types of encryption that can be used, such as WPA2 for wireless networks and SSL for websites.
- Keep devices and software up to date: Make sure to keep all devices and software on the network up to date with the latest security patches and updates. This can help protect against known vulnerabilities and exploits.
- Use network segmentation: Network segmentation involves dividing the network into smaller, isolated segments, which can help to limit the impact of a security breach. For example, you could create separate segments for guest networks, administrative networks, and sensitive data networks.
By following these and other best practices, you can help secure your network and protect against potential security threats.
Password Protect your Cameras
Most IP cameras don't have any password protection for their cameras by default. Unfortunately, people forget to add a password protection system after setting it up. This neglectful action leaves your cameras open for hackers to access the system.
Almost every IP camera model offers a basic form of authentication. While it's not the best, it's better than having no security at all. Create a strong user name and a password to keep your camera feeds from the hands of hackers. Change your password once every two months to ensure your system remains safe.
Update The Firmware
Every IP camera comes with an upgradable user firmware. If there is a problem that occurred in the security, the manufacturer will fix the issue by creating a firmware update. You can refresh the camera firmware from your admin console through a web browser.
Check your IP security camera's website to find the latest firmware update. Make sure that your current version doesn't have a unpatched issue that's exploited by Internet voyeurs and hackers.
Make Local Camera Feeds
Don't connect your IP camera to an internet network. This increases the chances of your cameras being exposed to hackers. Don't connect your camera feeds to the internet if you don't want them to.
Keep your cameras on a local network if privacy is your primary priority. Then, assign them to an IP address that's not connected to the router.
Even if you have a non-routable IP address, your camera might still get exposed to camera software that uses UPNP or port forwarding to show your feeds on the internet. Look at your IP's website to find out how to place your cameras in local-only mode.
Before investing in cameras, you should have a fair idea about the types of IP security cameras.
Centralized and decentralized IP cameras are two different types of camera systems that are used for surveillance and security purposes. The main difference between the two is the way they are configured and the level of control they offer.
A centralized IP camera system is a system in which all the cameras are connected to a central server or control center. The central server is responsible for managing and storing the video footage captured by the cameras, as well as controlling the cameras' settings and features. This type of system is often used in larger organizations where there is a need to centrally manage and monitor multiple cameras.
A decentralized IP camera system, on the other hand, is a system in which the cameras are not connected to a central server or control center. Each camera operates independently and is responsible for storing and managing its own video footage. This type of system is often used in smaller organizations or in situations where there is a need for more flexibility and control at the individual camera level.
In summary, the main difference between centralized and decentralized IP camera systems is the way they are configured and the level of control they offer. Centralized systems are often used in larger organizations, while decentralized systems are often used in smaller organizations or in situations where there is a need for more flexibility and control at the individual camera level.
Wired Vs. Wireless IP Cameras
Wired IP cameras require the user to run power through the recording device's monitor where it's footage is shown. The wires are used to create a secure connection.
Wired and wireless IP cameras are two different types of cameras that are used for surveillance and security purposes. The main difference between the two is the way they are connected to the network.
Wired IP cameras are connected to the network using a physical cable, such as an Ethernet cable. They require a wired connection to transmit video and audio, and they are generally more stable and reliable than wireless cameras. However, wired cameras can be more difficult to install and may be less flexible in terms of placement, as they need to be physically connected to the network.
Wireless IP cameras, on the other hand, are connected to the network wirelessly using a wireless connection, such as Wi-Fi. They do not require a physical connection to transmit video and audio, and they are generally more flexible in terms of placement as they can be placed anywhere within range of the wireless network. However, wireless cameras may be less stable and reliable than wired cameras, as they can be subject to interference and signal loss.
In summary, the main difference between wired and wireless IP cameras is the way they are connected to the network. Wired cameras require a physical connection, while wireless cameras use a wireless connection. Each type of camera has its own benefits and drawbacks, and the best choice will depend on the specific needs and requirements of the surveillance system.
Fixed Vs. Pan/Tilt/Zoom
Fixed path cameras have no adjustable zoom, rotation or tilt settings. Its main advantage of PTZ cameras Is its stability. You don't have to continuously adjust your fixed camera to display the contents of an area. Fixed path cameras are simple to set and place cameras that easily help users receive proper surveillance with no issue.
Pan/Tilt/Zoom cameras are also known as PTZ cameras. PTZ cameras are capable of zoom control and remote direction. A huge advantage is their ability to cover a wide amount of space. Get a PTZ camera if you plan on doing surveillance in large areas such as a backyard or parking lot and want a camera that gives you full control.
Box Vs. Dome Cameras
Box and dome IP cameras are two different types of cameras that are used for surveillance and security purposes. The main difference between the two is the shape and design of the camera housing.
Box IP cameras are typically larger and more bulky than dome cameras, and they are characterized by a rectangular or box-like housing. Box cameras are often mounted on a wall or ceiling and are typically adjustable, allowing the user to pan, tilt, and zoom the camera to get a better view of the area being monitored. They are generally more versatile than dome cameras and can be used in a wider range of applications.
Dome IP cameras, on the other hand, are characterized by a dome-shaped housing that encloses the camera. They are typically smaller and more compact than box cameras, and they are often mounted on a ceiling or wall. Dome cameras are generally less adjustable than box cameras and are not as versatile, but they are often preferred for their more discreet appearance.
In summary, the main difference between box and dome IP cameras is the shape and design of the camera housing. Box cameras are generally more versatile and adjustable, while dome cameras are more compact and discreet. The best choice will depend on the specific needs and requirements of the surveillance system.
Night Vision Camera
Night vision IP cameras are cameras that are equipped with technology that allows them to capture video footage in low light or complete darkness. They use infrared (IR) or thermal imaging sensors to detect heat signatures and create a visible image of the area being monitored.
Night vision IP cameras are commonly used for surveillance and security purposes, as they can capture clear, detailed video footage even in conditions where traditional cameras would be unable to see. They are often used in outdoor applications, such as perimeter security or parking lot surveillance, where they can provide continuous monitoring around the clock.
Night vision IP cameras can be either wired or wireless, and they are available in various shapes and sizes to suit different applications. Some night vision cameras also have features such as motion detection and image enhancement to improve the quality of the video footage.
How To Setup IP Camera Surveillance
Setting up an IP camera surveillance system involves the following steps:
- Choose the right IP cameras: Select the IP cameras that meet your specific needs and requirements. Consider factors such as the camera's location, the area being monitored, the level of detail required, and any additional features you may need, such as motion detection or night vision.
- Install the cameras: Follow the manufacturer's instructions to install the cameras in the desired location. This may involve mounting the cameras on a wall or ceiling, running cables, and configuring the camera's settings.
- Connect the cameras to the network: Connect the cameras to the network using an Ethernet cable or a wireless connection. If you are using a wired connection, make sure the cameras are within reach of an Ethernet port. If you are using a wireless connection, make sure the cameras are within range of the wireless network and have the necessary login credentials.
- Configure the camera settings: Configure the camera's settings, such as the resolution, frame rate, and network settings, to meet your specific needs and requirements. Some cameras may also allow you to set up motion detection, email alerts, and other advanced features.
- View and monitor the cameras: Once the cameras are installed and configured, you can view and monitor the video footage using a computer, smartphone, or other device. You may need to install software or use a web browser to access the cameras remotely.
Best Place To Store Your IP Camera
The best place to store an IP camera will depend on the specific needs and requirements of the surveillance system. Here are some general considerations to keep in mind when choosing a location for an IP camera:
- Visibility: The camera should be placed in a location where it can clearly see the area being monitored. This may involve mounting the camera on a wall or ceiling, or using a tripod or other support.
- Accessibility: The camera should be easily accessible for installation, maintenance, and repair. Consider factors such as the location of the camera's power source and the availability of cables or wireless connectivity.
- Security: The camera should be placed in a location where it is secure and protected from tampering or damage. This may involve mounting the camera in a secure location or using a protective housing.
- Environmental conditions: The camera should be placed in a location where it is protected from environmental conditions such as extreme temperatures, moisture, and dust.
By considering these and other factors, you can choose a location for your IP camera that meets your specific needs and ensures that the camera is effective and reliable.
IP cameras require regular maintenance to ensure that they are functioning properly and delivering high-quality video footage. Here are some IP Camera Guide general tips for maintaining IP cameras:
- Keep the camera clean: Dust, dirt, and other debris can build up on the camera and affect its performance. Regularly clean the camera, paying special attention to the lens and other critical components.
- Check for software updates: IP cameras may require regular software updates to fix bugs, improve performance, and add new features. Check the manufacturer's website or the camera's settings regularly to see if any updates are available.
- Test the camera regularly: Test the camera regularly to ensure that it is functioning properly and capturing high-quality video footage. This may involve checking the video feed, adjusting the camera's settings, and testing any advanced features such as motion detection.
- Check the cables and connections: Make sure the camera's cables and connections are secure and in good condition. If any cables are damaged or frayed, they should be replaced to ensure the camera is functioning properly.
- Store the camera properly: If the camera is not in use, store it in a secure, dry location to protect it from damage. Make sure the camera is turned off and unplugged before storing it.
By following these and other maintenance tips, you can help ensure that your IP camera is functioning properly and delivering high-quality video footage. It is important to regularly maintain your camera to ensure that it is in good working order and to extend its lifespan.
Your IP camera increases the safety of your household. But there are a few things that we've left out. We've created a buying guide to help you find the best camera for you and your family. Check our buying guide to find the right IP camera within your price range.