Common Misconceptions Related to Wireless IP-Surveillance Cameras

In the world of security network or IP cameras as they are sometimes referred to, you will find that they are rapidly increasing in popularity. The advantages of this technology is quickly being felt within the market and is providing flexibility within the industry in regards to numbers and types of cameras and the ability to coexist with current infrastructures. We are also seeing higher resolution with multi megapixel cameras taking place of traditional IR cameras and even HD cameras are now available. The overall value is increasing interest in the market, because the costs are now low and extremely competitive and in many cases this driving factor has made the ability to purchase an IP system instead of a CCTV a justified one.

And if that’s not proof enough, a major manufacturer stated the analog camera will still be around in 10 years but only for smaller projects and for replacement of existing systems. They anticipate all major players to focus on IP in the next 1 to 3 years.

I’m sure you all read that Wireless IP-Surveillance technology offers an impressive array of benefits which small to mid sized businesses and end users can gain, in addition to its very attractive total cost of ownership.  However, as with any technology, there may be a number of misconceptions regarding the performance which may give potential buyers pause in implementing wireless IP-Surveillance systems.  Below are some of the common misconceptions regarding this technology!

Security

IP-Surveillance: Although primarily used as a domain for public information, the Internet can also be used to transfer all types of sensitive information—provided the correct security measures, such as firewalls and password protection are implemented. Over the years an increasing number of banks and other financial institutions have regularly used the Internet as a medium for global money transactions; it has emerged as a proven medium for other secure applications like surveillance and security monitoring.

In combination with an organization’s firewall, IP-Surveillance technology allows product security to be tightly maintained using available internal password-protected security settings. In stark comparison to the digital technology, analog surveillance systems have no encryption of information whatsoever, making it extremely easy for anyone who has the “know how” or inclination to tap into the cables and illicitly view “secure” video transmissions.

Wireless: Security can be an area of concern for those considering the use of fixed wireless devices to transmit data. Because fixed wireless bridges transmit signals into the “air,” there is a perception that anyone could possibly “steal” the user’s data. Top of the line wireless providers incorporate a variety of counter-measures to ensure rigorous security of data.  These include Password protection—protection at two levels, one for the monitor and one to provide monitor/modify privileges Furthermore any astute organization will change their passwords at regular intervals to ensure that if someone has managed to compromise a system that they are no longer allowed access to it.

Transmission protection/ encryption—unique transmission signals that require the same maker’s equipment at both ends for decoding. In addition, “line of site” transmission, as opposed to Omni directional transmission ensures that only antennas firmly in the radio frequency target area can receive the data as well as secure wireless (IEEE 802.11b/g) network connection with WEP & WPA/WPA2-PSK encryption and advanced SSL/HTTPS encryption protects users' privacy from malicious intrusion.  

Data coding—potential intruders would have to obtain a unique transmission code set by the administrator to decode the data.   Most potential data thieves don’t have the several million years required exploring all the codes so as to get to the data. Should someone try to capture the data, but not provide the proper codes at regular intervals, transmission is immediately terminated.

Bandwidth

IP-Surveillance: Today, most computer networks are 100 Mbps Ethernet networks. In practice this means that the maximum usable bandwidth is around 50 Mbps. Consequently, one network camera, transmitting the highest resolution image at the maximum frame rate (30 frames per second) can potentially consume 5 Mbps. This means running an IP-Surveillance system on an office network simultaneously with other data applications could prove problematic. However, these potential difficulties can be easily overcome by employing the following techniques:

Switched networks: By using network switching—a common networking technique today—the same physical computer and IP-Surveillance network can be separated into two autonomous networks. Even though these networks remain physically connected, the network switch logically divides them into two virtual and independent networks.

Faster networks: As the price of hubs, switches, and routers continues to fall, the affordability of Gigabyte networks increases. Reducing the effect of limited bandwidth, the trend towards faster networks increases the potential value of remote monitoring over networks.

Event driven frame rate: 30 frames per seconds (fps) on all cameras at all times is more than what is required for most applications. With the configuration capabilities and built-in intelligence of the network camera/video server, frame rates under normal conditions can be set lower, e.g. 1-3 fps, to dramatically decrease bandwidth consumption. In the event of an alarm, if motion detection is triggered, the recording frame rate speed can be automatically increased to a higher frame level.

Quality

An IP camera is measured in terms of image resolution, which is in turn measured in mega pixels.

One common misconception is that megapixel cameras require more hard disk space and more bandwidth than legacy analog cameras, it's not necessarily accurate. Technology is changing storage and bandwidth usage for video and megapixel cameras now can be cropped, multiple concurrent streams, digital PTZ, and region of interest. This means that only the relevant image captured from the selected area of interest are stored instead of the entire field of view, there is significant reduction in redundant data. The overall benefits of megapixel cameras are obviously superior to conventional CCTV cameras.

Another thought is the higher the resolution the better the picture.  Again not necessarily true, for example you purchase a HD camera which has 720P of resolution. But why bother even getting a camera with HD 720P resolution when the monitor or viewing device does not have the same features. You may broadcast in HD, but you receive it in analog. In addition, if you connect the camera to the monitor and both are capable of HD 720P, then not having the proper connecting cable (HDMI) and not Coaxial also disrupts your image signal, so the image you get is not true HD 720P.

One other misconception is that having a higher resolution will ensure the identification of the perpetrator.  Again you’re wrong, you may have a crisper, cleaner image, assuming everything was connected properly, but this does not guarantee subject identification.  Anyone telling you this is lying and just trying to make a quick sale.  There are many other extenuating factors which may make identification impossible, the angle at which the subject was caught on the camera, the time of day, was the subject moving or stationary, at what distance was the individual, etc…  Any and all of these factors as well as others can make identification next to impossible.

We hope this blog has been informative and aided your decision to purchase an IP camera an easier one.

Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to ask questions, never be forced into a quick sale (A Today Only Offer) thus making the right choice will come easy, do your homework and use due diligence and you will be successful in finding the product which is right for you.

P.S We Hope It’s Ours!

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