How IP Cameras Work
What is an IP Security Camera
First of all, to understand how an IP Camera works we need to understand what an IP camera is. An IP Camera, also known as a IP network video camera or Internet Protocol camera, is a security camera that sends and receives data over a local area network (LAN) and/or the internet. This allows the user of the IP camera to access and view the video feed from anywhere in the world.
How Does a Network Camera work?
Instead of transmitting the video feed over a video cable to a monitor or DVR, an IP Camera transmits its digital video over a data connection i.e. Ethernet, Wi-Fi, LAN, etc. and depending on which type of IP camera is used, the video is saved either to a PC connected to the same network, steamed to the internet or saved on a built in memory source in the camera itself.
To send the captured video over the network, the footage needs to be compressed first since the more pixels an image is made up of, the more space on a hard drive it requires and the more bandwidth is needed to stream the files. A number of compression standards exist but the most common compression standard has become H.264/MPEG-4, also known as AVC (Advanced Video Coding).
Why Use a Network Camera and Where?
Network security cameras can perform all of the tasks a traditional CCTV system is capable of, but has the added feature of remote viewing, giving you the option to watch video feed from wherever you want to. Another big plus is that IP cameras can use the existing internet access so there is no need for extra installation of coaxial cables throughout the building and additional recording material is not necessary since any PC can be used to record and store the footage. There is also no limit to the number of cameras that can be installed on one network, as long as there is enough bandwidth available on the network.
What Do I Need in Order to Use a Network Camera?
In addition to a LAN or internet network, a network camera requires a static IP address or a Dynamic Domain Name Server (DDNS). You’ll also need a PC to configure the network camera and if you plan to record and store footage, you’ll need a dedicated NVR (Network Video Recorder) or install NVR software on your PC.
What is a Static IP Address and Why Do I Need One?
When your camera is connected to the network, you can easily access its stream by inserting the cameras IP address in your web browser. But since most ISP’s provide dynamic IP addresses to customers, you will need to ask your ISP for a fixed IP address, which your ISP will likely charge you for. Some 3rd party static IP addresses are available for free and can easily be found with a quick Google search.
What is the Difference Between a Standard Network Camera and a (PTZ) Network Camera?
A pan–tilt–zoom camera (PTZ camera) is a camera that has the added ability to be controlled remotely. Unlike a traditional fixed camera, a PTZ allows a user to adjust the camera’s view horizontally, vertically and to zoom in as necessary.
What is POE?
POE or Power Over Ethernet is a technology which allows electric current to be transferred at the same time as data on an Ethernet cable and thus eliminating the need for a separate power cable. POE is used in for different applications such as IP Security cameras, VOIP phones, and routers.
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