IP stands for Internet Protocol, and basically refers to a digital video camera that can send and receive data via a computer network, as opposed to sending a feed to a Digital Video Recorder (DVR). This is advantageous for a lot of reasons:
- Picture Quality: The best analog surveillance camera still can’t hold a candle to the worst IP camera when it comes to the resolution of the image it captures. At best, an analog camera can manage the equivalent of less than half a megapixel, whereas a Megapixel camera wouldn’t be much good if it didn’t produce an image of at least ONE of the things it’s named after. Many of the Everfocus cameras we stock are available in 1.3, 2, or 3mp configurations, which is far better quality than you could hope to achieve with a traditional CCTV camera. Additionally, IP cameras capture a much wider field of view than comparable analog cameras, meaning a single IP camera is potentially able to do the job of three to four of the old school cams.
- Video Analytics: This is a fancy term that basically means you can set your network to flag “events” that occur in the cameras’ field of vision. This could be anything from motion detection to missing objects to tampering with the camera itself. Instead of poring over hours of footage, your network can tell you exactly when these events occurred and point you right to them.
- Flexibility and Scalability: In a traditional analog DVR set-up, each camera must be connected directly to the DVR. IP cameras can circumvent this through the use of switches, which allow cameras in close proximity to each other to be connected to a single switch, which then runs a single wire to the NVR (Network Video Recorder). This reduces the amount of cabling runs, which makes it ultimately less labor intensive, and also allows you to connect more cameras because you’re no longer limited by the number of ports on your DVR. On top of that, using a PoE (Power over Ethernet) switch allows your Cat 5e or Cat 6 cable to run the signal AND provide power to your camera, eliminating the need for a separate power supply.