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IP CCTV: The Network Challenge

IP cameras are easy to connect. However, many people worry on their effect on an existing network as it can potentially be unpredictable. Nortech explain how to overcome this.

As IP CCTV cameras connect to Ethernet LAN, businesses to reduce cost, usually install camera systems onto their existing network. Doing this will require a large and sufficient amount of available bandwidth. If you do not have this bandwidth available, installing camera systems will congest the network and disrupt existing network services and the employees that use them.

There are certain things that need to be considered when installing IP cameras to a network, and each in its turn will affect the amount of bandwidth that is requires to provision a good service and avoid adverse impact. Firstly, consider the quantity of cameras you are installing. Each requires a certain amount of bandwidth, as a result, the more cameras you install, the more pressure being put on the network. Secondly, is the image size. Cameras are capable of recording using low or high-resolution video and this again will affect the volume of data being transmitted and then there is compression, determined by what CODEC and video rate is used.

Increasing compression, could save bandwidth, but will result in choppy and blocky video which may not be acceptable for the required application. There are alternatives to consider when developing IP cameras. By using an existing network, you are saving time and money, but if you do not plan carefully it will cause problems for other network systems and may deliver poor quality video. On the other hand, you can ensure that cameras are given dedicated bandwidth and do not impact the production network, if you create a separate network. Additionally, equipment and infrastructure will be more expensive, but could also help with network security.
Performance – It doesn’t matter which option you pick, IP CCTV cameras can still suffer performance issues, and when troubleshooting, there is a knowledge gap among installers and integrators. A completely different troubleshooting process in required by IP cameras to analogue cameras in order to identify why, for example, image quality is poor. A common complaint is that video is choppy or pixelated. Congestion on the network is detected by IP cameras and will automatically compensate by lowering their output bandwidth by reducing the frame rate or increasing compression, this results in poor quality video. However, at the network level, the camera setting may look totally fine and not reflect the characteristics of the actual video stream.

What’s Next? – Higher-resolution cameras are now entering the market, but without the network to support bandwidth requirements they will not ensure better quality. This may drive a need for separate networks, and for installers to properly understand them. Luckily, Nortech can help you with all of these issues. Contact us today for more information on 01604 259467 or click here to read more on our website.