Network IP Security Cameras (IP Cameras)

A network IP camera transmits its video over tcp/ip packets exactly the same way computers transmit video and data.  Network IP cameras can be displayed independently through a computer or can work with a NVR (network video recorder).  Inside each IP camera is a tiny onboard microcomputer which coverts and compresses the video into packets.  IP cameras make up the majority of the market for high definition security cameras.



  • Cameras use industry standard network cabling (Cat5e/Cat6)
  • Power is carried over the network cabling (Power Over Ethernet (PoE))
  • Video data is easily and reliably transmitted over fiber or over wireless bridges
  • IP Network Video is the future of Security Video, it is rapidly becoming the industry standard
  • Best video quality available- no megapixel or resolution limitations
  • Virtually no limitation for expansion
  • Easy to integrate with existing network infrastructure
  • More secure than any other video security technology
  • Lower TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) than any other technology
  • There are no distance limitations between the cameras and the recorder when using fiber
  • Best variety of supported cameras (70% of all HD security cameras are IP cameras)



Form Factors

IP cameras come in a variety of form factors.  Which form factor to use depends on several circumstances including desired image quality, aesthetic requirements, desire for conspicuousness, vandalism potential and camera features.  The most common form factors include:

  • MiniDome
  • Dome or Surface Dome
  • Turret Dome
  • Recessed Ceiling Mount
  • Bullet
  • Mini-Bullet
  • Recessed Wall Mount
  • Box
  • C-Mount
  • Semi-Recessed
  • Pan-Tilt-Zoom Dome (PTZ)
  • Enclosed Box
  • Covert (Hidden camera – takes on various form factors)

Camera Features

Each camera model has its own unique feature-set.  Each feature is important in deciding which camera you require and depends on many factors including lighting conditions, object distance or mounted height of camera, desired image clarity, weather conditions for outdoor cameras, vandalism potential and accessibility.


Varifocal Lens

Some security cameras offer varifocal lenses.  A varifocal lens is a camera lens with variable focal length (magnification).  Varifocal lenses come in different magnification varieties.  The numbers associated with the lens coincides with the amount of lens magnification.  A typical varifocal lens might have a focal range of 2.8-12mm.  The higher the number, the greater the magnification.  The same type of lens formulas used for photography apply for security cameras.


Auto Focus

Autofocus is the ability for the camera to automatically adjust its own focus.  This is done with a tiny motor attached to the lens and the camera uses an algorithm to determine when the focus is correct. Autofocus cameras are necessary for environments where cameras are difficult to access or where perfect focus is critical.  The auto-focus feature on a security camera is generally a costly feature adding between 60 and 300 percent to the cost over manual focus cameras.




WDR (Wide Dynamic Range)

Most modern cameras come equipped with WDR (Wide Dynamic Range).  Wide dynamic range is the ability to handle a wide range of lighting conditions within a single scene.  For instance, the sunlight shining through the windows or glass door from inside a building would distort a camera view without WDR.  WDR has the ability to filter out the various lighting conditions so that the image remains clear and consistently visible.


BLC (Backlight Compensation)

Most modern cameras are also equipped with BLC (Back Light Compensation).  BLC works well in conjunction with WDR.  BLC has a similar objective to WDR but is handled in a different way by the camera. Where a bright light source is behind the subject of interest, the subject would normally appear in silhouette. BLC adjusts the exposure of the entire image to properly expose the subject in the foreground.




IR (Infrared) Illumination or Night-vision

Some cameras are equipped with IR illumination which gives the camera the ability to see in the dark.  In complete darkness, the infrared light reflects back off objects giving the camera the ability to see without any visible light.  IR illumination ranges in power (brightness), distance and angle.



Another feature some cameras come equipped with is audio.  Audio comes in several varieties including a built-in microphone, microphone input and two-way audio.  A microphone input gives you the ability to add an external microphone to your camera.  Two-way audio has both inputs and outputs allowing audio surveillance from the external microphone as well as an an external amplified speaker for announcements.


Power Options

Cameras come equipped with different options for power consumption.  Most IP cameras are powered using power-over-ethernet (PoE) and sometime have the option of using an external 12v or 24v power supply instead of PoE.  Other cameras require a 12v or 24v power source.  Cameras with longer distances between the camera and power source should be 24v or PoE to help compensate for voltage drop.


Vandal Resistance

In environments where vandalism might be an issue, a vandal resistant camera can be used.  Vandal resistant cameras are made especially touch to resist vandalism attempts.  Vandal-resistant or vandal-proof domes are with a special clear or smoke plastic that can withstand a hit from a blunt object.  Vandal Resistance is measured in an IK index, an IK10 being the highest.

IK rate IK01 IK02 IK03 IK04 IK05 IK06 IK07 IK08 IK09 IK10
Energy at the impact (Joule) 0.14 0.2 0.35 0.5 0.7 1 2 5 10 20
Mass (Kg) 0.25 0.25 0.25 0.25 0.25 0.25 0.5 1.7 5 5
Stroke down (mm) 56 80 140 200 280 400 400 300 200 400


Video Output

IP cameras by default transmit video over TCP/IP.  Some cameras also have the ability to output the video in CCTV format.  This is useful for adjusting cameras or displaying the live camera image on a CCTV monitor.


Operating Conditions

Cameras are manufactured for a specific operating condition range in temperature and humidity.  Environments with higher temperatures and/or high humidity require cameras made to survive these environments.  Especially cold environments also require specially made cameras.


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