IP Camera Basics Series – Part I

People often have many questions regarding IP cameras, including the following:

  • How do I find my IP camera?
  • How do I view my IP cameras remotely?
  • How do I get my IP camera to record and where does it store the data?
  • How much data storage do I need?

While this article won’t answer all of those questions, it will give us a starting point. This will allow us to explain what IP cameras are, how they work, and what we need to do to help you answer the above questions.


The first thing we want to address is what is a IP camera? How is it different from a CCTV camera, and what are the main advantages of owning an IP camera?

An IP camera is a camera that is designed to work on a network, along with your computers, laptops, printers and other devices. This gives the camera the ability to connect to the internet and allows the owner to view it on any computer within the network as well as even on their iPhone or Android device when they are away from the office, home, or other locations.

How is this different from a CCTV camera? There are various ways in which IP cameras are superior to CCTV cameras. CCTV stands for closed circuit television. It means the cameras are connected to each other with coax cable and then all connect to one device that can record and store the data. IP cameras work in much the same way, but instead of using coax, they use CAT5e cabling. CCTV cameras can’t get as high of a resolution as IP cameras, and you can’t control each camera in a CCTV system nearly as in depth as a IP camera can.

Because IP cameras are small computers with a camera attached, there are many things they can do that CCTV cameras can’t. Some of these abilities include motion detection by the camera, scheduling, wireless capabilities, even FTP and e-mail updates. CCTV cameras require a DVR to make any of this happen. They depend on the DVR to tell then when to record, when to turn on or off, etc. With IP cameras, one camera can do all of that and more, essentially eliminating the need for an DVR or NVR.

This is leads us to an important point. DVRs and NVRs, while not strictly needed, are ideal in multiple camera situations and even in one camera situations depending on how much traffic the camera records. Some IP cameras have on board SD cards that can record locally. However, there are many problems with this method. When you record on a SD card, you limit the amount of space the camera can use and how far back you can search if something happens. It also could go bad, be removed from the device, or be damaged. DVRs and NVRs allow for greater storage space in a more secure location which ensures that you have the data you need, when you need it.

There are several kinds of IP cameras including bullets, domes, box and PTZ cameras. Each has their advantages and disadvantages given certain scenarios and settings. It’s important to ask experts who really know each cameras specifications and capabilities. I personally recommend the guys at http://www.a1securitycameras.com. They’re very knowledgeable about IP cameras and other security needs and definitely worth a call if you need advice. They also can provide you with great deals on the camera equipment you need.

That wraps up this post on IP Cameras, but look for more posts soon regarding the questions we started the article with!

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