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Why Choose an IP Camera?

October 18, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 222

An IP Camera is essentially a digital video camera  that is designed to operate on a data network using Internet Protocols. They are sometimes simply referred to as Network Cameras, as they are designed primarily as a networking peripheral device with a digital video capability.  The actual term IP Camera is normally reserved for a camera whose primary role is that of surveillance. That is in contrast to a Webcam that is designed as a device that operates on the Internet and allows two parties to communicate using both voice and video.

There is another fundamental difference between an IP Camera and a Webcam, and that is in the fact that a Webcam usually requires a host device such as a computer. The Web Camera does not connect to the network via a network cable, but normally to the host computer via a USB cable or some other physical connection. Software will normally have to be installed on the host computer in order for the Web Camera to be functional. In contrast, the IP Camera will have a built-in Web Server and is capable of being controlled remotely over the network via sophisticated control protocols.

IP Cameras have the normal video camera components such as a camera lens and some form of image sensor. In addition, they are normally built in such a way as to be able to provide processing and compressing of images, as well as analysis and storage facilities. Any onboard memory is normally reserved for storing the operating system, as in the case of a standard computer, including networking capabilities. The networking facilities can either be via a wired Ethernet connection using standard twisted pair cable, or a wireless connection. In fact quite a number of recent IP Cameras offer the choice of either a wired or wireless connection, giving the user the flexibility of deployment. The devices themselves may, in come cases be powered from the network using Power over Ethernet, thus  relieving the device of the need for a local external power source.

As an IP Camera is primarily a surveillance camera, it is important on a network to provide a means of security, so they often use sophisticated security protocols such as encryption to ensure the resultant video streams and control protocols are secure from eavesdropping.

When deployed as a surveillance camera, these network cameras require sufficient storage facilities so that the video images can be recovered and replayed at a later date. Some devices have built-in storage facilities that enable the video recordings to be recorded directly to some storage device such as direct attached storage or network attached storage. Some network cameras form part of a system that have a centralized system of recorders, storage and alarm systems.

Just like any other network device the IP Camera will have an IP Address which is often statically configured, or can be dynamically configured via a DHCP server. Images are normally digitally converted according to an industry standard format such as MPEG or ITU-T H.264, so they can be either streamed live over the network, or previous recorded samples can be recovered and viewed as when required.

A lot of modern surveillance cameras now support some form of motion detection or audio detection, or a combination of both. The application of these cameras is constantly expanding but some examples might:

  • Surveillance of pubic places such as retail outlets, airports, company buildings.
  • Monitoring of access to data centres and other important installations.
  • Surveillance of private property such as entrances as well as outbuildings.
  • Monitoring of Car Parks, to provide peace of mind for customers when leaving vehicles unattended.

The facilities and function of Network Surveillance Cameras continues to evolve, and the price continues to fall. If you have a need for some form of video surveillance then do consider a network based camera.

Article Source: http://www.essencearticles.com/a/43111
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