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CCTV Systems


IP CCTV Explained

IP is an abbreviation for Internet Protocol, the most common protocol for communication over computer networks and the Internet. An IP Camera is a camera that creates digitised video streams and transfers these via a wired or wireless IP network, enabling monitoring and video recording as far away as the network reaches.

Operators typically use Computer for accessing and controlling cameras while a limited number of units offer direct access.

There are two distinct advantages of IP cameras over the conventional Analogue cameras

  • The clarity that is available is unsurpassed if you specify the right camera for the environment or task.
  • The cost of installing, maintaining and managing the system is substantially reduced when using an existing infrastructure.

But there are also disadvantages

  • The hardware is more expensive
  • The reliability and longevity of IP has not been fully tested.

One of the ways costs can be managed is through Power over Ethernet (POE) which is a technology that lets network cables carry electrical power. For example, a security camera normally requires two connections to be made when it is installed:

  • A video connection, in order to be able to communicate with video recording and display equipment
  • A power connection, to deliver the electrical power the camera needs to operate

However, if the camera is POE-enabled, only the network connection needs to be made, as it will receive its electrical power from this cable as well.

Advantages of POE:

Flexibility - without being tethered to an electrical outlet, devices such as IP cameras and wireless access points can be located wherever they are needed most, and repositioned easily if required.
Safety - POE delivery is intelligent, and designed to protect network equipment from overload, underpowering, or incorrect installation..
Reliability - POE power comes from a central and universally compatible source, rather than a collection of distributed wall adapters. It can be backed-up by an uninterruptible power supply, or controlled to easily disable or reset devices.

Analogue CCTV Systems

The traditional CCTV system consists of a number of analogue cameras, with the video image from each camera routed back over a dedicated copper infrastructure to a central control room. The video inputs are switched to one or more monitors either through a video matrix or digital recorder, and the video images may be recorded on a VCR or DVR.

Operators typically use a keyboard or remote to select cameras and monitors by number, and a joystick to move any PTZs (pan tilt zoom) that may be installed. There are established industry standards (the UK uses PALvideo formats) so that any combination of camera, matrix and monitor can be interconnected.

While this technology has served us well for over 30 years, it has a number of limitations:

  • Complex cabling – each camera typically requires a dedicated cable from the camera to the video matrix, another cable for power, and often a third cable for camera control.
  • Limited monitoring capabilities – each viewing position requires a dedicated video monitor and cabling, with limited capacity for remote monitoring.
  • Limited recorded picture quality – traditional VHS tape quality is limited, and picture quality degrades every time it is copied.
  • Inflexible recording – retrieving a recording from tape is slow and labour-intensive.
  • Restricted to interlaced standard-definition images.

Depending on your application and your specific requirements, these limitations may not affect you and a traditional analogue CCTV system may be perfectly adequate. However, in today’s world where there is increasing pressure to move CCTV from a dedicated infrastructure to a multi-service network then it is clear that we need an alternative solution that embraces modern network technology.

H.264 Format Explained

H.264 was developed to provide high-quality video at a much lower bit rate than standard MPEG-4 or JPEG. With better compression, stored files will take up much less room on the hard drive of a Network or Digital Recording device which in turn offers significant savings on storage.

For network cameras designed to work with H.264 you will see a distinct improvement on your network speed as they require less than one-fifth of bandwidth when compared to JPEG.

For analogue cameras it’s all about getting the most of your camera technology.

Silver Fern Security is an SSAIB Approved Provider
SSSAIB Registration Code BEDS040
We are CRB checked

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Registered Address: Unit 2 8a Market Square, Potton, Bedfordshire, SG19 2NP

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