Following on from last month’s post where we discussed the pros and cons of wireless security systems, we promised a closer look at the ins and outs of hosted or ‘IP’ security cameras, and here it is.

It can be a challenge trying to decide which type of security cameras to install on your business premises. On one hand, wired cameras hold the advantage in that they are not subject to interference or at risk from unauthorised remote access, but they can also be more expensive and far less flexible than their wireless counterparts.

Internet protocol cameras, also known as IP CCTV or hosted CCTV, are basically webcams. They work by delivering real time feed to any internet enabled device, and are controlled remotely. Because they are simple to operate, and also because they require very little capital outlay in comparison to wired systems, they can be adopted by businesses of all sizes, from micro companies upwards.

Wireless Cameras: Pros and Cons

IP CCTV uses wireless cameras which can be placed wherever required around the premises, inside and out, providing they are within range of the receiver. This means that cameras can easily be repositioned should anything change, for example if a weak spot in a security system is identified. Wireless cameras can also be concealed easily due to the lack of cables, and also because they are fairly small in size.

There is still a need for a power supply of course, although if this is a problem then there is the option to adapt the system so that it runs off batteries. Providing high quality, long life batteries are used then there should not be a regular need to change them. A lithium ion rechargeable battery pack and charger is a good move if you want to keep costs down and be kinder to the environment.

Wireless cameras can, however, be subject to interference or signal loss. Anything from cordless and mobile phones to thick floors or walls, adverse weather and close proximity to power sources or even direct sunlight can affect the feed making it intermittent, grainy or even stopping it altogether. It does depend on the quality of the camera and the system, but even the top of the range models cannot guarantee 100 per cent uptime.

Internet Protocol CCTV: How it Works

IP CCTV works by transforming images into data which is transmitted over a local area network (LAN) or internet connection to a location such as a security suite, a PC or any internet enabled device.

Cameras are operated remotely via a secure login. Pretty much any internet enabled device can be used to view and record footage, and in the case of some higher end models, to control the viewing area of cameras by moving them. If you want to view a large area with a single camera, this feature can be particularly beneficial. And if you want to keep an eye on the security of your premises wherever you happen to be in the world, this is definitely a system that will prove highly advantageous.

The Beauty of IP CCTV

The beauty of these systems is that they can be fully integrated with other elements of your security set-up. So for example if an alarm goes off, you could have the system set to automatically send live footage to the Alarm Receiving Centre who would notify you and the police of any issues.

Another benefit of IP CCTV and wireless systems is that they allow you to record simultaneously from an unlimited bank of cameras. Plus you can store as many recordings as your hard drive or cloud storage will allow. Images are high quality, usually anything from 1.3 million to 10 million megapixels, and therefore helpful where required as evidence.

Important Considerations

It is important to realise that anything that works via an internet or network connection is at risk from unauthorised access. Care must be taken with passwords and system security just as it would be when using any type of connected device. Professional advice should always be taken to ensure your organisation’s data is safeguarded at all times.

You will also need to consider your network capabilities when thinking about adopting a hosted CCTV system. Depending on the camera models chosen, some will have a greater impact on bandwidth than others. As cameras become more sophisticated, so the challenges to the networks they operate over become greater.

Ideally, your IT manager should enter into discussions with your chosen security expert who will be a specialist in the field of IP security. They will discuss the potential impact of a new system on the existing network, and decide whether it would be a wise option to run a parallel network.

Parallel networks are often used to cleverly isolate the video capturing and archiving aspects so that precious bandwidth is not taken away from other applications. This is just one of a number of options, and stresses the importance of taking professional advice before deciding upon a system.

Other IP CCTV Features to Consider

When choosing a wireless CCTV camera, you will come across numerous features, so either take time to make sure your chosen model comes with everything you expect it to, or ask for an expert’s recommendation based on your particular needs and risk level. Some of these features include zoom, picture quality, low-light operation, weather-resistance, vandal-resistance and image stabilisation. Remember that some of these features will impact upon your network.

If you are considering adopting a wireless or IP CCTV system within your business premises, talk to the dedicated experts at Barry Bros Security. We can visit your premises and discuss the technical considerations with you or your IT manager, and provide you with the advice and guidance you need to make an informed decision that is right for your business, and your budget.