Video Surveillance – analog or IP cameras?
More and more companies are installing video surveillance systems. Businesses want to protect their property against thieves and outside cameras are a deterent. And any person foolish enough to commit a crime with video cameras installed will surely be caught. In addition to protecting the business from intruders, video surveillance is also installed inside the office to prevent employee theft and false workmans comp claims. So, the question is not should you install video surveillance, it’s what kind of video surveillance, analog or IP?
Analog: An analog video surveillance system connects analog cameras to a DVR. A DVR is much like the DVR at your home, its an appliance that records video for easy playback. DVRs come in 4-camera, 8-camera, 16-camera or 32-camera configurations. How much video you want to store will decide on the size of the hard drive you purchase for the DVR.
Analog cameras use coax cable to connect back to the DVR. This coax cable can distribute power as well as video so the analog cameras do not need to be plugged into a power source.
Analog cameras are very high quality…about as good as today’s IP cameras. Analog video is not compressed, its sent down the coax cable as is, therefore, the image is not going to be getting any better with advances of technology, but it is still very good. The DVR can be connected to the LAN for easy viewing from a networked PC or smartphone.
Analog video surveillance is still the most cost effective method of installing video surveillance and still represents over 85% of the video surveillance market.
IP: An IP video surveillance system connects IP cameras to an NVR (network video recorder), a server on the network.
The NVR can handle any number of IP cameras, you simply purchase IP camera licenses for the NVR. As with the analog solution, the size of the hard drive will determine the amount of days you can keep your video.
IP cameras require data cabling (CAT5e or higher) to connect back to the NVR. To supply power to the camera you will need a power over ethernet (POE) managed data switch. Data has a range of 350′ so any IP camera that needs to be installed further than that will require another managed POE data switch in between the NVR and IP camera.
Today, in my opinion, analog and IP camera quality are basically the same. As technology progresses IP cameras will be better than analog.
An IP system is already on the LAN so it also can easily be viewed from networked PCs and smartphones.
Both analog and IP video surveillance systems can work with your business phone system for added security at the entrances. The NEC unified communications systems has a door box that allows visitors at the entrance of a building to press the door box to talk to employees on the phone system. The employee can view the person at the door using their PC which is connected to the video surveillance system. Once they have a positive ID on the person they can choose to press a button on their phone to let the person in.
Price: IP video surveillance systems are typically 30% higher than analog camera systems. If you want a really good video surveillance system at a good value, install an analog system. If you want to preserve the investment for the future because you feel you will need better camera technology later, spend the extra money now and install an IP video surveillance system.