Tag Archives: mac

Segregating IP Cameras on their own LAN

Our macOS CCTV software SecuritySpy allows you to set up an effective video surveillance system of any size, in both home and commercial settings.

The simplest setup for a LAN (Local Area Network) that includes network cameras is to have a central Ethernet switch with all devices, including the cameras, connected to it. This works well for small networks, but there are some problems with this setup that become especially important on larger networks:

  • IP cameras generate constant traffic, which can slow down the LAN.
  • Having cameras on the main LAN, with Internet access, can be a security risk.
  • Larger PoE (Power-over-Ethernet) switches are expensive, have significant power consumption, and often contain noisy fans.

The solution to these problems is to segregate the IP cameras onto their own LAN. In contrast, this solution has the following advantages:

  • Camera traffic is completely separate and does not impact the normal LAN.
  • Cameras do not have Internet access, removing the risk of them sending sensitive information over the Internet or being hacked.
  • You can use a PoE switch that is no larger than you need it to be. Smaller PoE switches are less expensive, use less power, and are quieter.

Setting this up does require a bit of knowledge of IP addressing, so if you are not familiar with this topic, we would advise you to research how IP addresses work on local networks before proceeding. An example setup is as follows:

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Setting Up A Home CCTV System

In this blog post, we will go through the process of setting up a video surveillance system for your home, based around our macOS CCTV software SecuritySpy. When setting up a home CCTV system, cost is an important consideration, but we also want to choose high-quality hardware that is easy to install and set up. To this end, our example system will comprise the following components:

Cameras: we have chosen to use Amcrest IP5M-T1179EW cameras for the following reasons:

  • Physically quite small and unobtrusive.
  • Easy plug-and-play setup (no manual IP/network setup required).
  • High resolution (5 MP), night vision, and good codec support (H.265 and AAC).
  • A built-in microphone – essential for a camera covering an entrance.
  • Great value – under US$70.

IP5M-T1179EW-28MM Camera Continue reading

10 Recommended IP Cameras 2020

Here are our network camera picks for 2020. They are listed in no particular order (they are quite varied in terms of cost and feature set, which makes them difficult to rank as a “top 10″ list), however they are all cameras that, due to their impressive features, we recommend to our customers for use with our SecuritySpy CCTV software for the Mac.

Some abbreviations used below are as follows:

  • MP – Megapixels – the number of millions of pixels in the image sensor. The higher this number, the more detailed the image, but resolution isn’t everything: the optical quality of the lens system is also extremely important.
  • PoE – Power-over-Ethernet – when using a PoE switch, the camera draws power over the ethernet cable and therefore doesn’t require a separate power supply. This is very useful for easy installation and ongoing reliability. All the wired Ethernet (i.e. non-WiFi) cameras on this list support PoE, but note that the larger “speed dome” cameras typically require the higher-powered PoE+ standard.
  • IR – Infra-Red – some cameras include Infra-Red LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) for night vision. Usually the manufacturer will specify the maximum useful range of the IR in meters.
  • P-Iris / DC-Iris – These features allow the camera lens to automatically adjust its aperture size, based on the amount of incoming light. P-Iris is more sophisticated and will give better results than than DC-Iris, but both are far better than a Fixed-Iris lens, especially for outdoor applications.
  • Varifocal – These lenses allow you to zoom in and out somewhat (sometimes manually, sometimes motorised), in order to adjust the field of view at installation time. A focal length of 2.8mm is very wide-angle; 4mm is standard; 8mm is moderately telephoto.
  • PTZ – Pan, Tilt, Zoom – motorised remote control of the camera’s horizontal and vertical angle, and focal length.

For purchasing IP cameras, we recommend B&H Photo Video – they are a reliable, established outlet. Amazon is another option, however there are many “grey market” cameras sold on Amazon (e.g. cameras designed for the Chinese market only, but sold into the US against the manufacturer’s rules), which should be avoided due to potentially foreign-language user interfaces, lack of firmware upgrades, and lack of support from the manufacturer.

BASIC OUTDOOR DOME: DAHUA TECHNOLOGY N44BN52

Dahua Wedge Camera

This compact outdoor Dome camera from Dahua is a good inexpensive ($180) camera for covering an outdoor area. 4 MP resolution and good low-light sensitivity, combined with 20m night vision and a built-in microphone, provide all the basic features necessary to make an effective addition to any CCTV system. And it works in temperatures down to -40° C (–40° F), making it ideal for extreme environments. Continue reading

10 Recommended IP Cameras 2019

Here are our network camera picks for 2019. They are listed in no particular order (they are quite varied in terms of cost and feature set, which makes them difficult to rank as a “top 10″ list), however they are all cameras that, due to their impressive features, we recommend to our customers for use with our SecuritySpy CCTV software for the Mac.

Some abbreviations used below are as follows:

  • MP – Megapixels – the number of millions of pixels in the image sensor. The higher this number, the more detailed the image, but resolution isn’t everything: the optical quality of the lens system is also extremely important.
  • PoE – Power-over-Ethernet – when using a PoE switch, the camera draws power over the ethernet cable and therefore doesn’t require a separate power supply. This is very useful for easy installation and ongoing reliability. Note that some cameras require the higher-powered PoE+ standard.
  • IR – Infra-Red – some cameras include Infra-Red LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) for night vision. Usually the manufacturer will specify the maximum useful range of the IR in meters.
  • P-Iris / DC-Iris – These features allow the camera lens to automatically adjust its aperture size, based on the amount of incoming light. P-Iris is more sophisticated and will give better results than than DC-Iris, but both are far better than a Fixed-Iris lens, especially for outdoor applications.
  • Varifocal – These lenses allow you to zoom in and out somewhat (sometimes manually, sometimes motorised), in order to adjust the field of view at installation time. A focal length of 2.8mm is very wide-angle; 4mm is standard; 8mm is moderately telephoto.
  • PTZ – Pan, Tilt, Zoom – motorised remote control of the camera’s horizontal and vertical angle, and focal length.

BASIC OUTDOOR DOME: DAHUA TECHNOLOGY N44CG52 / N44CG53

Dahua N44CG52 IP Camera

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Case Study: The Raven Hotel

For any organisation still using analog cameras, SecuritySpy offers an easy upgrade path to a digital solution, allowing you to keep your analog cameras while gradually moving to a system based on megapixel IP cameras.

The Raven Hotel was in exactly this situation, and used SecuritySpy as their video surveillance solution. Below is their experience of SecuritySpy, in their own words.

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Siselectron SCI1132 Camera Review

Siselectron Technology is a new player in the IP video security market, with a limited but impressive range of IP cameras designed for demanding applications.

Features

The SCI1132 is a box-type camera that is suitable for indoor usage, with some impressive features that you won’t easily find elsewhere. To start with, it has a built-in 3x zoom lens (3-9mm), which provides a very useful zoom range, from wide-angled to moderately telephoto. It has an impressive 4 MP resolution (twice the number of pixels as 1080p), and it can stream at its full resolution at up to 30fps. In addition, it has auto-focus (rather than the fixed-focus lenses found on lower-quality cameras) as well as an audio input (to be used with an external powered microphone), and power-over-ethernet.

 

Siselectron SCI1132 Side View

Siselectron SCI1132 Side View

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Review: Vivotek IB8168 IP Camera

Vivotek is a long-standing manufacturer of quality IP surveillance products, and have an extensive lineup of network cameras to suit all requirements. We have supported their cameras in our Mac CCTV software SecuritySpy for over a decade, and we frequently recommend them to our customers.

Features

The IB8168 is a small simple bullet-style camera for indoor use. Like its dome-style counterpart, the FD8168, it is described by Vivotek as “ultra-mini”, which is certainly appropriate for a camera that measures a mere 11cm (4.5″) long and 3cm (1.25″) in diameter. It features a 2 MP sensor that can supply 1080p video at 15fps, and is powered by PoE (Power-over-Ethernet), with no option to directly connect a power adaptor. One notable feature of this camera is the size of its image sensor, which, at 1/2.7″, is larger than the 1/3″ or 1/4″ sizes typically seen in IP cameras. Larger sensors almost always equal higher-quality images, due to lower noise and higher dynamic range.

Build Quality

The casing and mount are all made from plastic, which gives the camera a bit of a cheap feel. In addition, the rear cap (which can be removed to reveal a status light, SD card slot and reset button) is a little too easy to unfasten, so in an install I would be inclined to use glue or tape to ensure it doesn’t fall off accidentally. However the camera and mount are well-designed, allowing secure mounting and flexible positioning.

Vivotek IB8168 Network Camera

Vivotek IB8168 Network Camera

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Review: Foscam FI9800P IP Camera

Despite a history of producing cheap cameras of questionable quality, Foscam has recently released some very promising models. Their cameras are popular with our customers due to their low prices, so we are very keen to investigate the new models on offer from this long-standing manufacturer.

Features

The Foscam FI9800P is a compact outdoor 1 MP network camera with night-vision, built-in wireless communication, and audio input (microphone not included). Most waterproof outdoor cameras on the market do not have WiFi, so this is an unusual set of features that makes this camera particularly suited for installations where running ethernet cabling would be problematic.

Another nice feature is the mechanical IR-cut filter, which will filter out infrared light during the day while allowing it to pass through to the sensor at night. Having the IR-cut filter in place during the day results in better colour reproduction and image clarity. Many low-cost cameras with night-vision do not have an IR-cut filter, and this results in unfocussed images with bad colour reproduction in daylight.

Foscam FI9800P IP Camera

Foscam FI9800P IP Camera

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Review: Dahua IPC-HDW4300C IP Camera

Dahua Technology has been a major player in the IP camera market for the last few years, and their current lineup of cameras boasts many impressive models at very reasonable prices. Their outdoor bullet cameras in particular are very popular, and we frequently recommend them to our customers.

Features

The IPC-HDW4300C is a compact outdoor dome camera. While there are a bewildering number of dome cameras on the market, this one stands out from the competition due to it’s comprehensive feature set, which includes 3 MP resolution, PoE (power-over-ethernet), infrared night-vision and built-in microphone. It’s rare to see an outdoor camera with a built-in microphone, so this feature alone makes the IPC-HDW4300C unusual. In addition, this camera has impressive low-light sensitivity, at 0.01 lux for colour and 0.005 lux for black and white. This, combined with the camera’s built-in infrared illumination, makes the camera suitable for outdoor locations where lighting is poor.

Build Quality

Due to the camera’s all-metal construction, it feels very solid and no doubt will be very durable. It’s compact in size, measuring just over 10cm (4″) across the base, and 9cm (3.5″) tall from base to dome.

Dahua Technology IPC-HDW4300C IP Camera

Dahua Technology IPC-HDW4300C IP Camera

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Review: Foscam C1 HD Wireless IP Camera

There is a wide variety of network cameras on the market, and Foscam is firmly at the lower end, producing inexpensive cameras for home use. Unfortunately, due to reliability issues, we officially support only a handful of their cameras in our Mac video surveillance NVR software SecuritySpy. However, Foscam cameras are very popular with customers due to their low cost, and they have certainly improved in quality recently, so we are continuously reviewing this situation and adding support for new Foscam cameras wherever possible.

Foscam has just released a new camera, the C1, which offers a nice set of features at an amazing price (and hopefully spells the end of their horribly confusing model numbers!). For just USD $80 (GBP £54 or EUR €70) you get 1 MP resolution, WiFi, built-in infra-red LEDs for night vision, and audio. Here’s our take on it:

Size

The camera is very compact, measuring just 7cm (2.7″) wide and 12cm (4.7″) tall when fully extended. It’s powered by a USB cable from a small USB power adaptor. This is a useful feature, making it easy to replace the cable or power adaptor when required – for example, if you need a longer cable than the 2m (6.5′) one provided.

Foscam C1 with Magic Mouse for size comparison

Foscam C1 IP camera with Magic Mouse for size comparison

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