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:
When implementing a CCTV system (e.g. one based around our macOS CCTV software SecuritySpy) it is important for all cameras to maintain the correct time for the purposes of drawing accurate timestamps onto their video streams. Not only will this help you review recorded footage, but if there is an incident that needs to be reported to the police, it will help them with their investigation. You may even be asked to verify or demonstrate to the police that your cameras are set to the correct time.
For this purpose, you should always give your cameras a valid NTP server address (NTP stands for Network Time Protocol). The cameras will contact the NTP server at regular intervals to set their clocks (you should also set your cameras with accurate daylight savings time settings, so that any such adjustments are applied automatically during the summer months).
For this purpose, we recommend using one of the time servers that Apple provides for free, which are time.apple.com, time.euro.apple.com and time.asia.apple.com. Continue reading →
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.
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.
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.
Merit LILIN is an established manufacturer of quality IP surveillance products, and has an extensive array of network cameras available for sale, from inexpensive consumer-level cameras to top-quality professional models.
The LILIN LD2222 and IPD2220 are both dome-type indoor 2 MP cameras with very similar feature sets. They are small and discreet, and can supply 1080p HD video as well as audio via a built-in microphone. Both support Power-over-Ethernet, making them easy to install when using a PoE-enabled switch. The main difference between the two models is the low-light performance: the LD2222 is rated down to 0.6 lux while the IPD2220 is specified to produce useful images at down to 0.2 lux, due to what LILIN calls “Sense UP+” low-light technology. This potentially makes the IPD2220 particularly useful for installation in locations with poor lighting.
Here we are testing the LD2222E4, which has a 4mm lens (there is also a LD2222E2 model available with a 2.8mm lens), and the IPD2220ES2, which has a 2.8mm lens (there is also a IPD2220ES4.3 model available with a 4mm lens). The shorter the focal length the wider the angle of view, however lenses with very short focal lengths (such as 2.8mm) tend to exhibit significant barrel distortion, resulting in a mild fish-eye effect.
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.
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.
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.
Since our initial 10 Recommended IP Cameras post, network cameras have been improving steadily, with many new models released. Therefore it is time to update the list with our picks for 2015. As before, the cameras listed here are 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 video surveillance software for the Mac.
Some abbreviations used below for camera features are as follows:
MP – Megapixels – the number of millions of pixels in the image sensor. The higher this value, the more detailed the image, but note that optical quality of the lens system also makes a huge difference, so resolution isn’t everything.
PoE – Power-over-Ethernet – when using a PoE switch, the camera draws power over the ethernet cable and therefore doesn’t need a separate power supply. This is very useful for easy installation and ongoing reliability.
IR – Infra Red – some cameras include Infra Red LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) for night vision.
PTZ – Pan Tilt Zoom – mechanical movement of the camera that can be controlled by SecuritySpy.
For a simple high-quality 1.2 MP outdoor bullet camera, this model is ideal. It features PoE and good night vision thanks to its bright IR LEDs, and it is outstanding value at only USD $100. Minor downsides include the lack of audio, and somewhat awkward initial setup (due to pre-set static IP addresses – but we have instructions for the setup in these cases). For a higher-resolution model, have a look at the 2.1 MP IPC-HFW4200S or the 3.1 MP IPC-HFW4300S. Continue reading →
The IP camera market is changing rapidly, and while we do make some specific camera recommendations in our SecuritySpy Installation Manual, we are always coming across new noteworthy cameras, and there are simply too many to list in the manual. So we have put together our current 10 recommendations for network cameras in this blog post – the cameras described here are in no particular order (they are quite varied in terms of cost and feature set, which makes them difficult to rank in a “top 10” list), however they are all cameras, due to their impressive collections of features, that we recommend to our customers. All the cameras featured here are capable of MPEG-4 and/or H.264 compression, which can be directly recorded by SecuritySpy for optimum quality and efficiency.