How to see network quality for a given camera?
  • Is it possible to find out whether a given camera is struggling to get the network throughput it wants or whether it has a lot of bandwidth available to it and I could raise the frame rate? Do the cameras report this somehow?
  • The best way to determine this is via the "Frame Rate (FPS)" and "Packet Loss" numbers available in the Camera Info window (if you don't see these, click the header bar where you see the column names in order to enable these columns).

    If the frame rate shows in SecuritySpy is significantly lower than that set in the camera, then this may indicate that there is not enough network bandwidth (and the camera is therefore throttling downwards its sending rate).

    Likewise, if the packet loss percentage is anything other than zero, this may indicate a network bandwidth problem.
  • ok so if I see 0.0% packet loss for a camera, I could set the camera to send more fps?
  • Yes, zero packet loss is a good sign and indicates that your network may tolerate a higher frame rate. However, as well as using network bandwidth, note that increasing camera frame rates may increase your Mac's CPU usage as well as the size of recorded files. In general, we recommend a frame rate of 8-10fps or so as a good balance between video quality and resource usage.
  • Actually, I now see a camera that's set for 15 fps, but showing up as 7fps on the Camera Info screen, with 0.0% Loss - how can it be 0% loss if it's showing up at half the rate it's set for?
  • In a situation with low network bandwidth (i.e. not enough bandwidth to send video at the rate it is set to), data backs up in the camera's network buffer, and it can respond to this in one of two ways:

    High-quality cameras throttle back their frame rate to a level that is tolerable to the network, while maintaining the integrity of their video streams.

    Low-quality cameras (plus some from respectable brands that really should work better) dump packets/frames randomly, causing packet loss and corrupt video at the receiver.

    So, it sounds like your camera could be doing the former.
  • Ok so in the former case, this wouldn't be visible to SS so it couldn't report packet loss right?
  • That’s correct - from SecuritySpy’s point of view it’s just receiving a valid video stream at 7fps.

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