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IP or Analogue

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About Us

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Have you ever seen a crime drama movie or TV show where a bunch of police are gathered around surveillance footage and suddenly one of them says: “Wait! Zoom in on that guy! Enhance the image!” and then suddenly, miraculously, the grainy and blurry footage of what might be vaguely a human becomes a precise, crystal clear vision of the culprit? They identify the perp, bring him in, case closed.

Well, that's total fiction. In reality, the grainy footage from that analogue security camera is only going to get blurrier and grainier when you zoom in for a closer look. But all is not lost! We are indeed living in the future, and IP cameras are the wave of it. No longer does security camera footage have to consist of the poor quality, narrowly focused images we're used to seeing on analogue CCTV.


What's an IP Camera and how is it Different from Analogue?
IP stands for Internet Protocol, and basically refers to a digital video camera that can send and receive data via a computer network, as opposed to sending a feed to a Digital Video Recorder (DVR). This is advantageous for a lot of reasons:

  1. Higher image quality: Unlike a few years ago, where cameras have poor video resolution, now we have mega-pixel IP cameras that totally outmatch any analogue camera solution. The higher pixel resolution of the IP cameras means you can zoom into much more details of a scene even after it is recorded, without losing clarity.
  2. Unified cabling infrastructure: by utilizing the same LAN network infrastructure, IP cameras can be deployed usually with no need for major re-cabling. It also enables utilizing different network mediums such as wireless and fiber links seamlessly.
  3. No major interference / distortion hassle: in analogue systems, especially when the cameras are over a few hundred metres away from the DVR, interference and distortion due to electrical noises, poor quality connections, and ground loop effects can cause tricky situations requiring extensive effort to overcome. With IP cameras, one won’t need to bother about interferences / image quality issues.
  4. Power arrangements: IP cameras can be mostly powered over the same network cable through POE (Power Over Ethernet) by simply connecting them to a POE-capable network switch, eliminating the need for separate source of power. This is not the case in analogue cameras, where each camera would need separate power source.
  5. Easy management: IP cameras can be easily managed and controlled remotely. This considerably simplifies and speeds up troubleshooting of the system. One can easily check the connectivity of each individual camera over the network using a laptop with proper authentication, while in analogue cameras physical attendance to each camera and using of separate monitoring tools is a must.
  6. Lots of extra features: New IP cameras come with a constantly-expanding list of new features and enhancements – these include video analytic and enhancement features, web interface for direct view and remote monitoring and control, automatic alert notifications via email and SMS and even internal NVR for recording of videos.


Bottom Line: Is It All Worth It?
You may be wondering if it's worth your while to make the switch from analogue to IP Cameras. Well, there are a few things to consider. The initial cost is certainly substantial, but it's important to remember that a single IP camera can take the place of two or three comparable analogue cameras due to the increased coverage area, so while a single unit may cost more, you're ultimately buying less cameras. Additionally, switches allow you to connect more cameras per NVR than you'd be able to connect to a DVR. So depending on the size of your set-up, you're buying less recorders as well, provided you keep an eye on the throughput and make sure your NVR can handle it. Also important to remember: separate power sources aren't necessary for IP cameras if you use a POE switch, so you can save money on power supplies.

So if you're looking into setting up a new surveillance and security system, IP cameras may be the way to go for you. If you already have a system in place that you're happy with, you might want to refrain from installing an entirely new system, at least at this point. However, “analogue” is quickly becoming synonymous with “outdated” so it's certainly something to think about: maybe it's time to step into the future.