IP Video Basics
The IP Video market is growing rapidly, having been accepted as a mature technology with a field proven record. IP Networking of security systems will eventually penetrate the majority of the market – it has too many cost and performance advantages not to do so.
Why IP Video?
The advantages of IP Video can best be highlighted by looking at the disadvantages of analog CCTV. In many ways traditional coax or fibre based video systems are limited. Installation costs over large areas are prohibitive and the number of monitoring stations is limited due to the investment required to replicate costly switching infrastructure. The analog matrix is the component that provides control room flexibility for analog CCTV systems, but this too cannot be easily expanded without adding new hardware and it is location dependent. Therefore overall scalability, i.e. the cost of expansion, is poor. Even though the introduction of DVRs has improved the recording capabilities of analog CCTV, these too are limited. They have to be physically installed near the analog matrix, and frame rate and image quality is often compromised. Businesses want a single, scaleable, integrated solution which provides high-quality video surveillance across any number of their offices or sites – this is what IP Video delivers.
For enterprise systems IP Video also offers a high level of redundancy. In the event of an emergency the control and monitoring capability can be easily transferred to any other point on the network either on or off site. Redundant networks allow the system to keep operating even if one link or switch goes down and redundant NVRs allow recordings to survive even if one recorder fails or is destroyed. These features allow IP Video systems to deliver a level of integrity far higher than is possible with analog CCTV systems.
Having everything based around a network allows system wide diagnostics to ensure everything is running smoothly. Every device can be continuously monitored and an alarm raised if anything fails. This is not possible with an analog system where camera feeds have to be manually monitored to ensure trouble-free operation and the potential exists for a fault to go unnoticed for a long period of time. This is particularly an issue with DVRs, as a fault will not necessarily be flagged and recordings for all cameras could be lost, again for a long period of time. analog systems can implement limited diagnostics but this depends on the different components used and is not an integral part of the system.