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Is it IP?

IP Security CameraWhen I see studies going on in the CCTV industry that analyze trends in the industry, I wonder who is doing the research, and what are they considering an IP system? I continue to see reports that speculate only 12% of the systems being sold and installed today are considered IP systems. I think that can be argued depending on what you consider an IP system.

If you look at it at its most basic meaning, aren’t nearly all systems today IP? If you have a DVR that is placed on a network and someone can log on to it from a remote location, isn’t that considered an IP system? To find out what people consider an IP system I actually went to people in the industry and asked them what made up an IP system. Nearly everyone I asked came up with a slightly different answer, although all the answers were very close in content.

This is what I believe an IP system is. An IP system converts an analog video signal to a digital stream that is transmitted over an Ethernet network. With that in mind, the actual IP conversion can occur in a few different places. An analog camera can be used in an IP-Based system, but the signal has to be fed into an IP encoder that then converts the signal to a digital stream. The encoder can be located almost anywhere between the camera and where it lands on the network. An analog camera can also stay analog all the way to the recording device and the conversion to digital is done at the recorder itself.

There are also systems that I consider to be a true IP based system. These systems consist of an IP camera and that is where the digital signal starts. After having several discussions with installers and also with some end-users out there, I think I now understand why the poll indicated only about 12% of the systems being installed out there are IP. It is because everyone has their own opinion of what an IP system consists of and how it works. I’m not sure that the 12% took into consideration IP systems that were still using analog cameras and adding encoders. In the end, we all have different ideas of what an IP system is or should be, but there are many different configurations that can allow your security system to be viewed and recorded through the Internet. It’s not always necessary to replace your pre-existing security system to go IP, but it is wise to ask an expert for advice.

Brian Merritt


  1. Terry B. on August 30, 2010 at 2:21 am

    I think the problem is in the.terminology.

  2. Mike Johnson on September 3, 2010 at 9:50 am

    I have a hard time figuring out this as well, Some analog cameras have better resolution then low end IP cameras, who do base where to spend you money and know you made a good choice.

  3. David W. on September 5, 2010 at 6:14 am

    Mike, I understand your comment. I to have problems with the resolution on the IP cameras vs the analog camera. I have heard there is a formula for that conversion. If anyone has that available, please post it here!

  4. Ken Dunwood on September 7, 2010 at 4:52 am

    Ip based systems make it so eaiser for installation and viewing over the network

  5. Harry St. Beard on November 9, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    I definitely think IP Solutions are the future of surveillance!

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