What is a IP Network Camera?
In simplest terms, an IP Camera is a stand-alone device that transmits audio and video through a standard CAT5 Network Cable. It has a built-in web server which allows the camera to run individually without a PC having to be connected. It also allows you to view the audio and video by connecting directly to the camera with your internet browser without any software being installed. This allows you access the camera from any location, even over the Internet.
IP cameras have many advantages over tradition CCTV security cameras. Some of these features include wireless connectivity, the ability to view video remotely over the Internet, the ability to record to a remote location and lower cost.
Advanced features of Network Cameras can offer added security for certain applications. These features include, Motion Detection, Pan/Tilt/Zoom, Infrared, Analog Output and Two-way Audio.
Lets discuss these features in greater detail.
Some Network Cameras come with a feature called Motion Detection. Hot-Spots can be setup within the video frame to detect motion. Once motion is detected, the camera will begin recording or generate a snapshot which can be Emailed or sent to a web server via FTP of the detected motion. Snapshots can also be sent of images prior to the motion and after the motion.
Having the ability to Pan and Tilt adds greater security if you have a large viewing area. Once logged into a Network Camera with Pan and Tilt capabilities, controls appear next to your video allowing you to move the camera left, right, up and down. The controls can be used even over the Internet.
Along with the Pan and Tilt feature, some cameras come with Zoom. Zooming is also handy when a greater detail of video is needed. Network Cameras can come with two methods of Zooming: Optical and Digital. One is called Digital Zoom.
Digital Zoom discards pixels around the edge of the video fitting the remaining pixels into the same space to give the appearance of Zooming in. This comes with the expense of resolution and causes the Zoomed image to look very pixilated.
A post was made on the NetworkCameraReviews.com forums that addresses the differences between digital zoom and optical zoom. Click here to view the post.
When needing to view video in the dark, Infrared is the way to go. Cameras can come with a built-in IR (Infrared) lens or the ability for an add-on IR lens to be equipped. Infrared is a wave of light that is outside of the visible part of the color spectrum. Infrared illuminators shine this wave of light which the lens picks up.
Some cameras come with an Analog Output to configure your camera to be notified of opened doors, alarms, or other events. Once notified of these events, the camera will start taking snapshots or video.
A Majority of cameras have audio built-in to the camera. This allows you to hear audio along with the video the camera displays. Some cameras come with Two-Way Audio.
There are two types of Two-Way Audio. One is a Full-Duplex Two-Way Audio that allows the user at the PC to hear audio from the camera and also speak back to the camera and have audio come out of the camera itself. Some cameras have a speaker port on the back to plug in external speakers which will give off the audio. The second type is a Two-Way Audio within the camera itself. The camera will pickup audio and send the audio to the speakers hookedup to the camera.
In the next article we will be addressing how IP cameras work.
Wes Fernley runs a website called NetworkCameraReviews.com , a free online resource for users to learn about IP Network Cameras . He provides free consultation and advice. His roles include tech support, web design and sales. He can be reach via email at firstname.lastname@example.org