IP cameras are Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras that utilize Internet Protocol to transmit image data and control signals over a Fast Ethernet link. As such, IP cameras are also commonly referred to as network cameras. IP cameras are primarily used for surveillance in the same manner as analogue closed-circuit television. A number of IP cameras are normally deployed together with a digital video recorder (DVR) or a network video recorder (NVR) to form a video surveillance system.
Potential of IP cameras advantages
Reduced system cost and added functionality due to general-purpose IP networking equipment infrastructure
Lower cost of cabling in large installations (CAT5e instead of RG-59 coaxial cable).
Reduced space requirements in large (many camera) CCTV setups because video switching and routing is done via computer and does not need physically large and expensive video matrix switchers.
Flexible image format
Support for a variety of image resolutions including both standard analogue CCTV resolutions (CIF, NTSC, PAL, and SECAM) and megapixel resolutions.
Capability for digital zoom of high-resolution megapixel images.
Ability to select specific frame rates and resolution for each camera in a system.
No additional video encoder hardware is required to convert analogue video signals into digital data for recording onto hard drives.
Choice of video compression codec such as Motion JPEG, MPEG-4 Part 2, or H.264.
Extensible network infrastructure
Convergence onto new or existing IP cabling infrastructure, including sites with multiple buildings.
Transmission of commands for PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) cameras via a single network cable.
Simple to add one camera at a time to the system.
Wireless allows the camera to be placed just about anywhere.
On-camera automated alerting via email or file transfer in response to video motion detection or dry-contact alarms.
Password lockout of unauthorized personnel to prevent viewing images or altering the camera configuration.
Support for different streaming media and compression formats to relieve transmission bandwidth and data storage requirements.
Encryption of camera control data and audio/video data.
Support for new embedded intelligent video motion detection (video analytics) with shape recognition and counting applied to objects, people, and vehicles.
Integration of video surveillance with other systems and functions such as access control, alarm systems, building management, traffic management, etc.
Remote configuration, diagnostics, and maintenance. Future-proof installations with field-upgradeable products due to the ability to upgrade camera firmware over the network.