IP Cameras vs. Analog Cameras – Advantages and Disadvantages

Published: 07th March 2011
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If you are looking to install security cameras in and around your house or business, the first question that comes to your mind is what type of camera you should install. Is an IP network camera the best choice, or should one opt for traditional, tried and tested analog cameras? To make the right decision you need to seriously look into the advantages and disadvantages of both and come to a fair conclusion.

The major difference between the analog and IP camera is the way in which the video signals are delivered. IP network cameras digitize the video signal using a specialized encoder that connects directly to IP networks and allow users to view, store and analyze full motion video from anywhere on the network via a standard web browser. Analog cameras turn the video signal into a format that can be received by a television or other receiver, such as a VCR or monitor.

Pros of IP Cameras

Better Wireless Reception - IP cameras are highly secure and encrypted and also need authentication for access. These cameras also have a greater field of view, and, being digital, no unnecessary conversion is required. So image quality remains high even when transferred over the network.

Ease of Installation – No extra wiring is required as you can use the existing network wiring within your home. This can make the installation task much easier. A built-in gateway separates internet cameras from the regular data network so the influence of video recording on bandwidth is minimized.

Remote Accessibility - IP network cameras connect directly to IP networks and allow users to view, store and analyze full motion video from anywhere on the network via a standard web browser. IP cameras are better suited especially for remote surveillance needs.

Real Time Event Recording – The IP camera system is more efficient as it records events in real time and provides alerts in case of any suspicious activity.

Extended Range - It is easy to extend the range of the security camera cabling long distances using IP, or internet protocol. This can be achieved using routers and switches.

Cons of IP Cameras

Higher Price - The prices of IP-based cameras are slightly higher than analog cameras due to the additional technology built into the camera. There are many lower end, low resolution IP cameras that are low in cost. But high-end IP and megapixel cameras are very expensive, and the disk storage required for higher volumes of video data also significantly increases the expense.

Higher Bandwidth Required -- IP cameras require more bandwidth than analog cameras.

Pros of Analog Cameras

Cost - Analog cameras cost less than IP Cameras. The cost advantage of analog recording is especially true for users who already have a legacy coaxial or UTP wiring in place and do not need to install a large number of cameras (analog cameras require a lot of wiring, which can be expensive and disruptive in terms of site modifications).

Larger Variety - There is a huge variety of analog cameras in various sizes and shapes to choose from. The analog cameras allow you to mix and match camera equipment, thus saving a lot of money during repairs.

Cons of Analog Cameras

Investment Cost for Security of Larger Areas - Installation costs over large areas are exorbitant. The number of monitoring stations is limited as the investment needed to repeat costly switching infrastructures is steep.

Cabling - Adding more network cameras to the system is very difficult because each camera requires its own cable. Image quality is also lost when long cables are used.

No Real Time Recording- Traditional CCTV systems record events that can only be viewed after the event has occurred.

Advanced analytics is one of the outstanding features of IP video cameras that simply cannot be matched by traditional analog CCTV systems. It offers so many advantages that this feature alone can often justify the IP solution. When weighing the pros and cons of analog and IP cameras, the decision ultimately comes down to your specific surveillance needs. Once you make an accurate assessment of your requirements, the decision on which camera type to go with will become much easier.

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