You don’t have to look very hard to find companies claiming that IP based video security systems are the best and only way to go. Clearly there are tremendous benefits of owning an IP system, while traditional analog systems are still sufficient for many. Bottom line – you should make this decision based on your needs. Here are the key differences and benefits of each to help you decide.
The Fundamental Difference
The fundamental difference between an IP based and an analog system is that IP systems are truly digital. The camera takes on the role of a DVR for compression, video motion detection, and image adjustments, and transmits a fully digital stream back to your recorder across your IP network. IP recording software may offer some additional features, but the camera does most of the work. Conversely, cameras used in traditional analog systems use coaxial video cable to transmit their images directly to a digital video recorder, and typically require a dedicated cable for every camera. While the video is recorded digitally, there are multiple conversions from analog to digital signals before storing, often resulting in lower image quality than IP. Lastly, as the security industry shifts from analog to IP based systems, the new development is primarily focused on producing more versatile, secure, and cheaper IP gear.
When IP is Necessary
IP systems offer higher image quality than analog systems, and allow you to use higher resolution megapixel cameras if needed. For enterprise level applications, you can easily expand systems as there are no physical input limitations on IP recording devices – simply add licenses to add cameras. Larger IP projects will often deliver a reduction in overall installation cost, as the cameras can operate over existing network infrastructures which eliminates costly labor of pulling thousands of feet of cabling. IP systems are also designed for multi-site management which makes monitoring remote locations easier.
When Analog is Sufficient
Today’s analog CCTV systems are versatile and easy to install, configure, and maintain. Many offer advanced features such as video motion detection, email alerts, and remote monitoring capabilities, all controlled by the DVR. analog systems are particularly advantageous to home and small business owners because they provide an adequate level of surveillance at a reasonable cost.