IP vs Analog Security Cameras

If you are looking to install a security surveillance system in your business, one of the decisions you have to make is whether to go with an IP or analog camera. Deciding on IP versus analog cameras is not necessarily a simple decision as there are advantages and disadvantages to each style of camera. 

The main difference between the two camera types is the way in which the video signal is delivered. 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. An IP based camera, also known as an IP network camera, digitizes the video signal using a specialized encoder that contains an onboard web server. This allows the IP camera to act as a network device, thus allowing captured video images to be viewed not only through an existing network but also through a web browser that can be accessed through the Internet. 

Both analog and IP-based video cameras can transmit signals either wirelessly or through wired connections such as Cat-5 cables. IP-based cameras have the added benefit of being able to use switches, hubs, and routers that allow the Cat- 5 network to be expanded to much broader ranges. In order to determine which style camera system is best suited to your needs, let us take a closer look at some of the pros and cons of each style. 

Pros of analog cameras

  •  Lower cost – Analog cameras generally cost less to purchase than IP cameras.
  • Greater flexibility of design – Analog cameras often come in a larger variety of designs such as mini covert cameras to large PTZ models. If you have unique surveillance needs you may find it easier to find the style of camera you need in an analog model.
  • Superior compatibility – It is much easier to mix and match cameras and brands if you use analog versions. This can make it easier if you already have existing camera equipment that you wish to incorporate into your surveillance system.

 Cons of analog cameras

  • Lack certain features – Many of the basic analog cameras often lack some of the more advance features such as digital zoom. 
  • Potential interference problems – If you are installing a wireless surveillance system, analog systems can have interference problems. More importantly, the resulting signals cannot be encrypted. This can potentially mean that someone else can view the signal. 
  •  Long distance applications are more difficult – If your surveillance needs encompass a wide area, analog cameras may not be your best choice. Analog cameras generally do not accommodate big distances, and getting them to work over broad ranges can be difficult. 

Pros of IP cameras

  • Better wireless reception – IP cameras have encryption built right into them providing for a more secure network. Interference is also not a problem with IP-based models. 
  •  Can utilize existing wiring – Because IP-based cameras act as their own network device; you can often take advantage of existing network wiring within your home. This can make the installation task much easier. 
  • Remote access can be easier – IP cameras are better suited for remote surveillance needs.

Cons of IP cameras

  •  Higher cost – Because of the additional technology that is built into each camera, the cost is generally higher that analog versions. 
  • Higher bandwidth required – IP cameras require more bandwidth than analog cameras.

Given the pros and cost of each camera type, the decision really comes down to your specific surveillance needs. MCC’s Security Solutions Division can provide your business with an accurate assessment in order to determine which camera type is right for you.

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