The very first thought, which strikes those who are looking to install a security surveillance system in their premises, is whether to go for an IP Video Surveillance or Analog camera surveillance? In this situation, it is not an easy task to decide which surveillance system will be a perfect fit to your environment. Since, both the technologies have their pros and cons; this article will focus on the in-depth analysis on these surveillance architectures, in order to determine which option is the right choice.
The foremost difference between the two camera categories is the way the video signal is delivered. In analog surveillance architecture, the analog camera turns the images into a composite video signal, which can be received as a digital signal by a LCD monitor or a Digital Video Recorder. In the IP based surveillance architecture, the network camera digitizes the video signal, with the help of a specialized encoder available on its onboard web server. This makes the IP camera act as a network device, which allows captured video images to be recorded in digital format to a mass storage appliance, which can facilitate web browser viewing from a remote device.
The transmission of signals is possible through a wireless or a wired interface such as Cat 5 cable and the need for hubs, routers and switches is also essential.
Advantages/Pros of an Analog Camera
- Analog cameras are cheaper than their IP cousins. So, if the IT budget allotted for Surveillance is limited, then going for Analog camera deployment makes sense.
- If the monitoring area is limited and encourages fewer amounts of cameras deployments, say less than 10 cameras, then going for analog camera deployment will be a wise approach.
- Design flexibility- Analog cameras are available in a variety of designs such as mini covert to PTZ models. All depends on the needs of the surveillance environment, such as for instance mini covert cameras are used for spying application needs.
- Compatibility- Usually, you can mix and match cameras and brands in analog camera architecture.
Disadvantages/Cons of Analog cameras
- Lack advanced features- Analog cameras lack some of the advanced features such as advanced zoom and image clarity options.
- Wireless analog surveillance architecture can be problematic- Analog systems are prone to interference and signal encryption problems. So, there is a chance that some other person can view your signals, in wireless analog surveillance architecture.
- Long distance applications are tough- Analog cameras do not work for large distances surveillance environments and so analog camera architectures with broad range fail usually.
- Quality reduction in video signal conversion and transmission- Usually, reduction in quality is observed in the conversion and transmission process of video signal from an Analog camera.
Advantages/Pros of IP cameras
- Higher resolution- IP cameras, also known as network cameras are offered with greater resolution. The clarity of the image depends on the image resolution of the network camera. IP cameras deliver higher resolution images which may be 3, 5,8,12, 20 Mega Pixels and beyond in near future. When compared to analog, an IP camera offers four times greater image resolution. As a result a single IP camera can replace several analog cameras.
- Wireless reception- IP cameras have in-built encryption features and so they transmit the signals in a secure way. Transmission options such as point-to-Point, point-to-Multipoint and mesh topology are available in IP camera layout architecture.
- Deployed on existing wiring- The installation of IP based cameras can be done on existing network architecture.
- Remote access availability- IP cameras are best to be used in remote surveillance applications. Network camera architecture offers greater flexibility in assessment of videos.
- Digital Transmission prevents data loss- IP cameras capture/record in digital format and so transmission/conversion of images is accomplished without data loss.
Disadvantages/ Cons of IP Cameras
- Cost is high- IP cameras cost is high, when compared to analog cameras and so their deployment depends a lot on the allotted surveillance budget.
- Bandwidth needs to be higher- IP cameras need high bandwidth to transmit data, whereas analog cameras do not have such requirements. However, with the compression formats such as H.264 and the new H.265 in place, this requirement is slowly getting reduced.
- Storage- If the image is captured in higher resolution, need for a high capacity video storage becomes essential.
With the advantages and disadvantages of Analog and IP cameras in place, the decision now comes down to specific surveillance needs. With the prevailing technology of hybrid recorders and video encoders, Analog and IP cameras can co-exist on the same surveillance network.
So, the selection of the surveillance camera type must be done by carefully assessing the application needs and keeping an eye on the budget.