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understanding components- what's in the system

We like to make sure that our clients are in a position to make an informed decision when they consider what components within an IP security camera system suit them best. With that in mind, we've assembled some information on each of the key components and identified when they fit best.  


The Camera


It's quite apparent that any video security system is going to need cameras but there is a wide range to select from. Using the wrong type of camera will result in an inferior outcome. If you know a bit about photography and understand terms such as focal length, shutter speed, white balance and field of vision you're probably ahead of the curve when it comes to selecting a camera. If not, it's best to engage the services of an experienced consultant to help you understand your requirements and select the right cameras. 


Cameras are available in a variety of form factors, each with a range of specifications. The most common cameras used in business environments are either dome or bullet designs. IP cameras, unlike traditional analogue type cameras are capable of very high definition resolutions, much like the new LED/LCD televisions now available on the market. Choosing the right camera resolution depends on the area under surveillance, the content in the area and what level of detail you want to capture. 


Many IP based cameras are equipped with infra red LEDs which enable clear night vision up to a range of 50 metres. 


To learn more about the variety of cameras available from Bluefly Vision and which would best suit your needs, click here or use the contact form to engage with one of our experts. 


The Video Management Software


The Video Management Software or VMS, is the software component that drives the recording, playback, access and analytics process. A VMS solution can either be a separate piece of software that typically runs on a Windows PC, the Video Server, or it might be embedded in a Network Video Recorder. 


Using a separate PC based VMS allows you to select the software that best suits your needs. There are a number of different VMS products on the market. Most of these will offer the basic features including support for multiple cameras with no restriction to mixing and maxing different brands, through to complex video analytics features.  Of course, the more feature packed the software, the greater the investment that is required. 


A PC running VMS software presents a more scalable option. A PC VMS solution is only restricted to the number of cameras that it can support by the resources available on the PC. The two most important of these are CPU and disc space. The CPU is the encoding workhorse so a more powerful CPU can support more cameras. The disc space determines how much video can be stored and is affected by the number of cameras and the resolution of the video stream. Larger disc drives mean either longer retention periods or higher resolution. 


The Data Network 


All IP cameras are connected using standard network cable. This is typically the same blue or gray cable that connects to your computer. Network cable is commonly available as standards known as Category 5E or Category 6. Either is suitable for an IP camera network. 


A key benefit of the IP based cameras that we supply is that they use Power over Ethernet or PoE. This means that the single network cable can carry both the power and the data signal. A network cable comprises of eight copper strands. Four of these are used for data, leaving the rest available for other uses. In this case, two of those wires are used to carry the 48V power to the camera. Having the one network cable carrying both data and power means that there is no need to run a separate power cable to the camera. This significantly reduces the camera installation and maintenance cost. 


Power is injected into the network cable using a special Power over Ethernet switch. These are available as external units but many Network Video Recorders include PoE ports. Single PoE injectors are also available where only one or two cameras are installed.


It is generally a sound idea create a separate cabled network for high definition cameras. The volume of video traffic created by cameras can overwhelm your data network and impact performance of your business systems. This is as simple as running a network cable and using a dedicated switch. 


The Network Video Recorder


This is a term used to describe the digital video recorder in a IP networked security camera environment. A NVR has an embedded VMS which records the video to a hard disc drive and permits playback and access from devices such as computers, smart phones and tablets. The NVR generally offers a slightly more restrictive solution than a PC based VMS. A NVR is limited to the number of cameras, or channels, that it can support. This is typically 4, 8, 16, 32 or 64. Units cannot be upgraded so the right choice must be made at purchase. NVR units often have up to eight PoE ports. Further PoE ports can be added with the use of an external switch. 

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