Weighing Analog vs. IP Surveillance Cameras
Pros and cons of aspects such as cost, flexibility, interoperability and more between analog and IP surveillance camera systems.
August 17, 2010 by EH Staff

While our recent discussion focused on IP-enabled camera systems, you might also consider an analog solution. Analog cameras can communicate over Cat 5 or coax cables. They connect to a dedicated hub, from which the images can be delivered to local TV sets or the web. Which solution is best for you?

Generally, analog cameras cost less than their IP counterparts, so they make sense especially for very large installations. For big jobs, you can get away with many inexpensive cameras that tie into one very capable hub. On the other hand, if you simply require one or two cameras, you can integrate IP products quite cheaply into your existing home network.

Without a doubt, analog camera systems offer greater flexibility than IP solutions. Analog products have been around for years, so you can find something for any need–whether you want a camera that’s tiny, ultra-durable, or really fast. Numerous products are available for viewing and controlling banks of analog cameras; the IP world is playing catch-up.

It’s easier to mix-and-match analog products than it is with IP. Usually, you can pick and choose from a variety of cameras and hubs, and everything should work seamlessly. With IP solutions, interoperability can be more challenging, especially if you want to view multiple cameras through one unified interface.

IP cameras are built for networking, so they can be better suited for remote surveillance.

IP cameras utilize a standard wireless protocol (WiFi) so they can take advantage of existing wireless networks–encrypted ones, at that. Wireless IP cameras from disparate manufacturers can enjoy the same network, including wireless boosters known as wireless access points or WAPs. Wireless analog cameras do not adhere to a single standard, so you cannot mix-and-match. Distance may be limited and network security can be an issue.

The case for IP cameras: If you already have a home network, why not use them?

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