IP CCTV System Basics for Beginners 1

There are 2 types of CCTV systems: analog and IP. In a previous post, we covered the basic components of an analog CCTV system and how it is set up. In this post, we will go over all of the basics of an IP CCTV system.

How It Works: Analog vs. IP

The main difference between analog and IP CCTV systems is the way video data is transmitted and processed. As mentioned in our analog guide, analog cameras record the image in the form of video signals which are then transported via coaxial cables to the DVR. The DVR then processes the signals and coverts it into digital video that can be viewed with a connected monitor.

With an IP CCTV system, all of the data transmission is done through the connected network, instead of coaxial cables. Additionally, the IP cameras do all of the processing of video signals so there’s no need for a DVR. IP cameras are connected to an NVR, but this device is only for storing and viewing footage, not for processing. Since the CCTV system is connected to a network, users can access and view their camera footage remotely through the internet.

Basic IP CCTV System Setups

With PoE

There are many different ways to set up an IP CCTV system. The first couple of setups that we will go over involve using Power over Ethernet (PoE) since these are more common. Non-PoE cameras will typically require 2 cables: one will be connected to the video recorder to transmit data while the other cable will be connected to a power supply. PoE will only require one Ethernet cable that is capable of transmitting both data and power. Instead of being connected to a separate power supply, the camera will get its power from the PoE device it is connected to.

This diagram shows how a basic IP CCTV system will be set up if you use an NVR with built-in PoE ports on the back. Each camera will be connected to the NVR with an Ethernet cable (we’ll cover Ethernet cables later on in this article). Since the NVR has PoE ports already built in, you won’t need to plug the cameras into a separate power supply because they will be getting their power from the NVR. Then the NVR will be connected to your network via the router/modem. Since your IP CCTV system is connected to a network, you’ll be able to access your cameras remotely through the internet.

If you want to use PoE but your NVR doesn’t have built-in ports, you could use a PoE switch. A PoE switch is essentially a device that is made up of several PoE ports. To set this up, you would connect your cameras to the PoE switch using Ethernet cables. You would then connect the PoE switch to your router/modem that your NVR is also connected to. Another option would be to physically connect the PoE switch to the NVR, but this isn’t required since all of the devices will be indirectly connected through the shared network. This setup would also be useful if you want to install your cameras far away from the NVR.

Here is another setup using a combination of a PoE switch and an NVR with built-in PoE ports. But why would you even need to use both of these? A PoE switch is not just useful for when you don’t have any PoE ports, but also for when you don’t have enough of them available. For example, let’s say that you have an NVR that can handle 16 channels but it only comes with 8 built-in PoE ports. If you have 16 cameras and no PoE switch, then 8 of your cameras will need to be plugged into an external power supply since only 8 of them can use PoE. Using a PoE switch enables all of your cameras to use PoE; 8 of them will be on the NVR and the other 8 will be on the PoE switch. Just like in the previous setup, all of the cameras will be indirectly connected to the NVR through the shared network.

Without PoE

If you choose to install a non-PoE system, the basic setup will be the same as the first PoE setup that we covered. The only difference is that each camera will also need to be plugged into an external power supply.

This is another example of a non-PoE IP CCTV system setup, but using a regular switch. This switch is kind of like an extension for your NVR. If there’s not enough ports to connect your cameras to the NVR, then you could plug your extra cameras into the non-PoE switch. Your cameras will then be indirectly connected to the NVR through the shared network. You could also use the switch if the cameras are too distant to be physically connected to the NVR.

Ethernet Cables & Connectors

As mentioned earlier, IP CCTV systems transmit data through Ethernet cables. Ethernet cables come in different categories that are based on how much data it can handle and how fast the data is transmitted. Here’s a table of the different categories:

CategoryMax. Transmission SpeedMax. Bandwidth
Cat 310 Mbps at 100m16 MHz
Cat 510/100 Mbps at 100m100 MHz
Cat 5e1 Gbps at 100m100 MHz
Cat 61 Gbps at 100m250 MHz

For the best performance, you should opt to use Cat6 cables. Anything below Cat6 is slow and outdated. If you’re buying Ethernet cables in bulk to measure and cut yourself, make sure that you buy RJ45 connectors to insert the cables into the ports.

Wrap Up

An IP CCTV system might seem complicated since they require a network connection, but they’re actually pretty simple and flexible. With an IP system, you can use PoE to simplify the wiring process. Additionally, the shared network offers more options when it comes to setting up your devices. We hope that this guide was able to help you but if you require additional assistance, you can always contact our sales consultants.

As always, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any more questions. You can call us at 877-926-2288 or connect with us on social media

One Comment

  1. Thanks for the reminder that it’s important to first consider the network that I will be working with when it comes to getting a new security camera system. I’d like to know more about such devices because I’m planning to buy a new house soon. Improving its security would be a good idea.

    Alice Carroll

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