If you plan to place your home or secondary residence under video surveillance, you are surely asking yourself many questions. Especially if you’re not particularly a computer wizard, or as security. So we have compiled the most legitimate questions as a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). And when you pass the next level, you will see our IP camera comparison.
1) What is an IP camera?
An IP camera is a device for monitoring a location. As a webcam unless it operates autonomously network, local or remote. You can see live video feeds from a web browser via a NAS server interface or sometimes on a mobile application. The camera can mostly be programmed to detect motion and thus trigger video recording / photograph it stores on micro SD card or send it (FTP, email, NAS, cloud platform, etc.), when a intruder passes in his field of vision. Day and night with night vision regularly implanted.
2) What features should I opt to choose my IP Camera?
There are at least seven points of technical considerations that question before choosing an ip camera.
- Indoor or outdoor: models for outside are very different from those that are placed inside. They obviously are weatherproof and are designed to be wall or ceiling. But never posed like interior (which can also be fixed to the wall or ceiling, by the way).
- Fixed or motorized: an IP camera can be fixed (it does not move) or motorized. In the latter case, it is called PT (or PTZ Pan Tilt and Zoom). The motor move the lens to scan the horizon on remote instructions. The motorized cameras perform better monitoring (they cover a wide field) but they are also more cumbersome and therefore less discreet.
SD or HD resolution: the large IP camera adopts a standard resolution of 640 x 480 pixels. This is enough, but only just. If you have the opportunity, prefer an HD camera (720p), which will allow better recognition of subjects with a more detailed definition. These models begin to democratize but are more expensive to other equivalent specifications.
- Night vision: Most IP cameras can see in total darkness, using infrared LEDs. This is a plus, but watch all are not equal. We must ensure that the maximum distance night vision is comfortable enough (10 m).
- Wi-Fi or wired: all cameras are wired (Ethernet), many are, in addition, Wi-Fi If you do not want to manage a cable installation, be sure to choose a model Wi-Fi 802.11 n standard. preference.
- Microphone and sound output: see is the primary function of the IP camera, but it can also hear and speak.It can be a plus, especially when the manufacturer allows audio detection, in addition to the traditional motion detection. If audio output is present, it is possible to send a remote sound, speak, etc. to scare away the intruder.
- Alarm connection: if your home is equipped with an alarm (or if you plan to add one), be aware that some models have a connection to four pins for communication between alarm and camera.
- Memory card reader: this is not the safest method to save its flow monitoring, but it can be an interesting complement (storage, network immune to the vagaries).
3) Where to position its IP camera?
The aim is to monitor a property against intruders, it is necessary that the camera is facing the potential of access to housing points. The front door first. But beware, do not the camera is the first thing the intruder sees during his break. An incline (not to be accessed too easily) and slightly off, you will gain the observation time. If you can blend in, that’s even better (mid-curios or in a well-stocked library, for example). The other option is to place the camera in front or in rooms where there are things of value, always following the same instructions. The ideal is to combine several cameras to cover multiple angles and no chance the intruder to escape the surveillance video.In all cases will require that the IP camera is located near an electrical outlet. Obvious that slightly complicates the task.
4) Should we connect the camera via cable or Wi-Fi?
Wi-Fi is more comfortable and aesthetic. If your house is not wired Ethernet and where you plan to install the camera is not near the router, Wi-Fi is required. Beware, however, as IP camera models, it will not stray too far from the source of the network (or router box). The Wi-Fi modules IP cameras are sometimes restricted scope: signal strength, responsiveness and sometimes quality video encoding of the camera then suffer directly. If you want to stay 100% serene, wireline remains the preferred choice.
5) My computer have to stay on for the camera work?
No, and that’s the whole point of these cameras. In the vast majority of cases, a computer is required to configure the camera. But once everything is set, the computer can be turned off, unless of course the camera is set to save its flow on the PC in question. Moreover, it is possible to plan the operation of the IP camera so it automatically switches to monitoring mode, on defined time periods and according to a specific event.
6) Is it complicated to configure an IP camera?
An IP camera is relatively simple to install but can become complex to configure if you want good going into detail. A minimum of networking skills and plumb computer to control the camera on the fingertips. The main uses that require advanced settings are remote viewing and recording streams on remote media. In the first case, you have to use a dynamic DNS service and ensure that the router ports are properly opened / redirected. In the second, refer to question number 8.
Now, manufacturers tend increasingly to simplify the operation of their products based on cloud services that avoid, for example, having to use a dynamic DNS provider. The passage is not recommend using the proposed free Dynamic DNS by some manufacturers, hosted it is unclear where, it is not clear which. The TRENDnet TV-IP762IC is a good mix between total freedom of settings for advanced users (standard Web interface) and ease of use for beginners (cloud service). Some models like the Belkin NetCam or solutions MyFox and Kiwatch fully rely on the cloud and thus place themselves within reach of all.
7) Are they compatible with all boxes and routers?
The two requirements for an IP camera works with a box or a router, is to have a free Ethernet port (required at least for the first product installation) and a box or a router with Wi-Fi (if you want a wireless installation). It is also prudent to make sure before we have access to the configuration interface of the box or router, it may be useful to configure its network.
8) How to ensure the integrity of stored content?
Registered flow are several types (video, photo, audio) and can be stored on different media in several places. On the IP camera’s memory card if it is equipped with the same attribute, but we do not recommend you to limit yourself to this solution. A thief, if he spots the camera is likely the idea of destroying or stealing your video monitoring equipment, and in any case to get rid of the memory card. The use of NAS is recommended: there is no storage limit (or so) and you remain in complete control of hosting. But then again, if the NAS is to your home (which is usually the case), we can not exclude the risk that a burglar steals also you this property (even if it is less discreet than a micro SD card ).
Also, the email solutions, remote FTP server or cloud service may seem the best. Some cameras send video email, by way of warning, but now the maximum capacity constrained in short rushes. FTP side or cloud storage is less limiting but the content is hosted by a third party. For one, there are chances that it is paying, and two, you do not know who that person and what it can potentially do to your images. In short, there is no miracle solution, the best is to combine several forms of storage to address a maximum of contingencies. Still, if the thug off power to your home before entering, all your protection will be neutralized.
9) Should there be a user fee for an IP camera?
Technically no. The only ensured expense is the purchase of the camera . Now the models based on cloud platforms, as in Kiwatch , MyFox or Belkin , come with a monthly fee, ranging from a few euros to ten euros per month depending on the nature of services for individuals ( with or without commitment, it depends). A significant expense.
As for more traditional cameras, it will eventually pay for the Dynamic DNS service (there are free as No-IP.biz , just make sure that your equipment takes them well supported). And for remote storage, you will also finance the hosting third party, unless you go through a free space of the type provided by ISP with the box.
10) Can you use your smartphone to view the camera remotely?
Manufacturers often offer their own mobile application to expand the means of access to the IP camera to mobile devices. At a minimum, the application used to view the live stream of the camera. Often, one can capture snapshots and hear, if the camera has a microphone, what happens. And when the application is complete, you can access advanced settings of the remote camera trigger recordings (which will be stored on the smartphone) and view the recordings previously made and stored in the cloud. Paid services even add alert by SMS.
If the manufacturer does not offer application or if it is not satisfactory, it is always possible to install a third party application such as IP Cam Viewer Pro NibblesnBits ( Android and iOS ), compatible with a variety of models. Please note, these applications can be paid. Note, however, that there is a Lite version of IP Cam Viewer, free.