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Should I Upgrade to an IP Surveillance System?

Network video technology has improved drastically over the last decade. We have seen security cameras and video recorders enter the market with higher resolution, faster transfer rates, and easier connectivity than ever before. That being said, do you really need to upgrade your perfectly good analog surveillance system to an IP solution? The short answer is… maybe.

Analog or IP

What’s so great about IP cameras?

IP (network) cameras have several features that make them enticing for buyers. To name a few, they offer higher resolution and overall video/image quality, advanced file and storage options, remote access and viewing,  power-over-ethernet capabilities, and relatively painless integration into most networks that requires less hardware.
Improvements in wireless technology are also producing increasingly better wireless surveillance solutions, as well.

Sounds pretty awesome. What are the drawbacks?

Price is the number one drawback. There is not a huge selection of affordable IP cameras on the market. You definitely pay for the improvements, especially if you are replacing an entire, working analog system.
Also, with increased resolution comes increased storage requirements, which can add even more to the cost.
Other potential cons include network issues causing dropped frames or video artifacts, network security concerns, and potentially poor performance in low-light conditions (on some models).

IP still sounds like a winner. Why should I stick with my analog system?

If you already have an analog solution, the simple answer to this question is, “because it works.”  Why fix something that isn’t broken!
Your choice also depends heavily on whether you need the improved quality and resolution of IP cameras. If you are happy with the recorded images of analog cams, and are confident that they are doing their job, then you’re set. If not, consider upgrading.
Analog technology prices continue to go down, so you might even consider buying higher TVL analog CCTV cameras, or replacing broken analog equipment, for significantly cheaper than upgrading to a complete IP solution. Keep in mind that network cameras will also continue to go down in price, so if you can wait a while before committing to a new system, it will inevitably be cheaper when you are ready.
All in all, it clearly depends on your situation. Most homeowners and small businesses can afford to wait a few more years before upgrading to an IP solution, while some medium and large businesses may find the improved quality and connectivity actually benefits their overall security infrastructure.
The important things to look at are:
  • Is my current system doing the job?
  • Do I need the improved features, or will I in the near future?
  • Can I afford the equipment and the labor to integrate it into my network?
  • Can I hold off for a whilte until the price of IP technology comes down more?
What do you think? Have you made the switch?


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