IP Video Surveillance: Is Your Network Ready?

As we discussed in our previous post, demand for IP video surveillance solutions is increasing rapidly, as organizations seek to protect against a wide range of physical threats. IP video surveillance also has a number of non-security purposes, including fraud detection, accident and injury investigations, customer service monitoring, and more.

The latest IP video surveillance solutions capture high-resolution video using the existing data network. This makes it easy to implement video cameras without running special cabling, and enables security personnel to monitor and manage the system from any Internet-connected device.

However, many experts consider IP video to be the most difficult application to run on a data network. You can purchase the most sophisticated video surveillance system on the market, but it won’t do you any good if your network can’t support it and your staff can’t manage it. These network components play a critical role in the use of IP video surveillance.

Factors to Consider When Assessing Your Network for IP Video Surveillance

Storage. When video from multiple cameras is constantly streamed and stored, storage requirements can be massive. The amount of storage capacity needed depends upon factors such as the number of cameras, image resolution and how long video is stored. Fortunately, the cost of storage is dropping and video compression, particularly H.264 technology, can dramatically decrease storage requirements.

Bandwidth. Similar to storage, bandwidth can easily become congested due to constantly streaming video and hamper the performance of your entire network. Many tools can help you estimate how much bandwidth is needed for IP video surveillance, while video compression can significantly reduce bandwidth consumption.

Wireless Connectivity. IP video surveillance can be wired or wireless, but wireless connectivity allows for much greater flexibility with camera placement. Also, a wireless system is easier to scale and enables access, analysis and management from mobile devices.

Security. IP video surveillance requires policy-based access controls to regulate who can view video data and configure applications. Firewalls prevent unauthorized network access, while encryption can be used to secure video streams. If you’re subject to industry regulations, your network must meet requirements for video retention in order to maintain compliance. This tends to be easier and less expensive with an IP-based system.

Network Management. During high-traffic periods, Quality of Service (QoS) enables administrators to prioritize time-sensitive or mission-critical data. Network segmentation, the separation of video traffic from other types of data through the use of virtual LANs, makes it easier to manage and prioritize video.

If you’re considering implementing IP video surveillance, it’s important to partner with IT consultants and engineers who have the expertise to assess your existing network and make sure you have the tools and technology to maximize the benefits. Atlantic-IT.net, your outsourced IT department, can help you design an IP video surveillance solution and provide comprehensive monitoring and management to ensure the solution meets your business needs and goals.