Technological advances in CCTV cameras provide a surveillance solution for all needs and most budgets making CCTV camera selection not so easy and time-consuming. Selecting a CCTV camera requires the evaluation of certain variables such as camera functionality and features, installation complexity, system components and budget.
To answers these questions, WiFiHSC will focus on IP CCTV systems to provide a WiFi surveillance camera system for home use. Each variable will be discussed in detail and provide recommendations. Even though we will focus on Home Surveillance Systems, the recommended systems can be used at the office and other locations equally well.
A WiFi surveillance camera system installation should be treated as another project and the phases of a well plan project should be followed. We will NOT go through the PM processes from the PM point of view, but rather we will use them as subtitles to the discussion topics.
Planning the WiFi Home surveillance system
The first thing to consider is the type of camera to use and the functionality.
- WiFi or wired cameras. The advantage of using WiFi cameras is the ease of installation and flexibility to relocate, if you need to. WiFi cameras require minimum cabling. The camera may come with batteries that need to be either frequently replaced or charged. It is safe to assume you will require, at least, some kind of power wiring.
- Indoor or Outdoor cameras. Why you need the camera determines the type of camera. If you want to keep an eye on the kids after school, then an indoor camera should be used. On the other hand, if you are concerned about trespassing or burglary then you need an outdoor camera.
- Should WiFi cameras be used outside? A few years back, the recommendation would have been a NO. However, because of the easy to use and portability, using WiFi cameras outdoors is becoming a popular option with more choices available.
- Scenario. Based on the survey you just went through, a possible scenario is to use two indoor cameras and three outdoor ones. You have identified the location of each camera; three around the house to monitor the front and back entrance, and the site lower level windows; two inside the house to monitor the leaving room and the main hallway. We don’t recommend cameras in the bedrooms.
- Now you are asking yourself “Can I mix and match indoor and outdoor cameras”? Of course you can, but that is not the question you should ask. The answer to this question can be derived by considering the pros and cons of each camera type. Needless to say, either type of camera can be used in either place. However, cameras that are designated as indoor cameras only are not cameras than will withstand the weather conditions they will be exposed to for long. Their life span will be reduced considerably.
Wired security cameras
Usually when a wired surveillance camera system is purchase, it comes with more than one camera and one Personal Video Recorder (PVR), sometimes called Digital Video Recorder (DVR). The package will not include a monitor, keyboard, and mouse and they should be accounted for. Power and/or signal cables from the PVR to the location of the camera will be an additional expense.
- Expandability: More cameras can be added to extend the system Easier
- Interference: Other devices can NOT interfere
- Better solution for long term installations
- Installation: More difficult to install
- Portable: More difficult to relocate
- Vulnerable to power outages
Wireless security cameras
WiFi home surveillance cameras can be purchased individually to address simple specific requirements such as a smart doorbell camera to see who is at the door and monitor the entrance of the house. The package includes everything you need to do the installation, except of course a power drill. Once the camera is installed and the app has been downloaded on your mobile phone when someone rings the doorbell a video alert is received on your smartphone. Some WiFi cameras also come with USD storage cards and therefore there is no need to pay a monthly subscription for cloud storage.
- Installation: Easier
- Portable: Can be moved around easily
- Can use battery backup
- Interference: Other devices can interfere
- Hacked: Signal can be jammed
- Vulnerable to power outages
Avoiding installation of additional cables
WiFi camera nowadays come with not only WiFi connectivity but also with Ethernet and/or Power over Ethernet (PoE) connectivity. POE is the technology that allows electrical power and data to be transmitted using a single twisted pair Ethernet cable CAT5 or CAT6.
Additionally, the use of powerline wired/wireless devices allow the integration of a WiFi camera with the rest of the house networked devices. Power-line devices allow the use of the power cables to transfer data without pulling additional data cables. The power line devices should be on the same electrical phase to be able to create a network and see all the devices you intend to have on your home network.
It is critical to point out that as devices using different technologies are being used, the system complexity and cost increase accordingly.
A surveillance camera is put in place for a specific purpose. The purpose determines the type of camera and its functionality, and therefore the cost and the overall success of the project. It is worth spending the required time to identify the camera that best addresses your needs and requirements. Careless camera selection will only result in unnecessary headaches, wasted time, money and effort. A surveillance camera system will be installed to offer peace of mind when away from home. Therefore, the time spend to plan the surveillance system and identify the correct camera(s) is a well spent. You can always hire a professional to select the cameras and do the installation. However, the planning and requirement always start from the customer, that would be you. The contractor will ask all the questions needed, plus more, to ensure you will get the best system for your needs. If you can’t answer the questions, you will either not get what you want and need, or you will get more than you need and that will cost more money.
WiFiHSC will review and recommend WiFi cameras to address a variety of needs, but you, the customer should have a good idea of what your needs are before ordering.