4G LTE Cameras

I have a customer who told me that he knows that both Uniview and HikVision have 4G LTE cameras that have a built in cellular modem and can send the cctv stream directly to a central recording location.

Does anybody knows if such a thing exists? If so can you direct me to a product page?

Thanks...


I saw in the ISC West this model from Brickcom.

Itamar, Uniview was showing their 4G cameras at ISC West. They did note that those cameras do not yet work in the US, as they have not set it up with US carriers yet.

I suspect something similar for Hikvision.

To that end, I'd recommend talking to your local reps for Hikvision and Uniview to get clarification of whether or not it supports your local mobile carriers.

Thanks John,

Technically speaking I'm not sure how well these cameras shall perform but they do fit well with the VAAS approach and 4G plans that the cell companies offer.

Itamar,

I agree with you. They definitely have potential, especially if you can combine a smart codec + 4G, it could be a nice solution for outdoor / remote locations.

I remember a few manufacturers offering 4G cameras for 5 or more years, but they have always been a weird niche that never took off, at least in the US. I have heard that 4G IP cameras are more widespread in Asia but not sure about that.

IMO, integrated cellular solutions are not very scalable for obvious reasons; we always plan for scalability. In our experience, the better solution is to design a video surveillance solution that requires cellular communication is to design the solutions with an external dedicated 4G modem. It is a rarity for us that a customer requesting one camera, where just one is sold. Regarding video surveillance, most customers only see what is in front of them; they get tunnel-visioned based upon price/budget. If the customer is looking to the left, I always look for potential blind spots to the right and back of the camera; in most cases, I can up-sale to cover the blind spots. In addition, most integrated solutions will not have an auto-sensing carrier/frequency technology (I have yet to fine one) that allows you to choose the carrier of your choice (3G, one technology was called GOBI) and they should; you should not be bounded to a specific carrier upon purchase, you should have total control of your solution when you need it. I recall a time where a Verizon cell site went down; our external dedicated modem failed automatically to Sprint; as far as I am aware, there are no integrated camera solutions that can offer that.

Another solution that I've seen is to use a standard IP Camera paired with a 4G/LTE Modem / Router (industrial grade preferably for outdoor applications). Make sure that the router supports your carrier.

I spent many years as a PM for another security company. One of my products was a cellular mobile DVR. My sales guys wanted more and more cellular products, so I spent a lot of time researching them. I also worked for a cellular retailer for many years so I'm familiar with the industry.

Short version is, don't hold your breath on an integrated cellular camera. Even if you see one that says it's 'LTE' you probably shouldn't bother with it. (unless someone comes out and says specifically 'certified for use on Verizon', which isn't likely. The exception is Reconyx still cameras)

Long version: "LTE" is a very generic term, sort of like 'Cellular'. If you get into specifics, there are several different frequency bands within 'LTE' only some of which are actually used in the USA. Since most of these products come out of China, they are coded for Chinese LTE bands. This was the same situation with older GSM products. So, pretty much anything you are going to find that says 'LTE' is probably not going to be set up to work on bands for the USA. I mentioned Verizon earlier. They are SUPER uptight about allowing anything on their network. The process for getting a product certified to be used on Verizon is very extensive and very expensive. An Asian vendor isn't going to bother. Reconyx still shot cameras have a Verizon certified product, which is one of the very few I've ever seen. Still shot over cellular is a lot easier to do than video.

As was said earlier, if you really want to do a cellular camera, use an external modem (like a Sierra GX440 or Cradlepoint 650). They are much better about keeping up with current USA cellular devices and are approved for those networks.

Just be aware that streaming video is going to eat up a TON of bandwidth. Almost all providers have data caps. In the Law Enforcement world, Verizon has special 'unlimited' plans for data but in the commercial world, you're going to have to turn the bit rate down really, really low for 24/7 streaming. Also you do run into some port issues sometimes and getting a static IP address on an aircard isn't impossible, but it does take some work (and for commercial customers, there is usually a fee to do it, on top of additional special programming with APNs).

I have a client that is using an Axis dome camera and an Pep Link cellular modem to view remote hog traps on ATT. He isn't streaming 24-7 though and he's still having data cap issues from the few times that he actually does log in to look at them. It works and works pretty well, but the learning curve to set up the port forwarding and getting the programming from AT&T tech support took some time.

Wow - thank you for the insight.

I'm sure you are correct on all points.

Locally speaking the customer I'm talking to says he has come to an agreement with one of the cellular operator in our country to have a plan for a single 2MP camera so it can broadcast 24/7 and not get capped. He pays the fees as part of the product he sells.

Its just that the cameras are not ready yet.

Anyway thank you for the info.

I would second the vote for an external modem. They are always going to be better radios than embedded radios. The same is true for WiFi based cameras. Using an external radio is always going to have much better signal quality.

That also frees you to choose the best camera for your scenario. If it were me, I would be looking into the Smart Codec or h.265 models for minimal bandwidth potential. Even if the ISP is allowing a no cap plan now, it isn't likely to be something they will renew if you hog all of their capacity. When they go to upgrade their backhaul at that tower due to your extensive usage, they will rethink their commitment to your cap free plan.