Member Discussion

Can I Stream Video Over A Dial-Up Connection?

Does anyone know of a Mfg of camera or recorder that can carry video over a telephone dial-up line?

Mike, do you mean a 56Kb/s modem or do you mean Cat3 or?

Alternatively put, where are you trying to send the video? Inside a building or out across a city?

It is an application where there are remote water pump stations. Telco line at these only, no network. Modem no DSL either - cost prohibitive they say.

Mike, thanks for the clarification.

Basically, the question becomes what sort of video can you run at ~25Kb/s?

It's possible so long as you give up quality, resolution and frame rate. I've a had a similar but worse situation doing video across a satellite to a remote island.

I would try to set a camera / stream to CIF, 1fps, low quality / high compression. That should work. You can experiment around that point, seeing how much bandwidth is consumed at 4CIF or going to 0.5fps, etc.

In this case, I'd also set the stream to CBR or make sure there is a cap on VBR as spikes in bandwidth usage here are only going to make things worse (see: CBR vs VBR).

Btw, there are some vendors that claim to 'specialize' in this, but I don't particularly believe them. There's only so much you can do with encoding / compression and pretty much everyone has to sacrifice those same 3 things when faced with such low bandwidth - resolution, quality, frame rate.

Also, the companies that claim to specialize usually are far more expensive and proprietary. I'd stick with a modern H.264 open implementation.

So the question isn't "can you stream video over a dial up connection" but rather "can you stream useful video over a dial up connection?"

Do you need live video?

You might be better off with a camera that can do a scheduled image upload.

A JPG snapshot from a 1080p camera will run around 400KB. At 28.8Kbps, that would be an ~2 minute upload time. If you set a snapshot interval of 5 minutes you could probably very easily work on a dialup connection and have relatively recent images of the site along with historical data.

If you want live video, you're going to be stuck with a very low resolution and framerate, I would almost say 1 really good image every 5 minutes is better than 600 (2 fps for 5 minutes = 600 images) crappy images.

"A JPG snapshot from a 1080p camera will run around 400KB."


400KB = 3.2Mb; 30 of those frames per second = 96Mb/s

96Mb/s for a JPEG 1080p/30fps is quite high.

Like all video, it depends on the scene complexity and compression level, but from our experience testing, the typical usage is half to a quarter of that.

Regardless, 56Kb/s dial up is tiny.

Yes, really. I've logged about 7M 1080p images over the last couple of years from various models of cameras. Actual image sizes range from about 250K to 600K.

Most cameras will upload a larger/less compressed image when you're doing snapshotting vs. streaming. Additionally, you usually have some control over quality which is generally referring to amount of compression.

I'm currently planning a project for very remote video coverage of oil platforms. Locations will usually have power, but I have plan on periods without. A solar/battery package is being engineered separately (12vdc camera, mobile NVR, perhaps solid state storage, etc).

But, the only communication option I have is satellite. The periodic still frame option for a status update sounds like a good solution, so long as I have the local recording. Can you elaborate on the image transmission you are using? I've found HughesNet, but am looking for options.

John - can you pass my info on so Mr Undisclosed can contact me directly at ? Thanks much.

Video = moving images.

You might be able to achieve multiple still images over X period of time.... but that aint video, imo.

Have you considered point-point wireless relay?

Thanks! Point-to-point is a very good mid- to hi-bandwidth solution when the ends and any mid-points are defined.

My other issue is the portabilty of the solution ... typically will be on-site 30-60 days, then on to the next location. I assume setting up the mid-points to hop a signal would be too complicated ongoing.

Adpro pioneered transmission of CCTV over PSTN with modems in the 1980s wIth their Fastscan product. They are still around today and have evolved the product range as HD and IP has emerged.

Yes you can use TeleEye PRO if any.

Now they work with IP video, but their compression is the best for low bandwidth.

Using 33600 bps modem you can get 10 fps at CIF resolution.

I worked with teleeye for years..great but not cheap.

regards from Croatia


Finally I am very pleased to meet my enchroached red dot map member!

Dobro dosao na ipvm. Cini mi se zbog imena da je ovaj Honovich sa nasih prostora. Stvarno zna covek sta radi. Iz kojeg dela hrvatske si?

Regard Tedor

This producer offers two cameras streaming via GSM (3G/...):, maybe it will meet your needs.

Btw, we just added a test report on this: Testing IP Video - Super Low Bandwidth

The net/net is that you can use a regular H.264 IP camera or DVR, just set it to QVGA / QCIF, 5fps or lower and with moderately higher increase in compression.

Videos / images and charts in the test report.