Is Bandwidth a Problem for IP Cameras?

By John Honovich, Published on Mar 21, 2009

Integrators often cite bandwidth as a key concern for deploying IP cameras. Let's examine what the potential issues are and where they may be applicable:

  • You do not have enough bandwidth for IP video (see our bandwidth tutorial if you want a review of the basics)

Why might you not have enough?
  • Existing local network is old or antiquated
  • Your local network is fairly new but already has too much traffic
  • You are trying to send IP video over a wide area network (DSL, Cable Modem, T1, E1, DS3, etc.)

What might block you from solving this problem?
  • It is too expensive to upgrade your internal network
  • It is not possible or extremely expensive to upgrade the wide area network
  • It is costly/complex to implement traffic engineering

We have 3 cases to examine:

Upgrade the Internal Network

You have dozens of IP cameras in a building/facility but the existing network does not have enough bandwidth to support IP cameras. The simplest solution is to simply deploy a secondary network to support the IP cameras. This is almost invariably cheaper than deploying analog cameras unless the cameras are very close (under 100 meters) to the server/headend. Slightly more complicated but perhaps cheaper is upgrading the existing network (say from 100Mb/s to 1000Mb/s).

Upgrade the Wide Area Network

You have IP cameras in a building or campus and want to stream those cameras to a central location for storage. This I think is just not feasible. Technically it can be done but financially it is rarely justifiable. In most countries, the cost of 10MB/s WAN bandwidth is very expensive - in the range of $3,000 to $30,000 USD per month. At that price point, it is simply cheaper to store video from IP cameras at each local site.

This is only a problem for IP video to the extent that if it was solved it would benefit IP over analog. However, it is certainly not a shortcoming of IP.

Implement Traffic Engineering

You have a converged network where you are sending corporate data, voice over IP phone calls and IP video surveillance. To ensure that IP video does not ruin phone calls or disrupt important data transfers, you want to implement advanced network capabilities to ensure all services work without interfering with each other. This can certainly be expensive both in deploying equipment with these capabilities and dedicated trained engineers to configure/optimize them (see Cisco's webinar [link no longer available] on this).  If you are deploying a large IP video system with hundreds of cameras across long distances, this is probably still cheaper than building out an analog CCTV system. If the number of cameras are smaller and the distances are shorter, you may solve this by deploying a secondary network simply dedicated to IP video surveillance.

Discussion

Related Reports

Bandwidth Fundamentals For Video Surveillance on Jan 13, 2020
Bandwidth is the most fundamental element of computer networking for video...
Milestone Has Problems on Oct 01, 2019
Milestone has problems. While the company previously excelled in the shift to...
Converged vs Dedicated Networks For Surveillance Tutorial on Feb 12, 2020
Use the existing network or deploy a new one? This is a critical choice in...
HD Analog vs IP Guide on Jul 16, 2019
For years, HD resolution and single cable signal/power were IP camera...
IP Networking Course Fall 2020 - Last Chance - Register Now on Sep 23, 2020
Today is the last chance to register for the only IP networking course...
Cheap Camera Problems at Night on Feb 19, 2020
Cheap cameras generally have problems at night, despite the common perception...
Lasers Impact on Surveillance Cameras Tested on Sep 25, 2019
Hong Kong protests have brought global attention to video surveillance and...
China's SMIC Hit By US Trade Restrictions, Impact On Video Surveillance on Oct 13, 2020
US trade restrictions have hit Semiconductor Manufacturing International...
Aiphone Video Intercom Tested (IX Series 2) on Nov 05, 2019
Aiphone was one of integrator's favorite intercom manufacturers but how well...
Axis Door Station A8207-VE Tested on Aug 07, 2019
Axis newest door station, the A8207-VE, claims to deliver "video...
Uniview Pro 4K Camera Tested (IPC3238ER3-DVZ) on Aug 29, 2019
In our 8MP / 4K Fixed Lens Camera Shootout, Uniview's low end 8MP was firmly...
Top Video Surveillance Service Call Problems 2020 on Oct 23, 2020
3 primary and 4 secondary issues stood out as causing the most problems when...
Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) Guide on Oct 01, 2019
Understanding wide dynamic range (WDR) is critical to capturing high quality...
Illustra Pro Gen3 4K Camera Tested on Oct 23, 2019
Johnson Controls has released the latest generation in their Illustra Pro...
Wireless / WiFi Access Lock Guide on Nov 12, 2019
For some access openings, running wires can add thousands in cost, and...

Recent Reports

Consultants Online Show LIVE Today! on Oct 27, 2020
IPVM's 7th online show will feature 20+ consultants and recruiters presenting...
Eagle Eye Networks Raises $40 Million on Oct 27, 2020
Eagle Eye has raised $40 million aiming to "reinvent video...
Hikvision Q3 2020 Global Revenue Rises, US Revenue Falls on Oct 27, 2020
While Hikvision's global revenue rises driven by domestic recovery, its US...
VICE Investigates Verkada's Harassing "RawVerkadawgz" on Oct 26, 2020
This month, IPVM investigated Verkada's sexism, discrimination, and cultural...
Six Flags' FDA Violating Outdoor Dahua Fever Cameras on Oct 26, 2020
As Six Flags scrambled to reopen parks amid plummeting revenues caused by the...
ISC Brasil Digital Experience 2020 Report on Oct 23, 2020
ISC Brasil 2020 rebranded itself to ISC Digital Experience and, like its...
Top Video Surveillance Service Call Problems 2020 on Oct 23, 2020
3 primary and 4 secondary issues stood out as causing the most problems when...
GDPR Impact On Temperature / Fever Screening Explained on Oct 22, 2020
What impact does GDPR have on temperature screening? Do you risk a GDPR fine...
Security And Safety Things (S&ST) Tested on Oct 22, 2020
S&ST, a Bosch spinout, is spending tens of millions of dollars aiming to...
Nokia Fever Screening Claims To "Advance Fight Against COVID-19" on Oct 22, 2020
First IBM, then briefly Clorox, and now Nokia becomes the latest Fortune 500...
Deceptive Meridian Temperature Tablets Endanger Public Safety on Oct 21, 2020
IPVM's testing of and investigation into Meridian Kiosk's temperature...
Honeywell 30 Series and Vivotek NVRs Tested on Oct 21, 2020
The NDAA ban has driven many users to look for low-cost NVRs not made by...
Ubiquiti Access Control Tested on Oct 21, 2020
Ubiquiti has become one of the most widely used wireless and switch providers...
Avigilon Aggressive Trade-In Program Takes Aim At Competitors on Oct 20, 2020
Avigilon has launched one of the most aggressive trade-in programs the video...
Mexico Video Surveillance Market Overview 2020 on Oct 20, 2020
Despite being neighbors, there are key differences between the U.S. and...