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

Phone Camera Calculator Released on Mar 10, 2020
IPVM has released the first-ever Phone Calculator, video surveillance design software that you can use on your phone, without installing an...
Video Surveillance 101 Course - Last Chance on Feb 20, 2020
This is the last chance to join IPVM's first Video Surveillance 101 course, designed to help those new to the industry to quickly understand the...
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 designing video surveillance systems. Though 'convergence' was a big...
Glossary / Acronyms for Video Surveillance on Feb 10, 2020
This directory provides definitions and explanations for over 70 common video surveillance industry terms, including links to related IPVM...
Bandwidth Fundamentals For Video Surveillance on Jan 13, 2020
Bandwidth is the most fundamental element of computer networking for video surveillance systems. Because video surveillance can consume an immense...
2020 IP Networking Book Released on Jan 06, 2020
The new IP Networking Book 2020 is a 280 page in-depth guide that teaches you how IT and telecom technologies impact modern security systems,...
IPVM Opens 12,000 Sqft Testing Facility on Dec 16, 2019
IPVM is proud to announce the opening of the world's first video surveillance testing facility that will allow us to significantly expand our...
Save $50 - Register Now - Spring 2020 IP Networking Course on Oct 10, 2019
Save $50 - Register Now - Spring 2020 IP Networking Course. The course starts next week. This is the only networking course designed...
'CCTV' Is the Past, Cloud Video Surveillance Is the Future on Jul 08, 2019
A fundamental shift is happening. For decades, video surveillance was overwhelmingly 'closed' and off the Internet. This is changing. More and more...
AI Video Tester Released on Apr 02, 2019
IPVM has released the world's first AI video tester that lets you see how various AI models (including from Amazon, Google, Microsoft and YOLO)...

Most Recent Industry Reports

YCombinator AI Startup Visual One Tested on Apr 02, 2020
Startup Visual One, backed by Silicon Valley's powerful Y Combinator, aims to be "Your 24/7 Watchman" with advanced analytics and object...
Free IPVM Memberships For The Unemployed on Apr 02, 2020
IPVM is giving 3-month free memberships (regular price $99) for the unemployed, no questions asked. To get it, just contact us, your request...
Dahua Faked Coronavirus Camera Marketing on Apr 01, 2020
Dahua has conducted a coronavirus camera global marketing campaign centered around a faked detection. Now, Dahua has expanded this to the USA,...
Video Surveillance Trends 101 on Apr 01, 2020
This report examines major industry factors and how they could impact video surveillance in the next 5 - 10 years. This is part of our Video...
USA's Seek Scan Thermal Temperature System Examined on Apr 01, 2020
This US company, Seek, located down the road from FLIR and founded by former FLIR employees is offering a thermal temperature system for the...
Terrible Convergint Coronavirus Thermal Camera Recommendation on Apr 01, 2020
A week after Convergint disclosed falling revenue, pay and job cuts, Convergint is touting 'extensive research' that is either grossly incompetent...
The IPVM New Products Online Show April 2020 Opens With 40+ Manufacturers on Mar 31, 2020
IPVM is excited to announce the first New Products Online show, with 40+ manufacturers, to be held April 14 to the 16th, free to IPVM members,...
USA's Feevr Thermal Temperature System Examined on Mar 31, 2020
This US company has burst on to the scene, brashly naming itself 'feevr' and branding itself as a "COVID 19 - AI BASED NON CONTACT THERMAL...
JCI Coronavirus Cuts on Mar 31, 2020
JCI has made coronavirus cuts, the company told employees in an email that IPVM has reviewed. Inside this note, we examine the cuts made, the...
Add Door Operators To Fight Coronavirus on Mar 31, 2020
IPVM recommends that integrators advocate and end-users consider adding door operators to fight the spread of coronavirus. This delivers...