Is Bandwidth a Problem for IP Cameras?

Author: 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 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

This should be an interesting discussion. I just wanted to open with some general observations. There are lots of other aspects to consider. Please expand, disagree and debate this.

[premium_content]

Related Reports on Bandwidth

Speco Ultra Intensifier Tested on Apr 22, 2019
While ISC West 2019 named Speco's Ultra Intensifier the best new "Video Surveillance Cameras IP", IPVM testing shows the camera suffers from...
Arecont Favorability Results 2019 on Apr 22, 2019
Arecont's net negativity remained the same in IPVM's 2019 integrator study, though integrator's feeling became relatively more neutral compared to...
H.265 Usage Statistics on Apr 19, 2019
H.265 has been available in IP cameras for more than 5 years and, in the past few years, the number of manufacturers supporting this codec has...
Spring 2019 IP Networking Course- Register Now on Apr 04, 2019
Register now for the Spring 2019 IP Networking course here. Just $299 for the course. This is the only networking course designed specifically...
Casino Security Consultant Carl Lindgren Interview on Mar 26, 2019
For more than 20 years, Carl Lindgren worked as a casino surveillance pro, while being active (and sometimes outspoken) on various online video...
Bandwidth vs Low Light Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Geovision, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Feb 08, 2019
Nighttime bandwidth spikes are a major concern in video surveillance, but do all manufacturers' cameras perform the same? Are some more consistent...
Verkada Cloud VMS/Cameras Tested on Jan 28, 2019
Verkada is arguably the most ambitious video surveillance startup in many years. The company is developing their own cameras, their own VMS, their...
Camera Course Winter 2019 - Last Chance on Jan 24, 2019
This is the last chance to register for the Winter 2019 Camera Course. This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based on in-depth...
Testing Bandwidth vs. Frame Rate on Jan 23, 2019
Selecting frame rate has a major impact on surveillance bandwidth and storage consumption. But with smart codecs now common and cameras more...
Testing Bandwidth Vs. Low Light on Jan 16, 2019
Nighttime bandwidth spikes are a major concern in video surveillance. Many calculate bandwidth as a single 24/7 number, but bit rates vary...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Hikvision Admits USA Sales Falling on Apr 22, 2019
Hikvision, in a new Chinese financial filing, has admitted that its USA sales are now falling. Less than a year after the US government passed a...
Speco Ultra Intensifier Tested on Apr 22, 2019
While ISC West 2019 named Speco's Ultra Intensifier the best new "Video Surveillance Cameras IP", IPVM testing shows the camera suffers from...
Arecont Favorability Results 2019 on Apr 22, 2019
Arecont's net negativity remained the same in IPVM's 2019 integrator study, though integrator's feeling became relatively more neutral compared to...
H.265 Usage Statistics on Apr 19, 2019
H.265 has been available in IP cameras for more than 5 years and, in the past few years, the number of manufacturers supporting this codec has...
ACRE Acquires RS2, Explains Acquisition Strategy on Apr 19, 2019
ACRE continues to buy, now acquiring RS2, just 5 months after buying Open Options. One is a small access control manufacturer from Texas, the...
Access Control Course Spring 2019 - Last Chance on Apr 19, 2019
Register for the Spring Access Control Course. IPVM offers the most comprehensive access control course in the industry. Unlike manufacturer...
Riser vs Plenum Cabling Explained on Apr 18, 2019
You could be spending twice as much for cable as you need. The difference between 'plenum' rated cable and 'riser' rated cable is subtle, but the...
Verint Victimized By Ransomware on Apr 18, 2019
Verint, which is best known in the physical security industry for video surveillance but has built a sizeable cybersecurity business as well, was...
Milestone Drops IFSEC on Apr 18, 2019
Milestone has dropped out of Europe's largest annual security trade show (IFSEC 2019), telling IPVM that they "have found that IFSEC in EMEA no...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact