IP Camera Bandwidth / Storage Shootout

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Mar 05, 2014

Bandwidth consumption can vary tremendously, even with the same resolution, frame rate, compression and scene, by 50% to 80% in our tests. This is because cameras process video differently (e.g., gain control applied, noise reduction technology, etc.).

The Test

We tested 16 cameras head to head to understand who is the best and worst at minimizing bandwidth consumption / storage costs.

In the 1MP category, we set these 6 cameras to 720p / 10fps:

In the 2MP category, we set these 4 cameras to 1080p / 10fps:

Additionally, we tested 6 integrated IR cameras to match up against these.

The Wrong Way

The simple, naive and wrong way is to put cameras side by side, measuring bandwidth at the same resolution and frame rate.

Why? The default compression settings of cameras vary widely by manufacturers. Though compression is often overlooked, every H.264 camera must choose a Q or quantization level (from 0 to 51). The lower number chosen, the higher the bandwidth, and the greater the compression (to learn more, see our IP Camera Manufacturer Compression Comparison). This does not make one camera 'better' or 'worse' and can be adjusted by the user.

Indeed, in IPVM testing, default compression variances routinely accounted for a massive 50%+ difference in bandwidth consumption.

Normalizing Compression

To truly and fairly measure bandwidth, compression levels must be normalized, that is, they must be set the same. Using a stream analyzer, IPVM determined the actual quantization levels and adjusted the appropriate scales so the quantization levels all would be the same for our tests (using Q=28).

Test Questions and Answers

This IPVM test help identified:

  • The 1 cameras that clearly had the lowest bandwidth consumption
  • The 1 camera that clearly had the highest bandwidth consumption
  • The 4 camera manufacturers whose default setting make them look far worse than they are
  • The tradeoff of non IR and IR cameras and how it varied by low light levels 
  • The impact of VMD

********* *********** *** **** ************, **** **** *** **** **********, frame ****, *********** *** *****, ** **% ** **% ** our *****. **** ** ******* ******* ******* ***** *********** (*.*., gain ******* *******, ***** ********* **********, ***.).

The ****

** ****** ** ******* **** ** **** ** ********** *** is *** **** *** ***** ** ********** ********* *********** / storage *****.

** *** *** ********, ** *** ***** * ******* ** 720p / *****:

** *** *** ********, ** *** ***** * ******* ** 1080p / *****:

************, ** ****** * ********** ** ******* ** ***** ** against *****.

The ***** ***

*** ******, ***** *** ***** *** ** ** *** ******* side ** ****, ********* ********* ** *** **** ********** *** frame ****.

***? *** ******* *********** ******** ** ******* **** ****** ** manufacturers. ***************** ** ***** **********, ***** *.*** ****** **** ****** * Q ** ************ ***** (**** * ** **). *** ***** number ******, *** ****** *** *********, *** *** ******* *** compression (** ***** ****, *** *** ** ****** ************ *********** **********). **** **** *** **** *** ****** '******' ** '*****' and *** ** ******** ** *** ****.

******, ** **** *******, ******* *********** ********* ********* ********* *** a ******* **%+ ********** ** ********* ***********.

Normalizing ***********

** ***** *** ****** ******* *********, *********** ****** **** ** normalized, **** **, **** **** ** *** *** ****. ***** a ****** ********, **** ********** *** ****** ************ ****** *** adjusted *** *********** ****** ** *** ************ ****** *** ***** be *** **** *** *** ***** (***** *=**).

Test ********* *** *******

**** **** **** **** **********:

  • *** * ******* **** ******* *** *** ****** ********* ***********
  • *** * ****** **** ******* *** *** ******* ********* ***********
  • *** * ****** ************* ***** ******* ******* **** **** **** far ***** **** **** ***
  • *** ******** ** *** ** *** ** ******* *** *** it ****** ** *** ***** ****** 
  • *** ****** ** ***

[***************]

Key ********

  • ****** ********* ******* *******- ***** ********* **** ***** ***** ***, ********** ** *** motion *** *** ***** ****** ***** ******* *** **** **** 50% **** *** *****.
  • ******* ********* ****** *******- **** *** * ****** ***** ***, ********** ** *** motion *** *** ***** ****** ***** *********** *** **** **** 50% **** *** *****.
  • ******* ******** ******- ********, *****, ******* *** ****'* ******* *********** ****** **** much ***** **** ****, ****** **** ****** ** ** ********** worse **** ****, ***** ************* ********. ****** ***** ********* ***********.
  • ** ** ***-** ********: ** ~* *** (*** / ********** ****), *** ***-** cameras ******** **** ********* **** *** ** ****. *******, ** 0.1 *** (**** ****), *** ** ******* ******** **** ** the ***-** **** ********* ****** ** **** **** **** ******* levels.
  • ***** ****** **** **** ****- ** *** *****, ***** ********* *** **** ********, **** bigger ****** **** **** ** *** ***** *** **** ****** scenes.
  • *** ********* ***- **** ****.* (*** ******** *** * **** ***-**) *** Mobotix **************** ***** *** *** ********* **** ** ***.

Technical ********

**** *** *** *** ****** **** **** ****, **** *** cameras ************ ** ************ ** *** ************ ********* ******* ** *** **:

  • **** ******* ******** ***** *** **/* ** **** *****, ~*** lux. *** **** ***** *** **** ***-***** **** **** **** higher **** *******, ** *** **/* *** *** **/*, ************.
  • ***** ** **** ***** ******* ****** ******** ******* *-*.* **/*. Only *** **** ***-***** *** ******* ******, **** * **/* 2-3x ******.
  • ** *** *****, ~* ***, ******* **** ********* *** ***** 1.3 **/*, **** ** ******* ****** **** ** ***.
  • ***** ******* ** ~* *** ******* ************ *.*-*.* **/*, **** no ************** ****.
  • ** *** ****, ~*.* ***, **** ******* ******* ***** *.* Mb/s. *** **** **** ******* ** **** **** *** *** Bosch ***-****, ***** *** ** *-* **/* ***** ******* **** all ***** *******.
  • ***** ******* ****** **** ***** *.*-** **/*. **** **** ** this ***** *********** ** *** ****** ******** ** ****** ******, ****** *****, accounting *** *** **** *** *******.
  • ** ** ******* ******* ***** **** **** ********** ** ******, 720p ******* ******** ****** *.* **/*. ** ******* **** ********* high ** *** ** **** ****, **** * ***** ** just **** * **/*.
  • ***** ******* ******** ***** *.* **/* ** **** *****. *** Bosch ***-**** *** ******* ***-**** **** ******* *****, ** *.* and *.* **/*, **** *** ******** ** *** *** **** VB630 (*.* *** *.* **/* ************).
  • **** ********** ** *******, **** ** ** ** * **** (0.1 ***) **** ******** *.* **/*, **** ********* *** *-*** running ***-*** **/* ****** **** *** **** *****-*. ******* ********* was **** **** **** *** ******* ** ***/***** ******* ** t*** ********** (*.* **/*).
  • ******* ********* ** ***** ********** ** ******* *** ***** * Mb/s, ****** ********'* *.**-**-*** *** **** ****** **** ***** *** Hikvision (*.* **/* **. *.*-*). ******* ******** ~**% ***** ******* than ***** ***/***** ******* ** **** **** *****. 

Full ***** ***********

*** ***** ***** *** *** ******* ****** ********** ****, ** about *** ***, **** * ***** ** **** **** ** this *****:

*** *********** ***** ***** ***** ******* ** *** ******* ** full *****. *** ******* **** ****** ***** ** ***** *******, with ***** ********** ** *****, **********, *** *********, *** ** drastic *********** ** ***** *******.

******* ********* ** *** **** ******* ** **** **** *** about *** **/* (*.* **/*). *** **** ***-***** *** ***** 80% ***** *******, ** *** **/*. *** **** ***** *** Q1604, ***** ***-****, *** ******* ***-****, *** *** **/* ** below, **** ************ *** *** ****** ********* ********* *********** ***** *****.

*** *****:

*** ******* ** *** **** ***** ******* *** ***** *.* Mb/s, **** * ****** *******, ***** *** ***** ********** ****, SNC-VB630, **** ******* **** * **/*.

Low ***** ***********

** ******* *** ****** ** ~* *** ** ***** *********** in ********* ** **** *** ***** *********, **** ****:

** **** ***** *****, ******** **** ***** **********, ******* **** between *.* *** *.* **/*, **** ** ******* ** ***** 1.3.

 

*** ***** ******* ****** **** **** **** **** ********** ** 2 ***, **** ** ******* ****** **** ** ***, *** an ******* ****** *.*-*.* **/*. 

Dark ***********

** *** ***** ****** ****, ** ******* ****** ** ***** 0.1 *** ** **** ********* *********** ** * ***** **** scene:

*** ********** ***** ***** *** ******* ** **** ***** ***** to ******* *********** ***********, ********** *** ***** ** *** *****, first ****:

**** ******* ** **** ***** ******** ***** *.* **/*, **** the **** **** ******* ***** *** ***-****, ***** ******** *.* Mb/s, *-* **/* ***** **** ***** *******. **** **** *** Axis ***** *** ********** *** ** **** *****, ****** ********* no ****** *****, ****** *****.

 

*** *****:

***** ******* ****** **** *.* ** ** **/* ** **** scene. *** ******** *.**-**-** *** ****** ***** ** **** ***** level, ********** *** *** **** ***** ******* **** ***** *******, which *** ******** ****** ******.

Outdoor ******* ***********

** ******* ********* ** * ****-****** *****, ** *** ** the ******* **** ** * **** *******, **** ** **** image:

****, **** ******* ******** ***** *.* **/*. ***** **** ** drastic **** ** **** ** **** ****, **** * ***** of **** **** * **/* ******* **** (**** *****) *** low (**** ***-*****).

 

*** *****/*** ******* ****** ******** ***** *.* **/* ** **** scene. *** ***** ***-**** *** ******* ***-**** **** ******* ***** than ******** *** ****, ***** **-**% ** *** *********.

 

Integrated ** ***********

** ****** *** ********** ** ******* ** **** *** ***** resolutions ** *** *** **** ******* ********* ****** ***** **** and ****** ***/***** ******* ** *** **** *****. **** ***** shows *** *** ** *** ****, **** ** **:

*** **** ***** ******** *** **** *******, ******* *** ******** IR ***** *** ***** ****** ** ****:

** ****, ********* ******** ***** *.* **/*. *** **** *****-* was ************* ***** **** ***** *******, ** *.* **/*, ****** 1.8-2 *** ********* *** *-***. *******, **** ******* ** **** lower **** *** ***/***** ******* ** *** *****, ***** ******** over * **/*, **** **** *** ***** ***-**** ** *** with ** ***** **** **** ** ************.

*** *** ***** *******:

*** ******** *.**-**-***, ** *.* **/* *** ************* ****** **** Dahua *** ********* ***** ********** ** ******* ******, ********** *********** given ***** ******** ** ***********. ** **** ****, ***** ********** ** ********* ** ***** in *** *****, **** *** ********* ** *** ******** *.**-**-**. Its ******* *** **** *.* **/*, ****** ** ********* ** usable ******.

Default **. ************

* *** ******* ********* ** **** ********* ************ ****** **** what ** ************ ** ** **** ****. *** ***** ***-**** and ******* ***-**** **** *** ***** ******** ** ****, **** reductions ** ~**% **** ******** **** ******* ******** ** *** standardized ************ ****** ** **-**. *** *********** *** ***** *** ***** cameras *** ***** ** *** ***** *****.

***** ******* ******* ***** **** *** ***** **** ***-************ ********* testing ** ****** *********. ******** ******* **** ************* ***** *** immediately ******* ******* *************** **** *********** **** *******, ** ********* and ******* ***** **** ** **** ******* **** **** ***********, such ** ****, *** ******* ** ****** ************ ******.

***** *** *** ******** **** *** **** ****** ** ***** to ******* ** ******* ************ ** **:

******* *** ***** **** ***** *************' ******* ************ *** ********* levels ** *** ** ****** *********** ******.

Motion ********* *********** ******

***** *********** ** ************ ******* ****** **** ** ******, *** ***********, ************ ***** ******** *********, *** **** * huge ****** ** ******* *****. ** *** *****, ** ***** that ******** ****** ********* ******* **** ******** **** ** **** *** *.* *** ******* **************** reduced ***** ********* **** ******** *******, ** **** ** ***** caused ** ********* ****, ** ****** *** ****** ******. 

***** ****** **** *** *** ***** ** ******** *** **** seven ****** ************* *** **** *********** ***********. *********** ** **** manufacturer ****** ********* ** *** *****, ** ***** ******* ******* our *************** *** ****:

Comments (20)

We are happy to take questions on specific scenes or cameras, and consider other test scenarios. When discussing your own bandwidth experiences, keep in mind whether they have been normalized or not, and the variances this may cause.

Comprehensive! One question I have (also relating to the forerunner camera compression test by Derek) is for at least the Bosch, Derek seemed to indicate a seperate q setting for i vs p frames, does your test tool take this into account and how?

Bosch does include separate Q settings for I and P frames. Well technically it's one fixed setting plus a delta setting, so you don't directly set them with a Q value. AVInaptic measures an overall average of quantization, which we standardized to 28.

Excellent report. I hoped though that Arecont is included next as Arecont has a lot of claims that many people dont believe whole heartedly

Hello.

What do you mean by saying "Arecont has a lot of claims that many people dont believe whole heartedly". What "claims"?

The undisclosed maybe referring to something like this:

The higher-resolution panoramic view of the new 20 megapixel/180-degree H.264 camera can be used to replace up to 65 conventional cameras.

Taken from something like this.

I know this "great marketing" :-) . I thought that by "claims" Undisclosed A Integrator meant something related to the topic (bandwidth, storage). Is it only my observation that Arecont has problems with keeping CBR really constant?

How did Mobotix make it into the report for VMD, but you did not have one of their cameras in the shootout?

This report helped to solidify the "Q" rating bits of knowledge I had.

Thanks!

Because Mobotix is one of few manufacturers doing "advanced" VMD, so it was tested along with Axis months ago. That test ties into this one as far as storage reduction goes, a key factor.

can you remind me why Panasonic is not included?

A couple reasons. They haven't released much in the past year or so, so testing the two-year-old SP509 against other cameras which are new generation is unfair. Second, integrator interest has dropped, with only a few integrators citing them as a favorite in our last survey, down from being one of the most popular.

That being said, I just got an email talking about their new generation the other day, which is claiming better performance all around. We'll keep an eye on that at least.

Incredible report, thank you.

Thanks for the feedback everyone.

I wanted to make it clear that we will adopt this same methodology to future tests so as we test other cameras we can use this as a baseline and contrast their performance to this set. This will help determine true bandwidth savings / issues.

Would it be cheeky to ask if you could translate this into the amount of days each camera would have on a set amount of storage ?

I really like your testing procedure, but i have doubt about which camera brand and camera model you wish to make a test. Can you make a test for all top 10 world class IP surveillance manufacturer?, i saw a not famous IP Camera brand like GeoVision, Q-See, Dahua on the list, and you abandon some big name in the industry like VIVOTEK, Pelco, Panasonic and some Brand you take 2 cameras which is not quite fair for evaluation.

Please make sure that you are doing a fair pick up the camera for test from the well known manufacturer.

Sakchai,

Dahua is one of the 10 biggest manufacturers in the world so they may not be as 'famous' to you, but they are a very big player.

There are lots of camera manufacturers. We'll continue to test them (we have an upcoming test on Pelco, and will test the new Panasonics as they roll out). We've tested a few Vivotek cameras in the past year and will continue to test them.

John

Dear John,

I am a big fan of AXIS and VIVOTEK IP Camera, i thnk it is quite good quality camera. I looking forward to see the comparison between Top10 IP Camera Manufacturer.

Could you provide me an information of who is TOP10 Network Camera for the year 2014 ? (Sales Performance in 2013)

So we can make sure we are choosing the right product to implement in my project.

No, we strongly discourage people making decisions based on sales numbers, as they often do not reflect what is the best quality or best fit for specific applications.

You may want to check out Favorite IP Camera Manufacturers 2014 for color commentary on what others are choosing and why.

these vendors don't even call the settings by the same terminology in some cases. wish you had documented what settings you use (compare Axis to Bosch, for example.) It's very hard to do apples-to-apples.

Rodney, we have documented it here: IP Camera Manufacturer Compression Comparison. Here's the key table:

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

Mobile Surveillance Trailers Guide on Jan 17, 2019
Putting cameras in a place for temporary surveillance where power and communications are not readily available can be complicated and expensive....
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...
WDR Tutorial on Jan 11, 2019
Understanding wide dynamic range (WDR) is critical to capturing high quality images in demanding conditions. However, with no real standards, any...
Winter 2019 IP Networking Course on Jan 10, 2019
Today is the last day to register for the Winter 2019 IP Networking course. This is the only networking course designed specifically for video...
Worst Products Tested In Past Year on Jan 09, 2019
IPVM has done over 100 tests in the past year. But which products performed the worst? Which ones should users be most aware of? In this report,...
Managed Video Services UL 827B Examined on Jan 09, 2019
Historically, UL listings for central stations have been important, with UL 827 having widespread support. However, few central stations have...
H.265 / HEVC Codec Tutorial on Jan 08, 2019
H.265 support improved significantly in 2018, with H.265 camera/VMS compatibility increased compared to only a year ago, and most manufacturers...
2019 Video Surveillance Cameras Overview on Jan 07, 2019
Each year, IPVM summarizes the main advances and changes for video surveillance cameras, based on our industry-leading testing and...
IPVM Best New Products 2019 Opened - 70+ Entrants on Jan 07, 2019
The inaugural IPVM Best New Product Awards has been opened - the industry's first and only program where the awards are not pay-to-play and the...
Axis Tailgate Detection Tested on Jan 04, 2019
Axis is aiming to tackle tailgating, one of access control's biggest issues, with the Tailgating Detector ACAP application. This camera app claims...

Most Recent Industry Reports

The IP Camera Lock-In Trend: Meraki and Verkada on Jan 18, 2019
Open systems and interoperability have not only been big buzzwords over the past decade, but they have also become core features of video...
NYPD Refutes False SCMP Hikvision Story on Jan 18, 2019
The NYPD has refuted the SCMP Hikvision story, the Voice of America has reported. On January 11, 2018, the SCMP alleged that the NYPD was using...
Mobile Surveillance Trailers Guide on Jan 17, 2019
Putting cameras in a place for temporary surveillance where power and communications are not readily available can be complicated and expensive....
Exacq Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 17, 2019
Exacq favorability amongst integrators has declined sharply, in new IPVM statistics, compared to 2017 IPVM statistics for Exacq. Now, over 5 since...
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...
Access Control Records Maintenance Guide on Jan 16, 2019
Weeding out old entries, turning off unused credentials, and updating who carries which credentials is as important as to maintaining security as...
UK Fines Security Firms For Illegal Direct Marketing on Jan 16, 2019
Two UK security firms have paid over $200,000 in fines for illegally making hundreds of thousands of calls to people registered on a government...
Access Control Cabling Tutorial on Jan 15, 2019
Access Control is only as reliable as its cables. While this aspect lacks the sexiness of other components, it remains a vital part of every...
Avigilon Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 15, 2019
Since IPVM's 2017 Avigilon favorability results, the company was acquired by Motorola and has shifted from being an aggressive startup to a more...
Gorilla Technology AI Provider, Raises $15 Million, Profiled on Jan 15, 2019
Gorilla Technology is a Taiwanese video analytics manufacturer that recently announced a $15 million investment from SBI Group, saying this...

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