Beware of Cube Cameras

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Mar 07, 2012

Integrators may find the low price of cube cameras a tempting reason to propose them for surveillance applications. Cube cameras represent many IP camera manufacturer's low-end price offerings and they often be purchased for under $150 USD. Despite the low prices, cube cameras are not commonly proposed for commercial surveillance. In this update, we examine why they are not commonly recommended despite their cheap price:

Inherent limitations of cube cameras: 

  • Cube cameras provide low quality images
  • Cube cameras are easy to tamper with
  • Cube cameras are designed for 'indoor only' use
  • Cube cameras are not often PoE powered
  • Cube cameras are not discrete

Examples of cube cameras:

  • Axis M10 series
  • Vivotek IP813x series
  • ACTi ACM-4201
  • Geovision GV-CB series
  • D-Link DCS-942L

Cube cameras provide low quality images: The least expensive cube cameras are SD cameras, with MP models available as more expensive options. This limits the FoV for many of these cameras and while they are suited for monitoring small rooms or hallways, they cannot cover larger areas. Cube cameras must be located relatively close to subject target areas to produce detailed image. Since these cameras are built to sell for low prices, they generally have horrible lowlight performance. Advanced image features like Wide Dynamic Range are nonexistent in these units.  These cameras seldom feature interchangeable lenses, and when they do they are not often common lens formats.

Cube cameras are easy to tamper with: The form factor makes these cameras vulnerable to malicious activity. Positioning is commonly locked down through tightening a Nylon lockwasher. This type of hardware might prevent gravity from sagging the camera, but even a gentle push will reposition a cube camera. The power jacks and network connections are often exposed to open air and are vulnerable to being cut or pulled.

Cube cameras are designed for 'indoor only' use: Cube camera's plastic housings are not gasketed to be weather tight nor are the housings protected from UV exposure. The internal electronics are not designed to be exposed to alternating hot/cold environments, and exposure to these environments voids the warranty.

Cube cameras are not often PoE powered: Most cube cameras avoid supporting PoE as an power option, since PoE is not often used in homes. In groups of one or two cameras, the issue of finding an electrical outlet for a 110V transformer is not difficult. However, in substantial quanities it becomes much cheaper to furnish power via PoE.  When PoE support is found on these cameras, it most often is found in higher priced versions of basic cube camera models.

Cube cameras are not discrete: Cube cameras are completely exposed and aesthetically stand out. Experience shows that if something looks vulnerable, it becomes a target. It takes little effort to completely disable a cube camera through brute force, adjustment, or vandalism. However, a dome camera is more difficult to detect. Dome housings are designed to protect the vulnerable connections, and often suppport lensing options that enables it to be hung out of tampering reach while still maintaining good image detail.

For a residential or small business setting, cube cameras are great.  They are inexpensive, easy to hang, and easy to adjust. However, they are not designed with same quality compnents and features of costlier cameras. Cube cameras are easy to tamper with or disable and should not be considered for general surveillance use. 

[UPDATED: VIVOTEK MODEL SERIES FROM 'IP81xx' TO 'IP813x']

Comments : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Facial Recognition: Weak Sales, Anti Regulation, No Favorite, Says Security Integrators on Jul 07, 2020
While facial recognition has gained greater prominence, a new IPVM study of...
New: Mobile Access Proxy Releases 'World's Smallest Mobile Reader' on Mar 04, 2020
Mobile access provider Proxy claims its new Nano is 'the world’s smallest...
Injes Tiny Temperature Terminal Tested on Jul 17, 2020
While temperature terminals have trended bigger, the Injes DFace801 is...
Fever Camera Sales From Integrators Surveyed on Jun 01, 2020
Fever cameras are the hottest trend in video surveillance currently but how...
Sunell Panda Cam Body Temperature Measurement Camera Tested on May 14, 2020
Sunell is far less well known than its gargantuan domestic competitors Dahua...
Manufacturers Doing Better Than Expected Against Coronavirus on May 05, 2020
Coronavirus impacts are not hitting manufacturers as badly as they feared,...
Uniview Deep Learning Camera Tested on Jul 14, 2020
Uniview's intrusion analytics have performed poorly in our shootouts. Now,...
China DVR/NVR Backdoor Discovered, Huawei Refutes on Feb 07, 2020
A backdoor was found in Chinese-produced DVRs and NVRs that secretly allowed...
Breaking Into A Facility Using Canned Air Tested on Jan 28, 2020
Access control is supposed to make doors more secure, but a $5 can of...
Uniview Heat-Tracker Temperature Screening Series Examined on Apr 22, 2020
Uniview is marketing #UNVagainstCOVID19 with their Heat-Tracker series,...
Coronavirus Hits Manufacturers, Standing Now, Worse To Come on Apr 06, 2020
Coronavirus is hitting security manufacturers, though overall modestly for...
Add Door Operators To Fight Coronavirus on Mar 31, 2020
IPVM recommends that integrators advocate and end-users consider adding door...
TVT / InVid Facial Recognition Tested on Mar 25, 2020
Facial recognition is frequently sold for thousands of dollars per channel...
Verkada Falsely Claims "First Native Cloud-based Access Control and Video Security Solution" on Jun 18, 2020
Verkada's false claims continue, this time to be the first native cloud-based...
HID Presents Signo on Apr 23, 2020
HID Global presented their new Signo readers they claim read farther and...

Recent Reports

Google Invests in ADT, ADT Stock Soars on Aug 03, 2020
Google has announced a $450 million investment in the Florida-based security...
US Startup Fever Inspect Examined on Aug 03, 2020
Undoubtedly late to fever cameras, this US company, Fever Inspect, led by a...
Motorola Solutions Acquires Pelco on Aug 03, 2020
Motorola Solutions has acquired Pelco, pledging to bring blue back and make...
False: Verkada: "If You Want To Remote View Your Cameras You Need To Punch Holes In Your Firewall" on Jul 31, 2020
Verkada falsely declared to “3,000+ customers”, “300 school districts”, and...
US GSA Explains NDAA 889 Part B Blacklisting on Jul 31, 2020
With the 'Blacklist Clause' going into effect August 13 that bans the US...
Access Control Online Show July 2020 - On-Demand Recording of 45+ Manufacturers Presentations on Jul 30, 2020
The show featured 48 Access Control presentations, all now recorded and...
Face Detection Shootout - Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Jul 30, 2020
Face detection analytics are available from a number of manufactures...
Sunell is The First China Manufacturer to Market NDAA Compliance on Jul 30, 2020
Most China manufacturers are going to be impacted by the NDAA 'Blacklist...
Ink Labs Relabels China YCX Fever Camera And Steals Dahua's Marketing on Jul 30, 2020
A US company marketed a 'thermal temperature scanner' as its own, selling...
Genetec and Dahua-Backed Intelbras Split Examined on Jul 29, 2020
China is the cause of the breakup between Canada's and Brazil's largest video...
This YouTuber is Now Selling ThermoHealth Temperature Screening on Jul 29, 2020
An enterprising 20-year old is mass marketing medical devices on Facebook and...
Hikvision Returns To Growth Driven By Overseas Fever Cameras on Jul 29, 2020
While Hikvision's revenue fell in Q1 2020, it rebounded in Q2 attributed to...
Brazil's Biggest Domestic Surveillance Company Intelbras Profile on Jul 29, 2020
While Intelbras is not widely known outside of Latin America, Intelbras is a...
The Kiosk Market Pivots To Temperature Screening (Interviewed) on Jul 28, 2020
Video surveillance is not the only market that has pivoted to medical device...
Integrator Acquisitions 'A Good Market' During COVID-19, Says Greybeards on Jul 28, 2020
Industry broker Ron Davis of the "Greybeards" says that the integrator and...