Top 5 Reasons Analog Cameras are Easier to Install than IP

Author: John Honovich, Published on Jan 15, 2010

While IP has many advantages over analog, ease of installation is not one of them. IP cameras are far harder to install even if the installer has extensive networking expertise. And for the majority of security technicians with modest IT skills, it's even more painful.

Bottom line: IP cameras take significantly longer to install, require more training and face more pitfalls than analog.

Here's our top 5 Reasons (actually 6):

  • Finding IP cameras on the network is time consuming and often problematic
  • Focusing/adjusting the Field of View on many IP cameras is much more difficult
  • Assigning IP addresses is an added step not necessary for analog cameras
  • Setting up security and user access rights is a new requirement with IP
  • Verifying VMS support is needed for each IP camera
  • Installation varies based on the vagaries of each IP camera manufacturer

Finding IP Cameras

The 'best' way to find IP cameras is with a camera discovery application. In our testing, many of these applications often do not find the camera (even if it's the manufacturer's own application).

Often manufacturers hard-code an IP address requiring the installer to change the IP address of their PC to be on the same subnet as the hard-coded address of the IP camera in order to change the IP address of that camera to be on your subnet.

Focusing/Adjusting

Analog cameras can be focused and the Field of View adjusted using a small and cheap handheld monitor. Most IP cameras lack such analog outputs. Some newer IP cameras come with auto-adjustable zoom lenses such as the Sanyo HD4000 and Axis Q1755. These are easier to focus/tune than analog but 3-5x the product price. 

While new appliances are coming out for IP hand-held monitors, most technicians setting up IP cameras are forced to use their laptops or communicate with a co-worker to awkwardly adjust the camera view. 

Assigning IP Addresses

IP cameras require the added step of assigning IP addresses. If you use static IP addresses, you need to coordinate what IP address to use and set it up (usually in the web interface requiring a reboot of the camera). If you use DHCP, you run the risk of the camera's IP address changing when the power recycles. If the IP address changes, you need to re-find the camera (by looking it up in your DHCP client list, etc.) You can prevent this change by registering the MAC address of the IP camera with your DHCP server but then you need access and specific knowledge to accomplish this.

Setting Up Security/Access Rights

Since IP cameras are essentially Linux computers, one needs to set up security and access rights. You could leave all your cameras at the default (root/pass, etc.) but this makes it trivial for someone to access your cameras (probably not a good idea).

Verifying VMS Support for IP Cameras

Most VMS systems do not support most IP cameras. Even if a VMS says it supports an IP camera, there can be issues with needing to install newer firmware on the camera or issues with the stability of support (we see this with our H.264 testing repeatedly - see the Sarix/Milestone integration as an example)

Varies by Manufacturer

Just because you learn how to configure one manufacturer's IP cameras, does not mean you can immediately and simply set up another's. Each manufacturer has their own camera finding application, their own web interface, their own defaults for assigning IP address, their own default username/password, etc., etc. For instance, this week, we spent 2 hours troubleshooting accessing the web browser for an IP camera only to find out the camera does not support IE8, only IE7.

Compared to Analog

With analog, the big issues usually are crimping cable, pulling cable and connecting power. Crimping and pulling cable are common for both types as surveillance cameras are generally put away from network drops. Small analog systems can have cameras plugged directly into a wall. Larger systems need to be connected to a CCTV power supply which is not that difficult, especially for the majority of installers who have years of experienced with low voltage equipment.

Beyond that, just plug in analog camera to a DVR and you have a live video feed - no finding or changing the IP address, no web browsers to access or security settings to change on the camera, etc. Even cheap CCTV kits like the EzWatch one we tested was trivial to setup.

How Much Will Standards Help?

'Standards' should help somewhat in a few areas - specifically finding cameras and VMS support (though note in our ONVIF test, both of these still showed problems). We believe this will improve and these two areas should become simpler. However, this still leaves the other issues.

What Do You Think?

For the People Who Vote that IP is Easier

If you believe IP is easier to install than analog, I strongly encourage you to leave a comment explaining why, including technical details explaining your case.

3 reports cite this report:

Does the Market Want Closed IPTV? on Jul 14, 2010
Dedicated Micros has announced a new solution called Closed IPTV that provides an integrated DM camera/switch/recorder offering that aims to be...
Readers Respond: 134 Votes, 25 Comments Examined on Feb 14, 2010
Over 100 people voted and more than 25 left detailed comments to our recent question/discussion. In this post, we review and respond to the...
Mobotix Camera Installation Tool on Jan 20, 2010
Mobotix has announced a new camera installation tool that allows connecting and powering one's laptop and IP camera through this tool, called the...

Related Reports

H.265 / HEVC Codec Tutorial 2017 on May 25, 2017
Since 2013, video surveillance professionals have talked about the potential for H.265. Now, in 2017, H.265 is starting to gain mainstream...
Camera Course Summer 2017 on May 25, 2017
Learn video surveillance and get certified. IPVM provides live online classes, recorded videos, personal help, cutting edge education and...
Most Respected Manufacturer Competitors on May 25, 2017
Manufacturers told IPVM what competitor they most respected. In terms of total revenue, Hikvision, Dahua and Axis are certainly tops but would...
Arlo Go Cellular Cloud Camera Tested on May 23, 2017
Totally wireless surveillance cameras are growing but almost all typically depend on a hub and local Internet access. However, many outdoor...
IP Camera - 15 Year Shootout on May 22, 2017
How far have IP cameras come? We bought and tested 4 cameras across the past 15 years to understand how much and where performance has...
48MP 180 Camera (Digital Watchdog) Test on May 10, 2017
Camera resolution continues to advance, with Digital Watchdog offering the MegaPIX PANO 48MP 180° camera, the highest resolution mainstream camera...
Alarm Circuits Guide on May 09, 2017
Alarm circuits are a fundamental element of wired burglar systems. Designing the alarm circuit greatly affects its performance. In particular,...
Hanwha 9MP Fisheye Camera Tested (PNF-9010R) on May 09, 2017
12MP sensor fisheye panoramic cameras are becoming increasingly common. We have tested Hikvision's DS-2CD63C2F as well as Panasonic's SFV481 4K...
Smartphone Controlled Kevo Lock Tested on May 04, 2017
Smartlocks are a growing market, with millions sold. Kwikset's Kevo is one of the most common choices, using the Unikey smart phone access control...
Hack Your Access Control With This $30 HID 125kHz Card Copier on May 01, 2017
You might have heard the stories or seen the YouTube videos of random people hacking electronic access control systems. The tools that claim to do...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Anti-Hack Access Card Shields Tested on May 26, 2017
Keeping your access control card information secure is becoming a big priority, especially since cheaper copiers can hack details easily. Multiple...
H.265 / HEVC Codec Tutorial 2017 on May 25, 2017
Since 2013, video surveillance professionals have talked about the potential for H.265. Now, in 2017, H.265 is starting to gain mainstream...
Camera Course Summer 2017 on May 25, 2017
Learn video surveillance and get certified. IPVM provides live online classes, recorded videos, personal help, cutting edge education and...
Most Respected Manufacturer Competitors on May 25, 2017
Manufacturers told IPVM what competitor they most respected. In terms of total revenue, Hikvision, Dahua and Axis are certainly tops but would...
CyPhy 'Unlimited' Flight Time Security Drone Examined on May 25, 2017
Drones face several issues as commercial security platforms - legal restrictions (e.g., in the US, the FAA), costs, and limited flight durations...
Milestone Entry Level Mobile Password Vulnerability Disclosed on May 24, 2017
While many manufacturers have only addressed cybersecurity vulnerabilities after public disclosures were made (or threatened), Milestone has...
How Integrators Use IPVM on May 24, 2017
150 integrators explained how they use IPVM and how it helps them stay informed and improve their business.  The 4 main uses integrators cited for...
Alarm Supervision Guide on May 24, 2017
Burglar alarms can constantly monitor the health of attached circuits, sensors, and devices to ensure that they remain operational. This is known...
Arlo Go Cellular Cloud Camera Tested on May 23, 2017
Totally wireless surveillance cameras are growing but almost all typically depend on a hub and local Internet access. However, many outdoor...
Avigilon New COO James Henderson Profile on May 23, 2017
It has been nearly 2 years since the infamous Bryan Schmode 'resigned' as Avigilon COO. Now, Avigilon once again has a COO, promoting James...

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